(Alliance News) - The FTSE 100 is poised to open above the 7,000 mark on Thursday as the week's rebound continues, with markets more optimistic over the global economic outlook despite rising coronavirus cases.
IG says futures indicate the index of London large-caps to open up 18.62 points, or 0.3%, at 7,016.90 on Thursday. The FTSE 100 closed up 117.15 points, or 1.7%, at 6,998.28 on Wednesday.
London's blue-chip index slumped 2.3% at the start of the week as worries mounted over a resurgence in coronavirus cases across the globe, driven by the more infectious Delta variant.
However, the mood brightened as the week progressed and now the FTSE 100 is in touching distance of returning to the level at which it closed on Friday, being 7,008 points.
"Concern that rising Delta infections might slow down the economic rebound appear to have been put to one side for now, after a day of positive trading updates that showed companies might be able to meet full-year expectations on revenues and profits after all," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
"Today's European open looks as if it could well be a positive one ahead of today's European Central Bank rate meeting, which given recent comments from ECB President Christine Lagarde, could prove much more insight into ECB policy over the next 18 months than had originally been thought two weeks ago."
The European Central Bank interest rate decision is at 1245 BST, followed by a press conference with President Christine Lagarde at 1330 BST.
The meeting, initially regarded as likely to be uneventful by analysts, is now being closely watched following the results of the ECB's strategy review a fortnight ago.
The headline change from the review was the ECB's decision to adopt a new symmetric 2% inflation target, which allows more room for inflation overshoots than the previous target of 'below, but close' to 2% did.
The euro traded at USD1.1795 early Thursday ahead of the ECB announcement, soft against USD1.1800 late Wednesday.
Elsewhere, the dollar was on the back foot. Sterling was quoted at USD1.3717 early Thursday, up from USD1.3684 at the London equities close on Wednesday. Against the yen, the dollar fell to JPY110.14 versus JPY110.25.
In the US on Wednesday, Wall Street ended in the green, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending up 0.8%, the S&P 500 up 0.8%, and the Nasdaq Composite up 0.9%.
In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.3%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong jumped 1.7%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney rose 1.1%. Financial markets in Japan are shut for the Marine Day holiday.
Gold was quoted at USD1,800.53 an ounce early Thursday, lower than USD1,805.13 on Wednesday.
Brent oil was trading at USD71.85 a barrel, flat against USD71.86 late Wednesday.
Thursday's UK corporate calendar has a first-quarter update from energy company SSE, third-quarter figures from soft drinks maker Britvic and half-year output from gold miner Centamin.
Alongside the ECB decision, Thursday's economic calendar has US weekly jobless claims figures at 1330 BST.
By Lucy Heming; email@example.com
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