London pre-open: Small gains expected early on


LONDON (ShareCast) - UK stocks are expected to open with small gains on Monday, tracking a decent performance from Asian markets overnight and a strong finish on Wall Street on Friday.

City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open 23 points higher than yesterday's close of 6,571.68.

"These minor gains have led many to suggest that the correction seen since the start of the year is over, which is something I'm not fully convinced of yet," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.

It's set to be another busy week for financial markets with the focus mostly on central bankers across the globe, as investors await speeches from new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

Today, however, looks pretty quiet with a shortage of corporate earnings and very little on the macro-economic calendar, except for the Sentix investor confidence index for the Eurozone which is expected to slip from 11.9 to 10.1 in February.

Stocks to watch

Infrastructure investment group HICL Infrastructure said that its portfolio performed as expected in the third quarter and that the investment pipeline remains healthy. The firm said that there are a "number of factors" that are likely to have a positive impact on net asset value when the portfolio is valued at the end of the year.

Genus (LSE: GNS.L - news) has completed the acquisition of Brazilian joint venture Genetiporc do Brasil LTDA for 19m real. The acquisition was funded by Genus and its joint venture partner, Agroceres, subscribing for additional equity pro rata to their existing equity ownership.

Bermuda-based insurance underwriter Catlin lifted full-year gross written premiums and said it looks ahead to future trading with confidence. In what it described as strong financial results for 2013, Catlin booked a 27% increase in pre-tax profit for the year to $432m.


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