Expectations had been for a rather more upbeat open ahead of some key data releases including UK retail sales, plus Janet Yellen’s first testimony to Congress in the wake of Donald Trump having been elected as US President, but the enthusiasm really isn’t there.
Anglo American is topping the board off the back of a price target hike by brokers, whilst Royal Mail is the early laggard. This morning’s earnings news showed profits were struggling and the prospect of a dividend hike clearly hasn’t placated shareholders yet. We’ve also got the usual Thursday round of stocks moving ex-dividend, although this is only lopping a few points off the index with Marks & Spencer, J Sainsbury and Imperial Brands amongst those paying out.
In the wake of softer inflation and better than expected employment readings, hopes are running high that today’s UK retail sales print will also give markets something worth cheering. It’s worth bearing in mind that seasonal factors may flatter the year-on-year growth here given the mild autumn we saw in 2015, but as the UK continues to try and find its way in the wake of the Brexit referendum, anything that supports the idea consumers are happy to spend should be applauded.