UK stocks are expected to open slightly lower this morning, following mixed trade in Asia overnight and ahead of a quieter start to the week on the economic data side.
Most Asian stocks fell, as losses in Japanese equities on a stronger yen offset gains in Chinese shares after data showed producer prices posted their first gain since September 2013.
US stocks edged higher on Friday, as gains in crude oil that boosted energy shares offset a decline in biotechnology shares. Gap Inc. shares fell 14% after the struggling clothing chain posted disappointing sales.
UK stocks climbed on Friday, led by commodity producers and lenders, extending a second weekly gain for the FTSE 100 Index. Anglo American Plc, Glencore Plc and Rio Tinto Group were each up more than 2.8%. Standard Chartered Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc climbed 1.5% or more, pacing gains among lenders.
The fallout from the Panama leaks showed no sign of abating as Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to provide more transparency over his wealth and European officials pledged measures to require companies to report their offshore bank accounts. Cameron will face lawmakers on Monday as he seeks to draw a line under the crisis stemming from information about the use of offshore tax havens leaked from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Opinion polls show as many as one in three UK voters are undecided about whether they will vote and if they would back leaving or staying in the European Union at the June referendum, spurring debate about what a low turnout would mean for the result and for the pound. Developments that could impact sterling in coming months are surveys on voting intentions, the selection of the official “in” and “out” campaign groups, the refugee crisis and political developments in the EU.