Thursday preview: Bank of England rate decision in the spotlight

by Louise Newman

Financial markets’ focus on Thursday would shift towards the Monetary Policy Committee’s announcement.
Consensus was for a 25 basis point interest rate hike in Bank Rate to 4.25%.

Feeding those expectations likely were data published the day before showing that the cost of living in the Uk reaccelerated unexpectedly in February to an annual rate of increase of 10.4%.

So too, recent calmer waters in global banking had led markets to expect that the Federal Reserve would hike rates by an identical amount the night before.

Nonetheless, not everyone was onboard with the consensus, including Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Tombs conceded that the decision would be “finely balanced” between raising rates and staying put.

However, he believed that financial stability concerns and recent slowdown in wage growth would ensure that a small majority on the MPC voted for no change.

He also believed that the underlying inflation trends were such that “the MPC still should be able to confidently predict that CPI inflation will fall sharply over the rest of this year-perhaps even back to the 2% target-steering them away from a significant further increase in Bank Rate.”

Thursday 23 March

INTERIM EX-DIVIDEND DATE

Close Brothers Group, Craneware, Finsbury Food Group, Fonix Mobile , Hargreaves Services, Thorpe (F.W.), Volution Group

QUARTERLY EX-DIVIDEND DATE

British American Tobacco, Vaalco Energy, Inc (DI), Wheaton Precious Metals Corp.NPV (CDI)

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

Continuing Claims (US) (12:30)

Current Account (US) (12:30)

Initial Jobless Claims (US) (12:30)

New Homes Sales (US) (14:00)

FINALS

Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd Com Shs (DI), Playtech, Pollen Street, Portmeirion Group, Safestyle UK , Sopheon

AGMS

Bankers Inv Trust, Bankmuscat (S.A.O.G) GDR (Reg S), Blackrock Throgmorton Trust, Crest Nicholson Holdings, Driver Group, Hardide, Hyundai Motor Company GDR (Reg S), IDOX, LPA Group, Zaim Credit Systems

UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

BoE Interest Rate Decision (12:00)

FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Jersey Electricity ‘A’ Shares

FINAL EX-DIVIDEND DATE

Chemring Group, CLS Holdings, Conduit Holdings Limited Com Shs (DI), Glanbia (CDI), HGCapital Trust, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Maven Income & Growth 3 VCT, MTI Wireless Edge Ltd., Nichols, OSB Group , Pearson, Schroders, XP Power Ltd. (DI)

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