London pre-open: FTSE to play catch up after strong gains in Europe

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LONDON (ShareCast) - The UK stock market is expected to open strongly on Tuesday morning (Frankfurt: TDM.F - news) as traders return to their desks in a bullish mood following an impressive performance on European bourses the day before.

City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open around 24 points higher than Friday's close of 6,815.75.

While UK markets were closed on Monday for a Bank Holiday, indices across the continent posted strong gains in the wake of the European elections at the weekend.

Italy's FTSE Mib in particular surged nearly 4% after incumbent President Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party managed to secure a sound victory in the European Parliament elections. This, according to analysts at UniCredit (Berlin: CRIH.BE - news) , is "undoubtedly positive news, particularly in terms of the boost it might provide to the reform process".

Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst from CMC Markets, said that the FTSE is expected to "play catch up" today, with developments in Ukraine also helping sentiment despite Ukrainian forces launching air strikes on pro-Russian militants along the eastern border.

"The weekend vote in the Ukraine appears to have been one major catalyst for yesterday's strong European session, with the new Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko making conciliatory noises towards Russia, as well as the European Union in an attempt to bring together the various factions in an attempt to de-escalate recent tensions," he explained.

Lloyds to float TSB

Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed it will imminently float around 25% of the shares of its TSB subsidiary and has to list the entire business by the end of 2015. "The decision to proceed with an initial public offering of TSB is an important further step for the group as we act to meet our commitments to the European Commission," said Chief Executive António Horta-Osório.

AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN - news) has hailed its future as an "independent company" after US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (NYSE: PFE - news) withdrew its takeover bid for the Anglo-Swedish group. Following continued rejections from AstraZeneca's board, Pfizer said on Monday that it "does not intend to make an offer".

Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW.L - news) announced that drilling of one of its majority-owned wells offshore Norway failed to meet targets. Exploration well 31/2-21S on licence 550 did not encounter reservoir quality sandstones in the main Upper Jurassic target. It did encounter reservoir quality sandstones in the secondary targets but these intervals were said to be "water wet".

Soft drinks maker AG Barr announced Chairman Ronnie Hanna will retire in December this year as it increased revenue by 5.2% in the 15 weeks to May 11th. John Nicolson will assume the role of Deputy Chairman with immediate effect and will take on the role of Chairman when Hanna steps down at the end of the year.

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