May 23, 2013
City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open down 125 points from yesterday's close of 6,840, after US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered his highly-anticipated speech to Congress last night.
He said tightening monetary policy or raising interest rates too soon would hinder recovery in the US as it continues to struggle with high levels of unemployment and government spending cuts.
Bernanke also cited concerns of the nation's "fiscal drag" on the economy.
His comments sent the S&P 500 down by 1.1%.
Asian equities also retreated this morning with Tokyo's Topix falling to its lowest point since March 2011.
On the UK economic news front today, the Index of Services results are out from the Office for National Statistics. The figures show the monthly movements in gross value added for the service industries, which account for around 75% of UK gross domestic product (GDP).
The latest UK GDP figures on output, income and expenditure will also be released.
In UK company news, beverage giant SABMiller ramped up annual revenue after strong growth in developing markets, and as lager volumes grew in all divisions except North America. Group revenue increased to $34.48bn in the 12 months March 31st from $31.4bn a year earlier. Adjusted pre-tax profit climbed to $5.6bn from $5.1bn before.
Wood Group, the FTSE 100 energy services giant, has announced its PSN business has scored a contract to deliver operations and maintenance services to Hess Corporation's Baldpate production platform in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, under a new five-year agreement.
Pearson, the FTSE 100-listed publishing and education firm, on Thursday announced plans to shake up its organisational structure and leadership team in an effort to tap into new growth opportunities. The group will organise itself around three key lines of business - school, high education and professional - and three main geographies - North America, growth and core.