London pre-open: Markets to open little changed



LONDON (ShareCast) - City sources predict the FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) will open down two points from Friday's close of 5,940, with light volumes of trading expected as investors wind down for the Christmas bank holidays.

UK markets are only open for a half day today, closing at midday.

Although the market´s moves are expected to be limited this week, given that most traders will be away on holiday, markets will still be keeping an eye on the US fiscal debate which - for some economists - hasn´t even yet begun to rage on Capitol Hill.

No significant data releases are expected in the UK this week.

In company news, ITV (LSE: ITV.L - news) has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Gurney Productions, an independent producer of US cable television networks. The UK TV network is purchasing a 61.5% stake in Gurney Productions for $40m, with a put and call option to buy the remaining 38.5% interest in the company. The put and call could be made from three years after the initial deal.

Global medical technology company Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN.L - news) announced Monday it has completed the acquisition of a substantial stake in Healthpoint Biotherapeutics. The FTSE 100 company paid $782m in cash for the assets, financed from the existing cash resources and bank facilities. The transaction increases Smith & Nephew's position in bioactives, the fastest growing area of advanced wound management.

Electric Word, which provides training services for the education, healthcare and sport sectors, said following its fundraising in August, trading is in line with company expectations.