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LIVE MARKETS-UK election: Don't forget the utilities

* European stocks slightly lower awaiting clarity on U.S.-China trade talk

* FTSE 100 outperforms on sterling weakness, flat after rising 0.4% at open

* Latest YouGov poll points to 28 seat majority for Conservatives Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Thyagaraju Adinarayan. Reach him on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: rm://


Eyes on pound, tick! Eyes on FTSE 100, tick! Eyes on FTSE mid-cap, tick!

Investors seem to be ready to be glued on to their screens to watch those big macro moves on Friday morning, but Citi says the utilities sector perhaps could be the big daddy on Friday if there is a clear majority of either parties.

Utilities and in particular National Grid and United Utilities are going to be the most important ones to watch out for after elections tomorrow.

With labour's nationalisation plans looming, National Grid and United Utilities have underperformed the broader utilities rally (chart below).

"We believe political clarity would have a more material impact on NG shares than $/£ (dollar/pound), which Citi expect to go to 1.35-40 range," Citi analyst Jenny Ping says.

If there is a Conservative majority Ping expects UU and NG to catch up with others. And, if there's a clear Labour win, UK utilities shares would react "very negatively".

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)



UK's first December election since 1923 is nerve-wracking and hawk-eyed investors are perhaps turning cautious as the latest opinion poll projections cast some doubt over what had seemed to be assured election win for the ruling Conservative Party.

That's perhaps opening a small chance of a hung Parliament, which nobody wants.

Stock moves in Europe are largely centered on the election with high-octane action visible mostly in UK stocks, while rest of Europe treads water. The FTSE 100 index is rising 0.4% on sterling weakness.

Among single stocks, UK's JD Sports is on track for its worst single-day performance (-7.4%) in 2-1/2 years after the company's largest shareholder reduces stake. In Germany, we have Telefonica Deutschland sliding 3% after dividend cut and Aurubis rising 5% after the copper producer's stable full-year results.

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)



Futures point to a flat to slightly higher open for European stocks with London's FTSE 100 seen outperforming on sterling weakness after the latest YouGov poll on UK election showed Conservative majority sharply narrowing.

That is making things a bit more interesting ahead of the D-Day tomorrow. Sterling declined 0.5% overnight after the poll saw a 28-seat Conservative margin of victory, down from 68 two weeks ago.

"...a hung Parliament is now within the margin of error," says Chris Bailey, Raymond James European strategist.

On the corporate news front, JD Sports shares could come under pressure with one trader calling it 8% lower after the company's largest shareholder Pentland sells a part of its stake.

Credit Suisse is seen falling 1% after the Swiss bank trimmed its profitability targets for next year. Traders expect Zara-owner Inditex's shares to rise 2%, pointing to its strong free cash flow expectations for 2019.

Telefonica Deutschland is seen falling 2% after the German telco cut its dividend and announced plans to invest in improving networks over the next three years.

Headlines to digest:

Aurubis sees stable new year, smelter maintenance completed

Deutsche Telekom CEO denies T-Mobile/Sprint deal will reduce competition

Credit Suisse trims profitability aims as revenue hopes fall short

M&C Saatchi co-founder quits days after profit warning amid accounting woes

Telefonica Deutschland cuts dividend as it prioritises network investments

Thyssenkrupp's elevator unit seeks margin boost ahead of sale

Zara owner Inditex expects like-for-like sales growth of 4%-6% in full year

Safilo to cut 700 jobs in Italy as sluggish sales weigh

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)



Looks like we're heading for a quiet start today and perhaps the calmness is explained by the major upcoming market moving events: UK election tomorrow, U.S. tariffs on China due to take effect on Sunday and Christine Lagarde's first monetary policy meeting as ECB chief.

UK stocks, especially the domestically-focused ones, are in focus after the latest YouGov poll showed election race has tightened markedly over the past two weeks and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now likely to win only a modest majority in Thursday's vote.

The poll sees a 28-seat Conservative margin of victory, down from 68 two weeks ago.

Financial spreadbetters IG expect London's FTSE to open 5 points higher at 7,219, Frankfurt's DAX to open 5 points lower at 13,066 and Paris' CAC to open 6 points lower at 5,842.

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)


(Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Joice Alves, Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)