What you need to know before the open

Today's top story: Hedgies hammered as Ocado delivers

Today's leader: Ocados tech prowess must be celebrated

Wall Street edged down overnight, failing to follow the rally seen in European stocks yesterday.

Oil hit $80 barrel, but couldnt outweigh renewed fears of a trade war between the EU and China. Lower than expected earnings from Walmart and Cisco also dragged US stocks down.

Asian stocks performed slightly better, despite trade war anxiety. The Asia-Pacific MSCI index was largely flat, but both markets in both Hong Kong and Shanghai edged up over hopes that Washington and Beijing will come to an agreement.

Japans Nikkei rose 0.4 per cent, South Koreas KOSPI was up 0.3 per cent and Australian markets dipped 0.2 percent.

In Europe, the German Dax is expected to open 12 points higher at 13127, while Frances Cac will likely drop around five points on opening. The FTSE is also expected to drop, slipping 14 points lower at the start of trading, however, LCGs Jasper Lawler says the British market has come a long way in recent weeks.

“A combination of a softer pound and rallying heavyweight oil stocks helped lift the FTSE to a fresh closing high on Thursday,” said Lawler.

“After starting the year in pretty bade shape, falling sharply for the first two months, the FTSE has just got on with what it needed to do, slowly clawing back the lost ground.”

Corporate news

  • AstraZeneca – has seen its share price lift in the last few weeks, and it will be hoping to keep the rally going when it announces results today
  • Hikma Pharmaceuticals – has a trading announcement
  • Dunelm – has hired Compass executive Laura Carr as its new chief financial officer

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