(Sharecast News) – London stocks were set for a weaker open on Friday following a downbeat session on Wall Street, with earnings from NatWest in focus.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 24 points lower at 7,668.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: “As far as today’s price action is concerned, the late decline in the US looks set to translate into a weaker European open, even though confidence is growing that the Fed is more or less done when it comes to its rate hiking cycle.
“Nonetheless, investors will be looking for further evidence of this with the latest core PCE deflator, as well as personal spending and income data for June, later this afternoon to support the idea of weaker inflation.
“Anything other than a PCE Core Deflator slowdown to 4.2% from 4.6%, could keep the prospect of a 25bps September hike on the table for a few weeks more. Both personal spending and income data are expected to improve to 0.4% and 0.5% respectively.”
In UK corporate news, NatWest reported better-than-expected interim profits only days after it was rocked by the resignation of chief executive Alison Rose over the leaking of details of hard-right former political party leader Nigel Farage.
The bank posted pre-tax profit of £3.6bn, up from £2.6bn a year earlier and better than the £3.3bn estimated by analysts. It also announced a £500m share buyback.
Elsewhere, AstraZeneca reported a strong first half, driven by successful launches and effective commercial execution.
Excluding Covid-19 medicines, total revenue and product sales grew by 16% and 15%, respectively. The company also saw a 21% increase in core earnings per share, reaching $4.07, and maintained its interim dividend at 93 cents. AstraZeneca reaffirmed its full-year guidance for both total revenue and core earnings per share.