FTSE to open amid ex-divs with sterling mildly up

London equities will open after heavy falls on Wall St and in Asia overnight, with additional UK ballast provided by a moderate list of ex-dividend stocks.

Investors will be looking to UK retail sales data out mid morning, in the wake of inflation and average earnings numbers issued in recent sessions.

At about 6am, sterling was making minor headway on the dollar and euro.

US & ASIA

In the US last night, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.78% to 20,606.93, the S&P 500 lost 1.82% to 2357.03 and the Nasdaq Composite shed 2.57% to 6011.23.

In Asia this morning, the Nikkei 225 had fallen 1.59% to 19,499.37, while the Hang Seng lost 0.23% to 25,234.34.

At 5.54am, WTI crude was down 0.33% to $48.91/bbl and Brent was down 0.4% to $52.00/bbl. Gold was up 0.15% to $1260.6/oz, although both silver and copper were heading lower.

LONDON MARKETS

Interim results are due from Euromoney Institutional Investor, Marston's, SSP Group and Thomas Cook. Final results are expected from Bloomsbury Publishing, Booker, Burberry, Dairy Crest, Elektron, Investec, Land Securities, Mothercare, National Grid and Royal Mail.

Trading statements are expected from Balfour Beatty, Hargreaves Lansdown and Rank Group. Shareholder meetings are to be convened by Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port, Balfour Beatty, Learning Technologies, ProPhotonix, Prudential, Safestyle UK and Zhejiang Expressway Co.