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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: Stocks to nudge up after Wall St gains

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to edge up at the open on Thursday following a solid performance on Wall Street. The FTSE 100 was called to open up around five points.

Investors will be mulling the latest data out of China, which showed that the consumer price index for January fell 0.8% year-on-year, versus consensus expectations for a 0.5% decline. It marked the biggest contraction since 2009 after the financial crisis.

On the month, consumer price index rose 0.3%, versus expectations for a 0.4% increase.

In UK corporate news, consumer goods giant Unilever announced a €1.5bn share buyback as it reported lower annual profit and sales and said it expected a "modest improvement" in operating margin in 2024.

Pre-tax profit at the maker of Dove soap and Cornetto ice-cream fell to €9.3bn last year from €10.3bn. Turnover came in at €9.7bn from €10.75bn.

"We expect underlying sales growth for 2024 to be within our multi-year range of 3% to 5%, with more balance between volume and price," the company said.

Catering giant Compass said it delivered a strong start to its financial year with organic revenue growth currently running ahead of full-year guidance.

The company, which is targeting a high single-digit increase in organic revenues for the 12 months to 30 September 2024, said first-quarter organic sales were up 11.7%.

Compass said like-for-like volumes were better than anticipated, especially in its Business & Industry division, which accounts for a third of group revenues.

SSE reaffirmed its 2024 adjusted earnings per share guidance of more than 150p, despite reporting operational challenges including lower-than-planned renewables output amid adverse weather conditions and operational disruptions.

The firm said in a trading update that its strategic focus remained on its 'Net Zero Acceleration Programme Plus', with progress reported on investments in transmission, renewables, and flexibility projects.

SSE Renewables output over the first three quarters was around 15% below plan, or 10% below plan relative to the full year, with January seeing continued mixed weather conditions for the renewables fleet.

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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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