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FTSE 100 Falls Ahead Of BoE Rate Decision

U.K. stocks fell sharply on Thursday as lingering worries about a global recession prompted traders to book some profits after sharp gains the previous day.

Investors also await the interest rate announcement from the Bank of England.

Economists expect the bank to retain its record low interest rate and to expand asset purchase program to GBP 635 billion from GBP 435 billion.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was down 142 points, or 2.51 percent, at 5,547 after
climbing 4.5 percent on Wednesday.

Electricals retailer Dixons Carphone rose over 1 percent. The company has warned that it would not meet its forecast for 2019-20 profit and debt.

AstraZeneca tumbled 3.7 percent despite news that the company's Lokelma has been approved in Japan for the treatment of patients with hyperkalaemia.

British Land Company declined 4 percent. The property development and investment company said its underlying earnings for the year ending March 31, 2020 are currently expected to be broadly in line with previous expectations.

The company also said that it is unable to comment further on the outlook due to the ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19.

Weir Group, a company engaged in engineering businesses, lost 3.6 percent after withdrawing its 2020 guidance.

In economic releases, U.K. retail sales declined unexpectedly in February, data from the Office for National Statistics showed.

Retail sales dropped 0.3 percent on a monthly basis in February, in contrast to a 1.1 percent rise in January and confounding expectations for an increase of 0.2 percent.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales volume decreased 0.5 percent, reversing a 1.8 percent increase a month ago. Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent fall.

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