FTSE opens on high note

The FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 17-19 points, or 0.3 percent on Monday, according to financial bookmakers, extending Friday’s advance in tandem with gains on Wall Street and in Asia.

Strength in commodity issues was expected to be a feature as crude and metal prices held firm, with London copper hitting record highs on Monday, underpinned by a weaker dollar and positive fundamental outlook.

U.S. crude futures recovered slightly to trade above $89 a barrel after falling nearly 2 percent on Friday, though the focus remained firmly on Egypt’s political crisis.

The Egyptian government opened talks with the opposition at the weekend to resolve the country’s deepest crisis in 30 years, but it was far from certain the situation had been defused.

The blue-chip index ended up 14.04 points, or 0.2 percent, on Friday at 5,997.38, boosted by strength in financial stocks and miners as investors focussed on the positive aspects of mixed U.S. employment data.

January’s U.S. employment data showed job creation was weak, exacerbated by poor winter weather, but the unemployment rate fell, providing some comfort on the health of the world’s biggest economy.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 posted its best week in nine on Friday as investors rotated into defensive and lagging sectors in a move that traders believed could intensify in coming weeks.

Asian stocks clung to early gains on Monday as the U.S. job market showed further signs of recovery, led by advances in Japan , which has fared better than its regional peers in the recent selling spree.

On the domestic front, Prime Minister David Cameron ruled out big tax cuts at next month’s budget, confirming in a Sunday newspaper interview that his focus remained on reducing the budget deficit.

No important British economic data will be released on Monday, with the main focus for the week likely to be on the Bank of England interest rate decision, due at 12 p.m. on Thursday, although no change is expected again to monetary policy.

Across the Atlantic, following Friday’s January U.S. jobs report, investors will eye the January employment index and December consumer credit numbers, both due at 3 p.m. British time.
Source: Reuters

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