London stocks were expected to rally on Thursday’s open, building on a positive Asian session as investors watch the latest US inflation data and a policy statement from the European Central Bank.
The FTSE 100 opened 15 pips higher at 7,096.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: “This week’s stock market performance seems to have been more or less dictated by how much growth we can see in today’s May CPI report, as well as how the European Central Bank sees the current outlook for the European economy in the next few months.
“US markets ended yesterday’s session in the background across the board as investors were tuned in to important data and central bank information, with European markets opening slightly higher from where they left off last night.
“Until recently, the ECB was faced with the prospect of having to talk about the recent rise in long-term bond yields in the block, but the decline seen in the past few days seemed to give the bank some time in this regard.
“With lower yields in the US and the success of central bankers in convincing investors that the recent price surge is temporary, the pressure on the ECB to look at the prospect of a possible PEPP phase-out schedule has eased somewhat.”
In corporate news, the abrupt shift towards online car purchases during the pandemic helped. Auto Trader limit annual losses and recover dividends.
The company reported a 37% drop in pre-tax profit to £ 157.4 million, while revenues fell 29% to £ 262.8 million. A dividend of 5p per share has been declared.
In the coming year, Auto Trader said it expects strong single-digit growth over the full 2020 average revenue per retailer and 2020 operating profit margins.
Elsewhere, Patrick Drahi, a billionaire telecom deal, bought a 12.1% stake in the company. BT capitalize on the company’s involvement in faster broadband rollout in the UK.
Drahi bought 1.2 billion BT shares through Altice UK, which he owns wholly. Altice is Drahi’s telecommunications group and Altice UK is spun off from the other companies in the group.
Based on the share price at Wednesday’s close, Drahi’s stake in BT will be valued at around £ 2.2bn.