The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee publishes its monthly decision on interest rates at midday. Many market watchers are betting on a ‘no move’ decision.
“We are not expecting a rate rise,” one expert told BBC Radio 5 Live earlier. “We are expecting two members, most likely, will vote to hike rates, but the majority won't, so rates will be on hold."
The pound was steady overnight at $1.3224 against the dollar while the euro-dollar pair was at $1.1850 (7am) though in Asian trading the euro surged 10 pips higher.
While the weaker dollar is highly supportive for blue-chip US exporters like Boeing – the aircraft maker’s shares are up more than 50% year-to-date – the rising US stocks picture versus a plummeting home currency means highly nuanced moves from the US Federal Reserve.
- UK FTSE 100 7,411.43 -0.16%
- Dow 22,016.24 +0.24%
- S&P 500 2,477.57 +0.05%
- Nasdaq 6,362.65 +0.00%
- Nikkei 225 20,029.98 -0.25%
- DAX 12,181.48 -0.57%
- CAC 40 5,107.25 -0.39%
- Gold 1,268.40 -0.78%
- Oil WTI 49.40 -0.36%
Next sales drop 7.4%
We start with retail high street bellwether player Next. Next says full price sales in the second quarter dipped -7.4% while year-to-date full price sales are down -1.2%. However Next’s catalogue business Directory saw second quarter sales climb 11.4%.
The high street stalwart is broadly leaving profit guidance intact though total full price sales guidance is upped slightly from -3.5% to -3% for the full year.
“In our January 2017 trading statement," Next said this morning, "we advised that we intended to distribute surplus cash to shareholders by way of four quarterly special dividends of 45p each. This is still our intention.”
Aviva operating profit surges 11%
A brief look at Aviva’s interim numbers, just out: operating profit is up 11% to £1,465m while operating earnings per share is 15% higher at 25.8p. In terms of growth, Aviva claims a 27% rise in new business to £596m pushing total group assets to £475bn (full year 2016 £450bn).
“For the fourth year in a row,” says chief exec Mark Wilson, “we have grown operating profit, up 11%, reflecting positive performances across Aviva’s businesses world-wide. As a result, we are increasing the interim dividend per share by 13% to 8.4p.”
Cobham first half profits improve
Finally, defence player Cobham claims operating profits of £34.7m for the six months to June versus the £12m loss of a year ago. Cobham says its numbers are in line with expectations with the full year outlook unchanged – though it warns of “a wide range of potential outcomes for 2017”.
Orders are 4% up while there’s a cut in underlying operating profit from (likely) increased costs from its Advanced Electronic Solutions arm. However Cobham’s shares remain 18% down year-to-date at 134.00p.
Chief exec David Lockwood says Cobham has “differentiated technologies and know-how and leading positions in a number of attractive markets - this gives us confidence in Cobham's future." However the company has issued several profits warnings; its latest £500m rights issue came off in May.
Breaking news: The CIPD claims female bosses from FTSE 100 companies were paid on average £2.6m compared to £4.5m for men. Deliveroo is taking steps, including a helmet app, to protect its workers from violence.