LONDON (Alliance News) - Stock prices in London are set to open higher Friday after a disappointing finish Thursday as the European Central Bank failed to boost sentiment.In London, FTSE 100-listed firm Smiths Group named a new chief executive for its planned spin-off Smiths Medical, as Ferrexpo said its earnings in the first half of the year will be "materially" higher than the year before. Games Workshop said it expects to see both profit and sales growth in financial 2019. IG futures indicate the FTSE 100 is set to open 13.55 points higher at 7,273.40. The blue chip index closed up 39.63 points, or 0.6%, at 7,259.85 on Thursday.On Thursday, In Paris the CAC 40 ended down 0.3%, while the DAX 30 in Frankfurt ended down 0.2%."Eurozone stocks largely finished lower yesterday on the back of the update from the European Central Bank. Interest rates were kept on hold, which met traders' expectations, but the update from Mario Draghi, the head of the ECB, wasn't the dovish update that many were expecting," commented CMC Market analyst David Madden.The ECB kept interest rates on the main refinancing operations, on the marginal lending facility, and on the deposit facility were kept at 0.00%, 0.25% and minus 0.40%, respectively. These rates have been at record lows following the eurozone debt crisis of 2011 in an bid to boost inflation and stimulate growth.The ECB now expects GDP growth of 2.1% in 2019 and 1.4% for both 2020 and 2021. This compares with the central bank's March forecast of 2.0% growth in 2019, and 1.6% and 1.5% for 2020 and 2021 respectively.For the harmonised index of consumer prices, the ECB forecasts 1.3%, 1.4% and 1.6% growth for 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively. This compares with 1.2%, 1.5% and 1.6% for 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively predicted in March.In early corporate news, pharma firm GlaxoSmithKline said the US Food & Drug Administration has approved two new methods for administering Nucalaan, autoinjector and a pre-filled safety syringe, for patients to administer once every four weeks.GSK Chief Scientific Officer Hal Barron said: "Nucala's efficacy is well-established and this approval means that, for the first time, we are able to provide patients living with these debilitating conditions the option of receiving this important medicine in their own home."Smiths Group has named JehanZeb Noor as CEO of its soon-to-be demerged Smiths Medical. Noor will take up the role on July 1 to oversee the separation - which is expected in the first half of 2020. In November, the engineering firm announced the spin-out its struggling medical unit. Smiths Medical will separately list in the UK. Ferrexpo said its group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization is expected to "increase materially" in the first half compared to the year before.The company said the year to date improvement in profitability has been driven by higher pricing, production and sales volumes. Ferrexpo also announced it has hired former Ernst Young partner Graeme Dacomb to join its board and the Independent Review Committee which is looking into matters relating to Blooming Land. Ferrexpo's auditor, Deloitte, quit with immediate effect at the end of April amid an investigation into payments made by Ferrexpo into Ukrainian charity Blooming Land. Deloitte noted, as reasons for resigning, Ferrexpo's refusal in January to set up a forensic investigation into the matter. At the end of that month, Deloitte said that if Ferrexpo did not do so it would be forced to consider its position as auditor. Games Workshop said it has seen sales growth across all of its channels in financial 2019, resulting in profit growth.Games Workshop expects sales for the year ended June 2 to be about GBP254 million and the company's pretax profit to be "not less than" GBP80 million.The company paid a total dividend of GBP1.55 per share in the period compared to GBP1.26 per share the year before. Elsewhere, life insurance consolidator ReAssure Group said it is considering an initial public offering of shares in London. The firm is a closed-book life insurance consolidator in the UK with 4.3 million policies and GBP68.7 billion of assets under administration. ReAssure is the sixth largest life insurance group in the UK.This afternoon, market focus will turn to the release of US nonfarm payrolls at 1330 BST.In the US on Thursday, Wall Street ended higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending up 0.7%, the S&P 500 up 0.6% and Nasdaq Composite closing 0.5% higher.CMC's Madden said: "US equity markets finished higher as US-Mexican trade discussions are heading in the right direction. President Trump threatened to impose 5% tariffs on all imports from Mexico unless the country tightens its border with the US. Mexico's ambassador to the US, Martha Barcena Coqui, said that negotiators had a 'very good debate', and that boosted US stocks, but Vice President, Mike Pence, claims the tariffs will still come in effect on Monday. Investors are hoping the measures the Mexican government are taking will be enough to prevent the levies from being introduced."Mexico and the US reported progress in their talks on illegal migration on Thursday, but Washington said it was not yet sufficient to prevent US President Donald Trump from slapping a tariff on all Mexican imports."I think that progress is being made," said Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard, who heads the country's delegation to Washington."However we don't have a deal, but we have presented our point of view. Tomorrow we will have another round [of talks]," Ebrard told journalists at the end of Thursday's talks.Ebrard added that his delegation had informed the US that Mexico approved the deployment of 6,000 National Guard troops to coordinate his country's southern border.Trump earlier in the day had tweeted that progress was being made, "but not nearly enough!".Sterling was quoted at USD1.2702 early Friday, lower than USD1.2721 at the London equities close on Thursday.In the UK, Theresa May will formally stand down as Tory leader on Friday - although she will carry on as prime minister and acting party leader until a successor is in place.May will confirm her decision in an exchange of letters with the joint acting chairmen of the backbench 1922 Committee, Charles Walker and Cheryl Gillan.Under the timetable set out by the party high command, it is expected the new leader will be in place in the week beginning July 22 following a postal ballot of the party's 120,000 grassroots members.May is preparing to step down amid a growing row with Chancellor Philip Hammond over her plans to leave with a series of big spending announcements - including a multi-billion pound overhaul of England's schools and colleges - according to the Financial Times.In Asia on Friday, the Japanese Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.6%. In China, the Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng index in Hong Kong were both closed for the Dragon Boat festival.The economic events calendar on Friday has UK Halifax house prices at 0830 BST.
(Sharecast News) - Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline announced it will produce 1bn doses of coronavirus vaccine booster in preparation for an eventual immunisation drive.