FTSE 100 Index Confined To Narrow Ranges Ahead Of UK Inflation Data

UK equities were confined to narrow ranges on Monday with a rally in oil prices and Sterling retreat helping to propel the FTSE 100 index into positive territory.

The UK index opened slightly lower in cautious trading with some concerns following the weekend G20 meetings, although overall selling interest was limited.

The FTSE index opened around 20 points lower before gradually regaining ground during the morning session.

Prime Minister May’s office confirmed that Article 50 would be invoked on March 29th. There were also denials that the government would look to call a snap general election in an attempt to undermine SNP support.

In response, EU Council President Tusk stated that draft Brexit guidelines would be presented to other EU states within 48 hours and guidelines on the mandate for Chief Negotiator Barnier would likely be drawn up within 4-6 weeks.

Sterling moved lower following the Article 50 announcement with GBP/USD back below 1.2400 which provided some support to UK equities.

Energy prices remained under pressure in European trading on Monday with Brent retreating to test support close to $51.00.

Wall Street stocks opened slightly lower, although narrow ranges dominated with rhetoric from Fed officials not having a significant market impact.

There was a recovery in oil prices later in the US session on hopes that OPEC would renew the productions cuts, although there were reports that support would also be needed from non-OPEC members. Overall commodity prices were mixed and provided no clear lead to the UK index, although the mining sector overall was slightly lower.

The index edged into positive territory, although overall price movements were limited.

At the close, there was a gain of 4.85 points and 0.07% at 7,429.81 and a third successive fresh record closing high.

The latest inflation data will be watched closely on Tuesday with UK equities liable to weaken if there is a higher than expected release with markets expecting a headline year-on-year CPI inflation reading of 2.1% from 2.0% previously.

FTSE 100 Index 4-hour Chart

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Tim is a contributing author to EconomicCalendar.com. He is an economist and has been involved in financial markets for over 20 years as an analyst. He specialises in global economic trends, macro policy and central banks. Extensive knowledge, experience and data mining is used to anticipate trends in equities, bonds and forex with a contrarian slant. He is a graduate of the University of York with a degree in Economics/Econometrics.