London Markets Anticipate Opening Decline with Focus on US Inflation and UK Jobs Data


As investors remain attuned to the imminent US inflation report and scrutinise the latest UK jobs data, London stocks are poised to open on a downward trajectory.

The FTSE 100 opened approximately 10 points lower at 7,416 this morning in the London session.

Indicative pricing only

Earlier figures from the Office for National Statistics unveiled that wage growth in the three months to September experienced a mild deceleration. However, earnings growth surpassed inflation, while the unemployment rate maintained its stability.

Including bonuses, average wage growth dipped to 7.9%, down from an upwardly-revised 8.2% the previous month. This contrasts with the 6.7% inflation rate. Economists had anticipated a decline to 7.4% in wage growth, including bonuses.

Excluding bonuses, wage growth eased to 7.7% in the same period, slipping from 7.8%. The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.2%.

The Office for National Statistics in the UK noted that labour market figures depict a relatively unaltered scenario, with proportions of employed, unemployed, and those not actively seeking employment showing marginal changes from the previous quarter.

Despite a 16th consecutive monthly decline in job vacancies, the figures still outpace pre-lockdown levels.

Although real pay is experiencing its swiftest growth in two years due to a decline in inflation in the latest quarter, it's crucial to note that inflation remains high; it has just ceased its acceleration.

Anticipating the day ahead, market participants are eagerly awaiting the US consumer price index for October, scheduled for release at 1330 GMT.

In the corporate domain impacting London's FTSE 100 listed stocks, Vodafone Group reported a 4.2% growth in first-half group service revenue, fueled by positive performances in Europe and Africa. Germany and Vodafone Business also witnessed favourable growth. However, group revenue declined by 4.3%, attributed to foreign exchange rate fluctuations and prior-year business disposals, leading to a 44.2% decline in operating profit. Vodafone reiterated its full-year guidance and declared an interim dividend per share of 4.5 euro cents.

Tobacco giant Imperial Brands disclosed that full-year revenues remained flat, as diminished tobacco volumes were counterbalanced by robust growth in next-generation products. Reported revenues for the 12 months to September totaled £32.5 billion, indicating a 0.2% year-on-year decline. However, tobacco and NGP net revenue showed a positive trend at a constant currency, excluding Russian operations, signalling optimism for the company's strategic evolution post its exit from the region in April 2022.

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