LONDON (ShareCast) – The FTSE is expected to open notably lower this morning, hit by the most recent developments in the Ukraine and ahead of what is set to be another busy week.
City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open around 80 points lower than Friday’s close of 6,809.70.
The crisis in Ukraine has stepped up a gear as Moscow began building up its military presence there, a move condemned by Russia’s G8 partners. European leaders are due to come together for an emergency meeting in Brussels in a bid to tackle the escalating situation.
Samuel Fox at Spreadex commented that amid a weekend of increased tensions between Russia and Ukraine, “global markets have reacted dramatically”.
He added: “With the Ukraine geopolitical situation continuing to get worse, investors have sought a safe haven in precious metal gold. The yellow metal has seen a $ 20 spike increase alongside Brent Crude, which has surged to around $ 110.80 a barrel for settlement in April, up nearly two dollars.”
In other weekend news, Culture Secretary Maria Miller called for a tougher voluntary code of conduct to be introduced to the gambling industry in a bid to provide more support to those with gambling problems. Her comments, made in the Sunday Times, came after the introduction of the code on Friday, the terms of which include making gamblers set a limit on how much they spent before they begin playing. Miller wants the code to make spending and time limits compulsory, with bookmakers only being granted a licence once they have agreed to the code.
“We want a successful gambling industry but not at the price of public protection. Player protections must be made mandatory so that every bookmaker must abide by the new rules,” she said.
“I have asked the Gambling Commission to make this happen. In the future, these rules will therefore form part of the operators’ licence conditions and bookmakers will have to accept them or not be able to trade.”
Turning to today, the agenda includes PMI Manufacturing figures for Europe, while later on the US will release data on Auto Sales, Construction Spending, and Personal Consumptions.
In this morning’s company news, it was announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN – news) ‘s injectable treatment for type 2 diabetes. Bydureon Pen, the first and only once-weekly medicine for adults with type 2 diabetes, has been given the green light as a supplement to diet and exercise to improve glycaemic control in adults with the condition.
Product testing company Intertek Group (Other OTC: IKTSF – news) has bought International Inspection Services, an United Arab Emirates-based provider of testing services to the oil and gas sector. The business was acquired from Lamprell Energy, a subsidiary of Lamprell (LSE: LAM.L – news) , for a total cash consideration of $ 66m.
FTSE-250 ground engineering specialist Keller reported a robust set of full-year results, after a strong performance on a string of major projects, and expects 2014 to be another strong year. Profit before tax jumped 70% to £74.1m for the year ended December 31st, while revenue increased 9% to £1.4bn.
EnQuest (LSE: ENQ.L – news) has completed the acquisition of assets at UKCS Greater Kittiwake Area (GKA), which were previously owned by Centrica North Sea Oil. The GKA covers the Kittiwake, Mallard, Gadwall, Goosander and Grouse fields. It also acquired Centrica (LSE: CNA.L – news) ‘s stake in the Kittiwake to Forties oil export pipeline.