What you need to know before the open

Today's top story: WPP goes head-to-head with Sorrell's S4 Capital in €300m bidding war

Today's leader: It's time to let the free market reshape our failing high streets

With two days to go until US tariffs against China come into effect, markets remain nervous.

New red lines drawn in the sand yesterday by President Trump against Chinese companies have put tech stocks in particular under pressure, pulling US indices down with them. The S&P 500 gave up 0.49 per cent as markets closed late last night, while the Nasdaq composite dropped 0.86 per cent.

Although European markets rallied yesterday in comparison, analysts at London Capital Group has suggested that any move higher than current positions for the FTSE and Dax are likely to be short lived. The lower close on Wall Street, coupled with "a sea of red" in Asia, will lead to a lower start in Europe this morning as a result.

The FTSE is expected to edge down by 0.19 per cent at 7,579, while Germany's Dax will follow suit at a drop of 0.28 per cent to 12,315. The French Cac is expected to fall by 0.25 per cent to open at 5,303, according to IG.

MSCI's index of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan fell by 0.2 per cent as markets opened this morning, a day after hitting a nine-month low. Japan's Nikkei was down 0.7 per cent. Chinese shares continued to slide, with the CSI300 index falling by 0.85 per cent.

​Corporate news

  • Sainsbury's – The British supermarket chain has released the results of its first quarter today, amid market nerves regarding its upcoming merger with Asda, and Tesco's recent move-in with French retailer Carrefour
  • Topps Tiles – made its third quarter trading update this morning, maintaining a focus on tight cost control and strong underlying cash generation during a tough time for retailers
  • Smith & Williamson – The mid-tier accountancy firm has posted strong growth ahead of its planned 2019 float on the London Stock Exchange, with revenues up by nine per cent year-on-year


  • 9.30 – UK PMI services
  • 10.00 – EU PMI composite
  • 10.00 – EU PMI services

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