he FTSE 100 was set for quiet session today despite hopes of another round of megamergers between corporate giants.
It emerged this morning that Microsoft had approached Pinterest for a potential takeover of the $51 billion social media company as part of the giant’s bid to get more social media players onto its cloud computing platform.
Microsoft’s division hosting cloud computing has given it a new lease of life as companies seek alternatives to Amazon’s AWS platform and it is actively considering takeovers thanks to the surge in its share price since Covid. It is now worth $1.83 trillion.
While the talks are no longer ongoing, the news, reported in the Financial Times, will spark hopes that some corners of Big Tech are still looking at deals despite the US government’s antipathy towards further consolidation. Microsoft bought LinkedIn, Minecraft and GitHub in recent years.
The FTSE was set to open flat today after being held back by the strong pound in later trading on Wednesday. IG Index traders have priced in a gain of just 3.2 points at 6517.6, although it could go higher, given around 77% of the platform’s traders are “long” of that – meaning they are betting it will increase.
Trading in Asia was quiet today as China and others were closed for public holidays. Hong Kong managed a 0.45% gain by the close.
That was despite US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell committing again to support the economy yesterday, with stimulus measures staying in place until the US is well out of the Covid pandemic.
Much will depend on the price of commodities such as copper, which have been strong this week, driving strong gains yesterday in Anglo American, Glencore and Rio Tinto. If copper, zinc and others pause for breath today, those stocks could struggle to keep hold of the 3-5% jumps they made.
Oil hit new 13 month highs, so BP and Shell will be under the spotlight.
Markets could react later to weekly ADP unemployment claims data in the US. Analysts expect it to come in at 757,000, down on 779,000 the previous week, taking continues claims to 4.49 million
Another big mover, Ocado will be closely watched for signs of a rally after falling 7% yesterday on the back of negative sentiment from analysts at HSBC. Following Ocado’s recent results, HSBC fretted that it had not won any new partners in the past year.
Ocado has countered that Covid restrictions had made it hard to pitch to them, which could suggest to bargain hunters that it will see a surge in pent up demand from customers as the vaccine is rolled out and the pandemic eases.
Inevitable news that London lost its crown as Europe’s premier share trading location will be met with anguish by Remainers. Amsterdam has taken over following Brexit rules banning EU-based financial institutions trading in London.
While it will be seen as a loss of kudos for the UK, Brexiters will counter that it doesn’t matter that Euronext Amsterdam and the Dutch arms of CBOE Europe and Turquoise saw a more than fourfold increase of business scooped up from London. They argue that the location of trading is irrelevant because it carries little tax revenue for the host nation.
— to www.standard.co.uk