LONDON MARKET EARLY CALL: Stocks to slip; consumer confidence improves

(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are set to open lower on Friday, with the week likely to end ...

Alliance News 24 November, 2023 | 6:57AM
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(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are set to open lower on Friday, with the week likely to end on a quiet note given the public holiday in the US.

IG says futures indicate the FTSE 100 to open down 21.4 points, 0.3%, at 7,462.18 on Friday. The index of London large-caps closed up 14.07 points, 0.2%, at 7,483.58 on Thursday.

In the US on Thursday, financial markets were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. They will reopen for a shortened session on Friday.

In some positive news for retailers amid the key Black Friday weekend and the run-up to Christmas, UK consumer confidence has bounced back in November.

This comes despite the ongoing cost-of-living concerns as consumers look set to "loosen their purse strings" and enjoy the festive season.

GfK's long-running Consumer Confidence Index rose by six points, although it still languishes firmly at minus 24. Confidence in the general economy over the next 12 months also increased by six points to minus 26 – 32 points higher than a year ago.

In Asia on Friday, the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo closed up 0.6%, amid inflation data and flash PMIs.

Japanese consumer inflation quickened to 2.9% year-on-year in October as the government reduced subsidies for electricity and gas bills, government data showed.

The figure for the world's third-largest economy, which excludes volatile fresh food prices, followed a 2.8% on-year jump in prices in September. "The drop in electricity and city gas bills shrank although the rise of gasoline prices narrowed," a statement accompanying the data release said. The reading was slightly below market expectations of a 3.0% increase in a Bloomberg survey.

Against the yen, the dollar was quoted at JPY149.27 early Friday, down versus JPY149.49 late Thursday.

Meanwhile, Japan's business activity levels stagnated in November, according to preliminary survey data.

The au Jibun Bank flash composite purchasing managers' index fell to 50.0 points this month from 50.5 in October. The 50-point mark separates contraction from expansion, showing the country's private sector saw no growth over the month. The flash services PMI edged up to 51.7 from 51.6, while the flash manufacturing PMI fell to 48.1 from 48.7.

In China, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.8%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 1.7%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed up 0.2%.

Sterling was quoted at USD1.2538 early Friday, slightly lower than USD1.2542 at the London equities close on Thursday. The euro traded at USD1.0908, little changed from USD1.0909.

Gold was quoted at USD1,993.61 an ounce early Friday, a touch higher than USD1,992.02 on Thursday. Brent oil was trading at USD81.36 a barrel, up from USD80.65.

In Friday's UK corporate calendar, there are no events scheduled.

The economic calendar has a GDP reading for Germany, as well as the Ifo business climate index, followed by US PMI data.

By Elizabeth Winter, Alliance News deputy news editor

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