London pre-open: FTSE set to erase Tuesday's gains



LONDON (ShareCast) - City sources predict the FTSE 100 (FTSE Index: EO100.FGI - news) will open down 15 points from yesterday's close of 5,800, as concerns over the situation overtakes the confidence which followed the Greek bail-out agreement.

The predicted losses will erase all of Tuesday's gains which resulted from the deal.

The main US equity benchmarks ended yesterday lower after remarks from the US Senate majority leader, Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, to the effect that "little progress" has been made so far on avoiding the fiscal cliff by year-end. Reid added that an increase in the US debt ceiling is necessary.

In his own words, the Republicans "talked some happy talk about doing revenues, but we only have a couple weeks to get something done. So we have to get away from the happy talk and start talking about specific things".

International economic announcements due out today include the German Balance of Payments, US Crude Oil Inventoriesm, EU M3 Money Supply, US MBA Mortgage Applications and US New Homes Sales.

In company news, medical technology giant Smith & Nephew (Xetra: 502816 - news) is to buy the assets of Healthpoint Biotherapeutics in an attempt to bolster its position in advanced wound care. Healthpoint, which will be acquired for $782m in cash, is a US-based leader in bioactive debridement, dermal repair and regeneration wound care treatments.

Distribution firm John Menzies has reached agreement to acquire the entire issued share capital of Orbital Marketing Services Group, a portfolio of UK based logistics and marketing services businesses, for £13.6m. The business is 51% owned by BP Direct Mail Company and the remainder by Rydlings, the shareholders of which form the existing management team who will remain with the business.

Investment trust RIT Capital Partners said net asset value (NAV) fell in the half year to September 30th as some of its defensive hedges under performed in a rising market. NAV per share fell 4.9% to 1,188.1p in the six-month period from 1,249.3p at the end of March. Net (Xetra: A0Z22E - news) assets fell to £1.8bn from £1.9bn six months earlier.

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