FTSE 100 to head lower as uncertainty persists ahead of Christmas break

Threats by Donald Trump to veto the new US stimulus package overnight and ongoing Brexit negotiations have left traders bereft of direction on Wednesday

The FTSE 100 is expected to open lower on Wednesday morning as traders contended with yet more uncertainty on both sides of the Atlantic on the last full trading day before Christmas.

The FTSE 100 is expected to open 22 points lower after finishing Tuesday’s session 37 points higher at 6,453.

Despite an initial bounce earlier this week following news that the US Congress passed a US$900bn stimulus package, the fate of the measures has been thrown into doubt overnight after Donald Trump threatened to veto the bill, saying the direct payments of US$600 to American citizens are too low and provisions in the spending package for foreign aid and other areas are too high.

As around US$1.4 trillion in government funding is also attached to the bill, a Trump veto could force the US government to shut down on December 28 if legislators cannot override his veto with a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress, making managing the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis even more difficult.

The news of Trump’s outburst followed a mixed session on Wall Street overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down 0.67% at 30,015 while the S&P 500 fell 0.21% to 3,687. The Nasdaq was the positive outlier, rising 0.51% to close at a record high of 12,807.

Asian markets were also positive on Wednesday morning, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 up 0.33% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.52%.

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond Brexit negotiations are once again going into overtime in a final bid to break a deadlock over a trade deal before the transition period ends in just over a week. However, it has also been suggested that talks could continue into the new year if necessary, although this would require a transition extension which so far the UK has refused to consider publicly.

Fishing, dispute resolution and competition rules remain key sticking points in the negotiations, with any breakthroughs or pitfalls likely to cause movement for the pound.

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