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London pre-open: Stocks to edge down ahead of Powell testimony

Tue, 9th Jul 2019 07:41

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to edge lower at the open on Tuesday as investors eyed a testimony by Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell.

The FTSE 100 was called to open 13 points lower at 7,536.

Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, said: "Fed Governor Jerome Powell is due to speak at an event hosted by Boston Fed today and his remarks will be under close watch ahead of his semiannual testimony before the congress on Wednesday and the FOMC minutes. Fed's Bullard and Quarles will also speak today.

"Friday's job figures in the US have been a good reminder that the market may have gone well ahead of itself when it comes to the pricing of an eventual monetary easing in the US. A moderate easing in interest rates could help counterbalancing the negative impacts of the US - China trade war. Hence at Powell's testimony, US policymakers will be after any information on whether the Fed will raise the interest rates in the coming meetings and by how much.

"The Fed may opt for a 25-basis-point cut to support the market in the foreseeable future; but a 50-basis-point would perhaps be too much for what the economy needs for the moment. The chances of a 25-basis-point cut in July is fully priced in by the US sovereign markets."

In corporate news, Ocado reported that its annual interim loss before tax deepened from £13.6m to £142.8m for the six months ended 2 June as the online retailer dealt with the impact of a fire that damaged property and goods at its Andover distribution centre in February.

However, the company said trading was in line with expectations as double-digit revenue growth was driven by a 10% rise in retail sales.

Housebuilder Bovis said it expected to make "significant" progress in the second half to deliver an improved full year operational and financial performance despite Brexit worries.

Bovis reported a 4% rise in completions for the half year to 1,647, adding that market fundamentals remained stable with good demand for new homes across all regions.

CLS Holdings said it had it had bought a multi-let office property in Cologne, Germany for €30.5m excluding costs.

The purchase price reflected a net initial yield of 5.1% with the reversionary yield estimated to be more than 6%, CLS said, adding the property was fully let with a weighted average unexpired lease term of 2.2 years.

Micro Focus saw a 5.3% fall in its revenue on a constant currency basis for the six months ended 30 April, to $1.66bn - in line with its guidance - while its adjusted EBITDA was ahead 1.8% to $662.3m.

The FTSE 100 software company said its adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations were ahead 8.4% at 85.35 cents.

Residential landlord Grainger said it had agreed to forward fund a 146-home private rental development with around 12,500 square feet of commercial space, in the Hallsville Quarter Development at London's Canning Town, London for £62m.

Grainger said it expected the investment to generate a gross yield on cost of 5.5% once stabilised, with completion expected in late 2022.

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