London pre-open: Stocks seen up ahead of ECB rate decision

Pre-open Market Report
06:36, 21st January 2021

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to rise at the open on Thursday following a positive session on Wall Street, as investors welcomed the start of Joe Biden's presidency and looked ahead to the European Central Bank's latest policy announcement.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 30 points higher at 6,770.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "All of the major US equity markets closed at new record highs, while markets in Europe also had a positive session, as investors absorbed the messaging of a new President, and a Treasury Secretary who promised to 'act big', in testimony to US policymakers the day before.

"This enthusiasm over a new stimulus program is likely to filter into a positive European open later this morning, after the Bank of Japan kept its own monetary policy decision unchanged, ahead of today's ECB rate decision."

Hewson said no changes are expected from the ECB, "but it has been apparent over the past 12 months that the ECB has shown it is prepared to shift policy when required in order to support the European economy, despite the lack of urgency from EU politicians in taking fiscal actions of their own".

In corporate news, Sage said it traded in line with expectations in the first quarter as recurring revenue grew strongly.

Total revenue rose 1.4% to £447m in the three months to the end of December from a year earlier as recurring revenue increased 4.7% to £408m.00

Ladbrokes and Coral owner Entain reported flat full-year net gaming revenue (NGR), with online gambling offsetting the closures of betting shops due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company, which this week rejected an £8bn takeover bid from MGM, said UK retail NGR fell 36%, while total online was up 27%.

Full year 2020 group core earnings were expected to be in the range of £825m - £845m, "despite the impact to profitability from enforced retail closures", the company said.

Ibstock said that it traded well through the fourth quarter, with both solid clay brick and concrete sales volumes "modestly ahead" of the prior year.

The FTSE 250 brick maker said the "strong recovery" in market conditions through the second half enabled it to achieve revenues of around £315m for the full year, down by 23% on 2019, with second half performance down approximately 10% year-on-year.

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