London pre-open: Stocks seen up ahead of PMIs

by | Aug 23, 2023

(Sharecast News) – London stocks were set to rise at the open on Wednesday following a positive Asian session, as investors eyed a slew of PMIs.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 10 points higher at 7,280.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: “Despite the weaker finish for US markets, the resilience in Asia markets looks set to see European markets open slightly higher later this morning.”

PMI readings for the eurozone, the UK and the US are due later in the day.

Hewson noted that the last set of flash PMIs saw German manufacturing slide to its lowest levels since the Covid lockdowns at 38.8, “in further signs that the engine of the German economy continues to stutter”.

“Weak demand in its key export markets as well as domestically, along with higher energy prices weighing on economic activity,” he said.

“The only bright spot was services which came in at 52.3, but even here economic activity was slower, and both sectors are expected to weaken further in August further complication the task of the ECB which is expected to signal a pause in its rate hiking cycle next month. Manufacturing activity is expected to soften further to 38.6, while services is expected to slip to 51.5.

“Economic activity in France was also disappointing in July, although the underperformance was more evenly distributed with both manufacturing and services both in contraction heading into Q3. Manufacturing slipped to 45.1 in July and services dropped to 47.1. With energy prices rising sharply over the last few weeks, it’s hard to imagine a scenario that will see a significant improvement given the weakness seen in China and other overseas markets. Manufacturing is forecast to come in at 45, and services at 47.5.

“While economic activity has been slowing in Europe, the UK has also seen similar slowdowns in both manufacturing and services, although the composite PMI is just about hanging on in expansion territory, unlike its peers across the Channel.”

In corporate news, Reckitt Benckiser announced the departure of chief financial officer and executive director Jeff Carr, who plans to retire at the end of March next year.

Nike’s Shannon Eisenhardt will join the consumer goods group on 17 October as CFO designate to succeed Carr.

Eisenhardt currently serves as CFO of consumer, brand and marketplace at Nike.

Elsewhere, Ithaca Energy reported a strong rise in first-half profits as higher production and falling costs offset lower oil and gas prices.

Adjusted core earnings rose 8% to $979.7m. The company said its annual operating cost guidance had narrowed to to $560-$610m from $560-$630m supported by stringent focus on ongoing cost control.

AIM-listed tech group Cohort announced a contract win for a major defence programme worth £17.5m.

The company said its Systems Engineering & Assessment division would be providing an external communications system over a period of 32 months to an unnamed UK customer.

“This contract is another significant win for SEA and will deliver essential communications capability to our customer’s programme,” said chief executive Andy Thomis.

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