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16 Mar 2021 | 07:39

London pre-open: Stocks seen up on solid US cues

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to rise at the open on Tuesday, taking their cue from a solid session on Wall Street. The FTSE 100 was called to open 31 points higher at 6,780.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "While markets in Europe rolled over into the close, US markets started the new week on a more positive note, with the Dow, S&P500 and Russell 2000 all posting yet more record highs for the third successive session in a row, at the same time as US 10-year yields slipped back.

"Some of the main outperformers were US airlines after data that showed US air travel hit its highest level in over a year, and reports of cinema re-openings in LA buoyed sentiment, along with an expectation that a significant proportion of the new $1,400 stimulus cheques were likely to trickle into US stock markets as well.

"As we look ahead to today's European open, it seems likely that last night's late US rebound is likely to aid into a modestly positive start for markets here in Europe later, with Asia markets also trading higher this morning, though we can hang onto any positivity is another matter, given the failure to hang onto yesterday's similarly strong start."

In corporate news, Britain's Financial Conduct Authority has started criminal proceedings against NatWest for money laundering.

The FCA said the bank allegedly accepted "increasingly large cash deposits" totalling £365m into the accounts of a UK incorporated customer between November 2011 and October 2016, including £264m in cash.

"It is alleged that NatWest's systems and controls failed to adequately monitor and scrutinise this activity," the regulator said.

The bank is scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on April 14 in what will be the first criminal prosecution under money laundering regulations against a bank.

No individuals are being charged, the FCA added.

Student accommodation developer and operator the Unite Group reported a 12% fall in EPRA earnings in its final results, to £97.3m, in line with its expectations.

The FTSE 250 company reinstated its dividends with its results for 2020, with a 12.75p final dividend payable in May. It said 95% of rent was collected so far for the 2020-2021 academic year, as contracted occupancy stood at 88%, down from 98% year-on-year.

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