The Bank of England policymakers kept the record-low interest rate unchanged, sticking to the forward guidance, and decided to refrain from any action that risks recovery. The nine-member rate-setting committee headed by Governor Mark Carney retained the interest rate at a historic low 0.50 percent and the quantitative easing programme unchanged at GBP 375 billion.
Aviva Plc's shares climbed around 10 percent in London trading after the British life and health insurer reported a surge in fiscal 2013 pre-tax profit. The result mainly reflects the absence of 2.9 billion pounds loss related to the write-down of Aviva USA unit in the prior year. Premiums declined from last year. The company also announced higher final dividend.
Balfour Beatty Plc Thursday reported a sharp fall in full-year 2013 pre-tax profit and posted a loss after tax, citing challenging economic conditions in several markets and operational issues in the UK construction business. Looking ahead, the infrastructure services company expects to make modest progress in 2014.
Temporary power services provider Aggreko Plc. Thursday reported lower profit for the full year, amid lower revenues from Military and Japan as well as the absence of last year's Olympics revenues. However, the company decided to return 200 million pounds to shareholders as it reduced debt. The stock is gaining over 5 percent on the London Stock Exchange.
The Bank of England's monetary policy meeting is likely to be a 'non-event', with policymakers expected to pledge a low interest rate regime and refrain from any action that risks recovery. The nine-member rate-setting committee is expected to retain the interest rate at a historic low 0.50 percent and its quantitative easing programme unchanged at GBP 375 billion.
The U.K. service sector continued to expand for a 14th month in February, supported by another marked increase in new business, data from Markit Economics showed Wednesday.The headline Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply/Markit Business Activity Index fell marginally to 58.2 in February from 58.3 in January. That was the lowest reading since last June.
Standard Chartered Plc reported Wednesday that its fiscal 2013 profit declined, for the first time in over a decade, hurt by margin pressures and lower non interest income. The company expects the first half of 2014 to be challenging and a modest growth in the fiscal year. However, the Asia-focused lender announced higher dividend.
U.K. insurer and pension fund manager Legal & General Group Plc reported Wednesday a higher profit in its fiscal 2013, benefited mainly by improved net cash generation. The company also announced higher dividend. Chief Executive Nigel Wilson said, "Our business has continued to perform strongly in the first two months of 2014 but external risks to the broader economy and markets remain."
Recruitment firm Michael Page International Plc. Wednesday reported increased profit for the full year, amid a marginal rise in revenues. The company's gross profit, a key metric for the industry, fell and it said the strength and timing of any recovery in world economic markets is uncertain. The stock is down nearly 3 percent in early morning trade.
Shop prices in the U.K. eased for the tenth straight month in February, and at the fastest pace on record, as food inflation dropped sharply and retailers resorted to heavy discounting on apparels and electrical goods, a report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed Wednesday.