(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are set to open flat on Friday, continuing to miss out on the AI-driven gains seen in equity markets across the globe.

IG says futures indicate the FTSE 100 to open down 1.7 points at 7,682.79 on Friday. The index of London large-caps closed up 21.98 points, 0.3%, at 7,684.49 on Thursday.

"Whilst records have been breaking all over the place after Nvidia’s barnstorming fourth quarter update, things have looked distinctly tepid on both the FTSE 100 and 250," AJ Bell head of financial analysis Danni Hewson observed on Thursday.

"If only Arm hadn't plumped for a New York listing. Its upbeat trajectory might have helped deliver an AI-fuelled boost," she considered.

In the US on Thursday, Wall Street rallied, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 1.2%, the S&P 500 2.1% - both notching new record highs - and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 3.0%, closing just shy of its all-time high.

Following an impressive set of results, Nvidia shares soared 16%, adding about USD250 billion to its market capitalisation, setting a new daily record increase.

The AI-fuelled optimism helped stocks shake off hawkish comments from several US Federal Reserve officials.

"I am going to need to see at least another couple more months of inflation data before I can judge whether January was a speed bump or a pothole," Fed Governor Christopher Waller told a conference in Minneapolis in prepared remarks.

He said the Fed's rate-setting committee can afford to "wait a little longer to ease monetary policy," given the recent rise in inflation, and the continued strength of the US economy and the labour market.

The dollar was mixed against major currencies in early exchanges in Europe.

Sterling was quoted at USD1.2663 early Friday, higher than USD1.2641 at the London equities close on Thursday. The euro traded at USD1.0826, higher than USD1.0817. Against the yen, the dollar was quoted at JPY150.64, up versus JPY150.53.

In further disappointing news for the UK, consumer confidence has stalled after months of positivity as stubborn inflation led households to limit their spending, figures suggest.

GfK's long-running Consumer Confidence Index fell two points to minus 21 in February, although the forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months remained unchanged and is 18 points higher than this time last year.

Meanwhile, in Asia on Friday, the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo closed up 2.2%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.6%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.1%.

Standard Chartered rose 2.7% in Hong Kong during afternoon trade.

The FTSE 100-listed, Asia-focused bank announced a new USD1 billion share buyback, as it reported a double-digit profit rise for 2023. In 2023, StanChart said it brought in operating income of USD18.02 billion, a 10% increase from USD16.32 billion a year before. Pretax profit increased 19% to USD5.09 billion from USD4.29 billion.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed up 0.4%.

In commodities, gold was quoted at USD2,018.97 an ounce early Friday, lower than USD2,022.91 on Thursday. Brent oil was trading at USD83.25 a barrel, a touch lower than USD83.33.

In Friday's corporate calendar, there will be half-year results from City of London Investment Group and annual results from Irish Residential Properties.

In the economic calendar on Friday, there's an economic growth print from Germany out shortly, with the German IFO business climate index at 09.00 GMT.

By Elizabeth Winter, Alliance News deputy news editor

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