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London pre-open: Stocks seen muted as investors mull GDP

Fri, 11th Sep 2020 07:41

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set for a muted open on Friday as investors digested the latest UK GDP figures, with Brexit talks due to resume.
The FTSE 100 was called to open three points lower at 6,000.

Data released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed the UK economy grew 6.6% in July, down from 8.7% growth in June and just below expectations for a 6.7% increase.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: "While it has continued steadily on the path towards recovery, the UK economy still has to make up nearly half of the GDP lost since the start of the pandemic.

"Education grew strongly as some children returned to school, while pubs, campsites and hairdressers all saw notable improvements. Car sales exceeded pre-crisis levels for the first time with showrooms having a particularly busy time.

"All areas of manufacturing, particularly distillers and car makers, saw improvements, while housebuilding also continued to recover. However, both production and construction remain well below previous levels."

Meanwhile, Brexit remained firmly in focus, with talks between the EU and UK due to resume despite the UK rejection of the EU's ultimatum to ditch plans to override the withdrawal agreement.

In corporate news, Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques has resigned after the company's board yielded to shareholder pressure over the destruction of sacred 46,000-year-old rock shelters in Western Australia.

Rio Tinto said Jacques was leaving "by mutual agreement". Two other executives, Chris Salisbury, and corporate affairs head Simone Niven are also leaving, the company said.

Ashmore proposed an unchanged final dividend of 12.10p a share as the emerging markets fund manager reported a 1% increase in pre-tax profit to £221.5m for the year to the end of June.

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