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Important information: The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. This is a third-party news feed and may not reflect Fidelity’s views.

London pre-open: Small gains expected in shortened trading session

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were expected to rise slightly on Friday morning, though movements continue to be limited as volumes remain low in festive trading. The FTSE 100 is expected to open just five points higher than Thursday's close of 7.722.74, with markets likely to be stay rangebound - the index traded within a range of just 37 points on Thursday - in a shortened trading session for the London Stock Exchange.

Markets in the UK will close early at 1230 GMT on Friday. Germany's DAX and Austria's Wiener Börse will also be doing a half-day, while all major markets across Europe and the US remain open as usual.

Company news was thin on the ground again in London, as regulatory filings remain sparse between the Christmas and New Year's public holidays. The only notable announcements came from small caps Duke Royalty and Saietta Group.

Duke Royalty said in an update that it expected recurring cash revenue of £6.3m in its third quarter, representing a 12% increase year-on-year. It also announced an investment of CAD 8.6m (£5.1m) into its existing partner Creō-Tech Industrial Group, bringing its total exposure to CAD 27.1m, with the investment intended for refinancing.

Saietta Group reported first-half group income of £1.4m, alongside a gross profit of £0.1m with a gross margin of 9%, and a loss from continuing operations of £7.9m before tax. Operational achievements included securing significant orders from AYRO and restructuring agreements with ConMet, while developments since the half-year ended included securing a substantial order for its RFT eDrive system in India and raising £7.14m to support growth.

In economic news, UK house prices fell by a higher-than-expected 1.8% year on year in December, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Friday. Expectations were for a 1.4% fall. Prices remained flat on a monthly basis.

"Housing market activity was weak throughout 2023," said Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner. "The total number of transactions has been running at (about) 10% below pre-pandemic levels over the past six months, with those involving a mortgage down even more (about 20%), reflecting the impact of higher borrowing costs," he added.

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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