Belfast Telegraph

Markets quiet ahead of Bank of England rates decision

The Bank of England announces its latest interest rate decision on Thursday.

Markets were relatively quiet on Monday as traders awaited the upcoming interest rate decision from the Bank of England.

The FTSE 100 closed the session 0.46 points lower, remaining at the 7,700 mark it reached by the end of last week.

On Thursday, the Bank of England will announce its latest interest rate decision, with analysts widely expecting the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to raise the benchmark rate to 0.75%.

Traders are also poised for a raft of updates from banks including Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Standard Chartered.

In currencies markets, sterling was up 0.3% against the dollar at 1.314, and was up 0.07% against the euro at 1.122 in late afternoon.

Oil prices rose amid fears about supply levels, with planned sanctions for Iran looming over the market.

In afternoon trading, Brent crude was up 0.8% at 74.917.

Ladbrokes owner GVC Holdings became the top riser on the FTSE 100 after it confirmed plans for a joint venture with MGM Resorts, helping the gaming group take advantage of a burgeoning sports betting market in the US.

GVC and New York-listed MGM have agreed to pump 100 million US dollars (£76 million) each into the business, which will have headquarters in a “major US technology hub” and will have a board of directors with equal representation from each firm. Shares closed 59p higher at 1,154p.

“GVC have been expanding via acquisitions in recent years and the latest move comes ahead of the American football season, which kicks off in September,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets.

“In May, a US supreme court ruling paved the way for sports gambling to be legalised, and triggered a wave of interest in the US market from overseas companies.”

The publisher of the Mirror and Express newspapers swung to a half-year loss after a slowdown in local advertising forced it to write down the value of its regional titles, knocking shares by 2.7p to 70.1p.

Reach – formerly known as Trinity Mirror – reported a £113.5 million statutory pre-tax loss in the first half of the year, having logged profits of £38.2 million a year earlier.

Shares in Hiscox jumped by 7% or 107p to 1,580p when the insurance firm unveiled a rise in profits, having navigated eye-watering costs on the back of multiple natural disasters in 2017.

For the six months ended June 30, Hiscox’s profit before tax was 163.6 million US dollars (£124.8 million), up 27% year-on-year from 129.1 million US dollars (£98.5 million).

The owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks, CYBG, has experienced little reprieve amid heightened competition in the mortgage market and could now be on track for a full-year loss, an analyst has warned.

CYBG’s interim results showed a reduction in mortgage drawdowns in the three months to June 30 due to lower applications earlier in the year. Shares closed 0.8p lower at 337p.

Foxtons’ shares shot up by 9% or 4.4p to 52p despite the firm saying it had swung to a loss amid a slowdown in the London housing market.

The London-focused estate agent reported group revenues fell to £53 million for the half-year ended June 30, down 9% year-on-year from £58.5 million.

The firm swung to a £2.5 million loss for the period, as compared to a pre-tax profit of £3.8 million for the same six months in 2017.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were GVC Holdings up 59p to 1,154p, Vodafone Group up 6.5p to 186.5p, St James’s Place up 28p to 1,216.5p and Smurfit Kappa Group up 48p to 3,124p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Sage Group down 33.2p to 612.8p, Pearson down 27.4p to 930p, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust down 14p to 535p and Taylor Wimpey down 3.85p to 172.5p.

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