London pre-open: Stocks to add slight gains to yesterday's surge



LONDON (ShareCast) - City sources predict the FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) will open up six points from yesterday's close of 6,027, offering a modest extension to yesterday's huge gains following a new bill passed in the US on Tuesday, temporarily averting the threat of the so-called 'fiscal cliff'.

UK markets will not be able to take guidance from Asian stocks, because markets there are closed.

US markets ended the session firmly higher last night - the Dow Jones (DJI: ^DJI - news) jumped more than 300 points, its best one-day advance since December 2011.

Today's UK economic announcements include mortgage approvals, PMI construction and consumer credit, while abroad we can expect the German unemployment reading, US initial jobless claims, US auto sales, and EU M3 money supply.

In UK company news, retailer Next (Other OTC: NXGPF - news) said its full year results would come in towards the top of expectations. Looking to 2013, the firm expects consumer spending to remain "subdued but steady" as employment levels continue to stave off a significant downturn. The company said although 2012 sales had been in line with forecasts, cost control measures, markdowns and gross margins had all been slightly better than expected.

Infrastructure company Balfour Beatty (Other OTC: BAFBF - news) has purchased Subsurface Group to expand its Parson Brinckerhoff's Energy Storage Services business in the US. Subsurface is forecast to generate around $50m ($31m) of revenue for the year ended December 31st 2012.

FTSE 100 building materials group CRH (NYSE: CRH - news) has said that full-year development activity in 2012 totalled over 0.6bn euros, helped by 18 acquisition and investment initiatives undertaken in the second half. The company's Americas division made 12 purchases worth €256m in the second half, which included its Materials unit adding around 515m tonnes of aggregates reserves.