London stocks were set for a positive start on Thursday after a solid session on Wall Street, which saw the Dow rally more than 500 points as investors welcomed the outcome of the mid-term elections.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 26 points higher at 7,143.
CMC Markets analyst David Madden said: “Last night, US stocks were given an extra lift by President Trump, when he said he hoped to work with Democrats on a number of issues like infrastructure and healthcare. Traders took this as a sign that both sides might be able to have a constructive relationship. Caterpillar, the heavy machinery company, benefitted from the speculation about an infrastructure boost.
“The tech sector was the standout performer as traders felt that President Trump might not be able to crackdown on the big tech stocks like Amazon. The move higher yesterday on the back of the midterms, was a welcomed addition to the rally that began at the end of last month.”
With the mid-terms out of the way, investors will shift their attention to the latest Federal Reserve policy announcement, which is due at 1900 GMT. The Fed is widely expected to leave rates on hold but market participants will be listening out for any clues as to what policy will look like next year.
On the UK data front, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said earlier that its house price balance fell to -10 last month from -2 in September, marking its lowest level since September 2012 and missing expectations for an unchanged reading.
The drop was attributed mostly to London and the South East, as prices continued to rise in other parts of the UK, with the strongest growth in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “Although the tone of much of the newsflow surrounding the housing market remains downbeat, this continues to disproportionately reflect developments in the south and east of England with the picture remaining rather more resilient in many other parts of the country. Uncertainty about the economic outlook on the back of the never-ending Brexit negotiations appears a key drag on sentiment according to respondents to the survey.
“Meanwhile, the announcement of the extension of Help to Buy, albeit in a narrower format, should continue to underpin the new build market in the near term. Whether it, alongside other measures recently announced including the lifting of the HRA cap, is sufficient to drive housing starts up to the government's 300,000 target over the coming years remains to be seen.”
In corporate news, AstraZeneca's product sales returned to growth in the third quarter as new cancer drugs especially began to make a noticeable impact on the top line.
Product sales increased 8% in the quarter to $5.27bn to lift revenue in the year to date to $15.28bn, up 4% on last year or 2% if currency swings are ignored.
Interim pre-tax profit at Autotrader rose 9% to £114.5m driven by strong adoption of new products and advertising packages by both retailers and manufacturers.
The company added that the strong first half meant revenue growth for the full year was likely to exceed previous guidance.
Revenue was up 7% to £176.8m and average revenue per retailer forecourt per month rose £152 to £1,826, driven by product and price growth, the company said.