Shares, stocks and corporate news: What you need to know before the open

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European markets look set to open up this morning after positive economic news from China, although geopolitical tensions continue to hold centre stage.

Investors will be watching for news on further sanctions against Russia and the next steps in the Gaza conflict, where 1,000 Palestinians have been killed in 20 days of fighting. 

Industrial profits in China grew at a faster pace in the first six months of 2014 than in the corresponding period last year, meaning mining stocks with exposure to the Asian superpower are looking at gains. 

In Gaza calls for a ceasefire from both sides have failed and the conflict rages on, while the European Union has agreed to impose more sanctions on Russia, but they are not expected to affect the energy sector. 

The FTSE is expected to be up 14 points at 6,799, the German Dax  7 points higher at 9,639 and the French CAC is called up 7 points at 4,330.

Corporate news

Budget airline Ryanair has revised its profit expectations for the financial year, citing its ability to persuade customers to change to its services. The company now expects full-year profits to be a maximum of €650m, up from a previous upper bound of €620m.

Trinity Mirror released its half-yearly financial report, showing large increases in online readers.

Pace has seen its pre-tax profit for the first half of 2014 rise five per cent year on year, despite lower revenue. The company, which makes hardware for the pay TV industry, said the rise in profit was due to better efficiency and the release of new products. Profit before tax was $72.0m for the first six months of 2014, up from $68.8m for the same period last year. 

BSkyB is in demand after it revealed plans to invest $400,000 in video start-up Jaunt. 

Data in focus

2.45pm: US, July, Markit services PMI

3.00pm: US, July, pending home sales  

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