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09 Apr 2021 | 07:34

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

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to rise at the open on Friday following a positive session on Wall Street, as investors eye the easing of lockdown restrictions next week. The FTSE 100 was called to open eight points higher at 6,950.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "European markets look set to open in positive territory this morning, as they look to continue where they left off yesterday after US markets finished higher with another record close for the S&P500, as it got to within a whisker of 4,100, led predominantly by the tech sector.

"The pound has continued to have a rotten week sliding back for the third day in a row, with some putting the declines down to the concerns over the AstraZeneca jab slowing down the vaccine rollout.

"While this may suit the narrative it's probably wide of the mark and more to do with the fact that bets on the pound have gone a little bit too one way. The fact remains that whatever problems the UK is having the current problems appear perfectly navigable, with the rollout of the first instances of the Moderna jab yesterday."

In corporate news, Mike Ashley's Frasers Group said it could face extra non-cash impairments of at least £200m due to "almost certain" further Covid-19 restrictions.

The company, which includes the Sports Direct and Frasers retail brands, said it had based the decision on government statements on Britain's path out of lockdown restrictions.

"In our ongoing assessment we note the continuing government and government advisor pronouncements regarding 'third waves' and normality being 'some way off', meaning further restrictions are in our view almost certain," Frasers said in a statement.

Page Group said improving trading made it more confident about the outlook as it reported a 2% increase in first-quarter profit.

Gross profit for the three months to the end of March rose to £184.2m from £182.3m a year earlier and performance improved throughout the period, the recruitment group said. The group predicted annual operating profit between £90m and £100m.

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