London pre-open: Stocks seen up as UK GDP revised up

by | Mar 31, 2023

London stocks were set to rise at the open on Friday following positive US and Asian sessions, as investors mulled an upward revision to UK GDP figures.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 10 points higher at 7,630.

Data released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed that the economy grew a touch in the final quarter of last year, meaning that the UK avoided a recession in the second half.

The GDP figure was revised up from zero growth initially to 0.1% growth, following a 0.1% contraction in the third quarter.

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the Office for National Statistics, said: “The economy performed a little more strongly in the latter half of last year than previously estimated, with later data showing telecommunications, construction and manufacturing all faring better than initially thought in the latest quarter.

“Households saved more in the last quarter, with their finances boosted by the government’s energy bill support scheme.

“Meanwhile, the UK’s balance of payments deficit with the rest of the World narrowed, driven by increased foreign earnings by UK companies, particularly in the energy sector.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the day, US PCE data for February is due at 1330 BST.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said the Federal Reserve will be hoping that there are signs that inflation is cooling here after the surprise spike to 4.7% in the January numbers, which prompted a sharp spike in US rate hike expectations just prior to the meltdown that we saw at the beginning of this month.

“The jump higher in PCE core deflator also happened to coincide with a surge in January personal spending, which rose 1.8%,” he said.

“Since then, yields have collapsed on concerns over the stability of the banking system, with US 2-year yields set to see their biggest monthly fall since the financial crisis. While personal spending is expected to slow from the 1.8% gain seen in January to 0.3%, the bigger question is whether we’ll see a similar slowdown in headline core PCE, or at the very least that we don’t move higher.”

On the corporate front, results were out from Computacenter and Vanquis Banking, while NCC issued a trading update.

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