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London pre-open: Stocks seen down after China data disappoints

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Wednesday 31 May 2023

London pre-open: Stocks seen down after China data disappoints

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to fall at the open on Wednesday following losses in Asia after the release of weak Chinese manufacturing figures.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 22 points lower at 7,500.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "As we look towards today's European open and the end of the month, we look set for further declines after Asia markets slid on the back of another set of weak China PMIs for May."

Data released earlier by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the manufacturing purchasing managers' index declined to 48.8 in May from 49.2 in April, coming in below consensus expectations for an increase to 49.5.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below signals contraction.

Meanwhile, the non-manufacturing PMI edged down to 54.5 in May from 56.4 the month before, versus expectations for a reading of 55.2.

Investors will also continue to keep an eye on the US, after a deal to avert a debt default was agreed over the weekend.

Hewson said: "With the White House and Republican leaders agreeing a deal on the debt ceiling at the weekend markets are now obsessing about whether the deal will get the necessary votes to pass into law, as partisan interests line up to criticise the deal.

"With the deadline for a deal now said to be next Monday, 5th June a vote will need to go forward by the end of the week, with ratings agencies already sharpening their pencils on downgrades for the US credit rating."

In corporate news, B&M Value Retail said it expected current adjusted core earnings to be higher as it posted a fall in annual profits.

The company, which owns discount retail stores in the UK and France, said like-for-like sales in Britain were up 8.3% in the first nine weeks of the current fiscal year.

Pre-tax profit fell 17% to £436m, as revenue rose 6.6% to £5bn.

Elsewhere, retailer WHSmith said its expectations for the full year had improved "modestly" as it hailed continued strong momentum across its global travel business.

For the 13 weeks to 27 May, it reported a 23% jump in group revenue versus a year earlier.

"Looking ahead, the group is in a good position as we approach the peak summer trading period," it said.

"Trading is strong across all three travel divisions, and we are very well positioned to capitalise on the substantial growth drivers across our markets."

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