(Sharecast News) - London stocks were just in the black in early trade on Thursday as investors erred on the side of caution ahead of the latest US inflation data and a policy announcement from the European Central Bank.
At 0845 BST, the FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 7,087.52.
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: "If there is a worry about inflation - today's US CPI print will tell us a lot - then the bond market is not showing it. US 10-year yields fell under 1.49% to the lowest level in three months. This not just a Fed thing - the yield on longer dated paper such as the 30yr is also well off its 2021 highs.
"Today's inflation reading still poses a risk to the market. The annual rate is forecast to climb to 4.7% in May, from 4.2% in April, whilst the core reading it seen at 3.4%, with the month-on-month at +0.4%. With the Federal Reserve anchoring its policy goals to employment, another hot reading won't too much to worry about. Nevertheless, the print will still lead to some volatility at 13:30 (BST) in index futures, numerous FX crosses and gold.
"An above forecast inflation reading would reignite market taper fears, albeit this is likely to be short-lived and one to fade as the Fed still has control of this, at least to the extent that the market believes it does."
Investors will also be eyeing the latest policy announcement from the ECB at 1245 BST. "It will be hard to avoid taper talk so how the ECB responds to questions around tapering will be of central importance to the market's expectations and the euro," Wilson said.
In equity markets, Auto Trader rallied after it said a dramatic shift to buying cars online during pandemic lockdowns helped it to limit full-year losses and reinstate its dividend. The company reported a 37% fall in pre-tax profit to £157.4m as revenue fell 29% to £262.8m. A dividend of 5p a share was declared.
BT was also a high riser after multibillionaire telecoms dealmaker Patrick Drahi bought a 12.1% stake in the group to capitalise on its involvement in the rollout of faster broadband in the UK. Drahi has bought 1.2 billion BT shares through Altice UK, which he wholly owns.
Outsourcer Mitie gained after it posted a slump in full-year profit but said 2022 profit was set to be "materially ahead" of its prior expectations.
CMC Markets rose as the online trading platform reported a 127% surge in full-year profits, with customers numbers up as it benefited from heightened volatility due to the pandemic.
On the downside, Sainsbury's and Johnson Matthey were both weaker as they traded without entitlement to the dividend.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,087.52 0.09%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 22,732.55 -0.12%
techMARK (TASX) 4,411.31 0.33%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 611.00p 5.75%
Rightmove (RMV) 632.40p 1.57%
National Grid (NG.) 924.60p 1.27%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 440.80p 1.19%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,520.00p 0.93%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,393.20p 0.93%
BT Group (BT.A) 184.75p 0.87%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 8,201.00p 0.87%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,359.00p 0.84%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,832.50p 0.76%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 256.10p -2.29%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,109.00p -1.14%
British Land Company (BLND) 513.00p -0.97%
Entain (ENT) 1,755.50p -0.96%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,628.00p -0.94%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 2,201.00p -0.90%
Ferguson (FERG) 9,640.00p -0.88%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,515.00p -0.88%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 13,705.00p -0.80%
BP (BP.) 322.20p -0.79%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Mitie Group (MTO) 75.60p 5.44%
CMC Markets (CMCX) 509.00p 4.09%
Beazley (BEZ) 316.20p 2.90%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 1,176.00p 2.08%
Hilton Food Group (HFG) 1,164.00p 1.57%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,210.00p 1.51%
Future (FUTR) 2,966.00p 1.23%
Aberforth Smaller Companies Trust (ASL) 1,582.00p 1.15%
BMO Global Smaller Companies (BGSC) 165.00p 1.10%
Serco Group (SRP) 136.00p 1.04%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 2,022.00p -3.35%
SSP Group (SSPG) 293.40p -2.94%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 135.60p -2.87%
Grafton Group Ut (CDI) (GFTU) 1,140.00p -2.23%
Workspace Group (WKP) 902.00p -2.01%
Shaftesbury (SHB) 622.00p -1.97%
RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 4,418.00p -1.69%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 179.00p -1.54%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 1,417.00p -1.49%
Morgan Sindall Group (MGNS) 2,155.00p -1.37%
(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to rise at the open on Monday despite expectations that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce a four-week delay to the lifting of England's lockdown.