The FTSE 100 is expected to open higher this morning even as the spread of the omicron strain of the coronavirus keeps traders in a cautious mood.
Investors are braced for another week of volatility after concerns about the new variant led to the blue chip index's worst month for more than a year.
It shed more than 2pc in November, with airline stocks hit particularly hard. This morning the Footsie is expected to open 48 points, or about 0.7pc higher at 7,170.
Traders will also be keeping an eye on a speech by Ben Broadbent, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, for hints about whether an interest rates rise is on the cards this month.
5 things to start your day
1) Bank of England poised to loosen mortgage lending rules: Officials consider softening affordability checks as critics warn it risks housing bubble.
2) Recruiters struggle to recruit recruiters amid ‘Great Resignation’: Headhunters widen their search for staff amid widespread shortages
3) Crackdown on crypto firms needed to ‘wreck’ ransomware, says ex-GCHQ boss: Robert Hannigan said there is need for ‘greater cryptocurrency regulation’ to make the hacking method a ‘poor business model’.
4) No progress made on closing gender pay gap in 25 years, warns IFS: Findings suggest little advance in wage gulf when accounting for ‘rapid improvement’ in women’s education.
5) Too few mechanics for UK’s electric car ambitions, warns Halfords boss: Graham Stapleton said he is ‘very concerned’ that sufficient steps are not being taken to address the ‘skills gap’.
What happened overnight
Asian markets broadly fell in morning trading on Monday, tracking uncertainty over the Omicron variant of Covid-19 as well as disappointing US jobs data and the future of Chinese tech firms on Wall Street. Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Australia fell in morning trading.