Friday 26 August 2016 9:27 am

FTSE 100 flat ahead of Janet Yellen's Jackson Hole speech

The FTSE 100 was trading flat this morning ahead of the Federal Reserve's speech at Jackson Hole.

The UK's blue-chip index was trading 0.1 per cent down at 6,810 points in early morning trading, with investors looking for clues of when a US rate rise could come.

"A rather subdued opening call is nothing out of the ordinary given the event risk attached to Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaking in Jackson Hole this afternoon," said Michael van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

"This because she may (only Dixons offers guarantees) deliver a cryptic hint or two about the timing of the next US rate hike. Which is important with peers doing the opposite and USD strength having a negative knock-on for commodities. Note however, the USD back trading around yesterday’s lows, suggesting fears of a hawkish rhetoric may in fact be on the wane. Could it all be much ado about nothing?"

The FTSE's highest riser, BAE System, was trading just 1.89 per cent higher, while Shire, the biggest slider, was trading just 1.33 per cent lower.

Read more: Sterling on the front foot as Jackson Hole approaches

"As we look ahead to this afternoon’s Jackson Hole speech it would be surprising if Mrs Yellen was either dovish or hawkish, though given the odds currently assigned to the prospect of a move in September the risk is likely to be towards the hawkish side, for no other reason than the Federal Reserve will want to keep markets guessing in the event we see an improvement in the economic data between now and September 21," said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets.

"The ability of the Fed to move also continues to be constrained by other central banks and potential future policy moves on their part as they look to ease further, with the Bank of Japan expected to come under further pressure after Japanese CPI fell further into deflationary territory.

"Some in the markets are slowly coming to the realisation that central bankers the world over are fumbling around in the dark as they try to introduce reinvigorate their economies."

Read more: Gold has lost its sheen ahead of a speech by Janet Yellen

Meanwhile, French growth came in at zero in the second quarter of the year, following 0.7 per cent growth in the first quarter.

However, French consumer confidence rose in July, following a drop in the previous two months, according to INSEE, the French statistics office.

The French Cac was hovering just 0.17 per cent lower before the release, but has fallen by 0.33 per cent to 4,392 points since in early morning trading.

The German Dax was also trading 0.33 per cent lower at 10,494 points.