Trump plays a fly in FTSE’s ointment

Calls for a muted open come in spite of largely upbeat developments on US markets and in Asia overnight, where investors were positive on news that the US would hold talks to ease the US-China trade war.

Trump plays a fly in FTSE’s ointment

FTSE 100 Index called to open flat at 7555, holding the 2-day uptrend after hitting multi-month lows on Wednesday. Bulls need a break above 7573 overnight highs to continue recording from this week’s losses. Bears require a breach 7641 overnight lows to drop out of the short-term rising channel. Watch levels: Bullish 7580, Bearish 7533

Calls for a muted open come in spite of largely upbeat developments on US markets and in Asia overnight, where investors were positive on news that the US would hold talks to ease the US-China trade war. That said, Donald Trump could yet prove a spoiler, as the US President prodded China to offer more concessions in tariff talks.

Some of that positivity evaporated, however, after President Trump and US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin signaled a more hard-line approach to Turkey, promising more sanctions if Turkish leader Erdogan doesn’t back down. Turkish lira wiped out most of the last days’ rebound on the news.

Stronger GBP this morning (as US Dollar eases from Monday’s highs) is serving as an additional leash on the FTSE, but the slightly weaker USD is helpful to metal prices and FTSE Miners. Gold is rebounding from 13-month lows on the back of momentary USD weakness, while oil prices are mostly flat, though off overnight lows.

In corporate news this morning Royal Bank of Scotland appoints Katie Murray as new interim CFO, starting 1 October. Search for the permanent office-holder to replace outgoing CFO Ewen Stevenson, who left for HSBC in late May, is still ongoing.

Interserve, together with consortium partners, wins a £105m project at Durham University to design and build two new college facilities, to be completed in 2020. Independent Oil & Gas secures a £15m loan to fund drilling of an appraisal well in the North Sea, with drilling to start in December. Biffa announced the acquisition of Weir Waste Services, West Midlands-based recycling company, for £16m. TI Fluid Systems announced 2.7p/share interim dividend, to be paid 28 September.

In focus today will be the Eurozone’s final Consumer Price Inflation (10am), expected to confirm preliminary figures and show an acceleration of price growth in Europe to 2% YoY headline metric and 1.1% YoY core.

If confirmed, it would be a welcome sign for the ECB policymakers, who have lagged behind their UK and US colleagues in raising interest rates. Improvement in price growth would allow the ECB to be more confident in curtailing its bond-buying stimulus programme in September and, potentially, even bring forward current plans for a Eurozone interest rate hike, currently scheduled for H2 2019.

In the afternoon, focus shifts to the US, where University of Michigan sentiment survey (3pm) is forecast stronger in August (98 vs. 97.9 in July), with responders maintaining high levels of confidence in the US economy. Consumer sentiment has been holding steady since May, though figures are off January’s 101.4 highs.

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