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London pre-open: Stocks seen up as investors eye Biden Covid package

(Sharecast News) – London stocks were set to rise at the open on Thursday amid expectations that Joe Biden is planning to announce a Covid-19 relief package.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 21 points higher at 6,766, with Biden set to unveil a $2 trillion relief bill, according to reports. This comes after Donald Trump was impeached for the second time, for inciting violence at the Capitol Hill riots.

CMC Markets analyst David Madden said: “Essentially, the markets have been in a holding pattern for the past three days as dealers have been waiting to hear from Mr Biden. To an extent, a large amount of positive news has been factored into stocks and commodities.

“At the end of last month, US lawmakers approved a $900 billion coronavirus relief package. Compromises had to be made across the political divide. In a few weeks, the Democrats will have full control of the US government so it will be in a position to enact change easily. Their majority in the Senate will be tiny but they will control the upper house nonetheless.”

In corporate news, Primark said it will lose an extra £355m in sales due under new restrictions to control the spread of Covid-19 in the UK.

The cut-price fashion chain’s owner Associated British Foods, said it now expected to lose £1.05bn in sales in the year to September, up from the £650m it revealed December 31, after the UK was placed on full lockdown and non-essential shops were closed.

“We now expect full year sales and adjusted operating profit for Primark to be somewhat lower than last year. We will continue to expand retail selling space,” the company said.

Tesco stuck to its guidance for annual results after a 6.8% increase in Christmas sales helped offset an £85m increase in Covid-19 related costs.

Retail operating profit is likely to be at least the same as in 2019-20 excluding the cost of repaying business rates relief, Tesco said. Like-for-like sales rose 5.4% in the six weeks to 9 January driven by a 6.3% increase in the UK and Ireland.

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