Before the Open - 29/08

Asian shares had a mixed performance last night as offshore markets rebounded from Syria concerns while mainland markets remained suppressed.

The Hang Seng recovered slightly from multi-month lows, rising around 0.4 per cent to 21,606. However, the Shanghai Composite remained in the red, despite a good start on the back of a strong finish in the US.

Concerns surrounding an imminent US-led international military strike on Syria have moderated somewhat in the offshore Asian markets, but have affected mainland shares less.

In Japan, the yen held steady against the dollar after advancing to a three-week high yesterday on Syria concerns. Official Japanese retail trade figures showed a sharp contraction in the sector, suppressed by hot weather, falling household expenditure, declining confidence and rising inflation. The Nikkei advanced around 0.9 per cent to 13,456.

Meanwhile, the benchmark indices in Indonesia and the Philippines are set for their worst monthly fall since the height of the financial crisis in October 2008. With one trading day left in August, shares are down 12.3 per cent and 11.1 per cent respectively. Thailand is down 9.9 per cent this month - the worst since September 2011, when the country was hit by heavy flooding.

Opinions are mixed on how the FTSE will react.

Key events today:

Spanish gross domestic product for the second quarter at 08:00. Expected to rise from -0.5 per cent to -0.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter and to grow from -2.0 per cent to -1.7 per cent year-on-year.

German unemployment rate for August at 08:55. Expected to hold at 6.8 per cent. Unemployment is expected to fall by 5,000 following the previous month's fall of 7,000.

German consumer price index for August at 13:00. Expected to fall from 0.5 per cent to 0.1 per cent month-on-month, and to fall from 1.9 per cent from 1.7 per cent year-on-year.

US gross domestic product (annualised) for the second quarter at 13:30. Expected to rise from 1.7 per cent to 2.2 per cent.

US GDP price index for the second quarter at 13:30. Expected to hold at 1.3 per cent.

US initial jobless claims at 13:30. Expected to fall from 336,000 to 329,000.

US continuing jobless claims at 13:30. Expected to fall from 2.999m to 2.980m.

President of the St Louis Fed James Bullard speech at 13:50.