The FTSE is expected to nudge higher this morning as all eyes turn to Jackson Hole ahead of a much-anticipated speech from US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell.
Markets are waiting to see if the Fed chief will announce plans for tapering monetary policy, with some top bank officials calling for a move within months.
The Fed has previously claimed it will begin to lower the pace of its bond-buying programme once it has made progress towards its target levels of employment and inflation.
“An announcement on tapering is highly likely to come before the end of the year, something even the doves on the committee seem to agree on,” said National Australia Bank’s Tapas Strickland.
“What will be as much, if not more important than the start date will be how quickly the Fed decides to taper and whether the Fed attempts to de-link the market’s perception that tapering ‘starts the clock ticking’ on rate hikes.”
5 things to start your day
1) British Airways plans budget airline to take on Ryanair and easyJet: Airline may face battle with unions with plan to restart short-haul flights from Gatwick that could use existing planes and staff.
2) Warrington council lends £150m to Hut Group’s billionaire founder: The loan is secured against assets including various commercial properties, some of which are still being built.
3) Insurance firm pays $10m to take carbon directly out of the air: Swiss Re is trying to boost its environmental credentials by paying for CO2 to be captured and stored in Iceland.
4) Shortages push up HGV driver pay by a tenth: ‘Staggering’ 10.7pc pay rise for lorry drivers is more than 13 times the 0.8pc average across all jobs between February and July.
5) Britain goes global as it reforms post-Brexit data protection laws: The Government estimates £67bn worth of data-enabled exports from the UK to the US that could be better oiled with reforms to privacy rules.
What happened overnight
Asian stock markets were mixed on Friday as investors awaited more guidance on the US Federal Reserve’s easing plans.
The moves in Asia follow a pullback on Wall Street after the deadly attacks on Afghan civilians and US troops at the Kabul airport on Thursday.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.3pc to 27,651.51 while the Kospi in South Korea added 0.3pc to 3,139.00. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was 0.6pc higher at 25,559.56.
The Shanghai Composite advanced 0.4pc to 3,516.13. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1pc to 7,480.80. Benchmarks in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia rose while Singapore slipped.
Coming up today
- Corporate: Sopheon, BigBlu Broadband, BBGI Global Infrastructure (Interim)
- Economics: Personal income and personal consumer expenditure, goods trade balance (US)