FTSE 100 flat as investors await BoE rate decision

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

By Shashank Nayar

(Reuters) -London’s FTSE 100 treaded water on Thursday as investors held back from making big bets ahead of the Bank of England’s rate setting meeting for cues on its asset purchase plans.

The Bank of England is expected to keep its huge support for Britain’s economy running at full speed later in the day. However, it might also start to lay out its plan for how it will eventually reverse its stimulus.

“BoE policymakers are likely to emphasise that they continue to expect the current period of rapid growth and surging inflation to give way to much slower growth and subdued inflation beginning in late 2022,” said Berenberg Bank economist Kallum Pickering.

The blue-chip was up 0.01% at 7126.1 by 0845 GMT, with banks, oil stocks and precious and base metal miners down between 0.2% and 1.8%.

Lloyd’s Banking Group was the top percentage loser on the main index after Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) downgraded its stock to “sell”.

Limiting declines on the main index, British engine-maker Rolls-Royce (LON:) jumped 2.7% to the top of the FTSE 100, after saying it was on track to meet its forecasts for 2021.

“The company (Rolls-Royce), which makes more money the more long-haul flights take place, is suffering a long COVID-19 recovery as international air travel remains depressed,” said James Andrews, senior personal finance expert at money.co.uk.

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“But, with share prices less than a third of their 2018 peak, several experts rate the stock as a strong medium to long-term prospect.”

The FTSE 100 has gained 10.2% this year on support from dovish central bank policies, although investors have started to question the longevity of such policies due to rising inflation in the UK.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index rose 0.1%,

Among other stocks, WPP (LON:), the world’s biggest advertising company, was among the top gainers, rising 1.6% after saying its underlying net sales jumped 19.3% in the second quarter, beating expectations.

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