City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open up seven points from yesterday's close of 5,713, ahead of today's European Central Bank policy meeting, which investors are hoping will see leaders opt for further stimulus action following comments by the bank's President, Mario Draghi, made last week in which he pledged to do everything necessary to keep the single currency alive.
A policy announcement is also due out today from the Bank of England, alongside US jobless claims data and US July factory orders.
The Competition Commission (CC) announced on Thursday morning that Sky's position in the pay-TV movies market does not adversely affect competition, something which the satellite broadcaster's owner, British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), has welcomed. Sky Movies, which offers the first pay movies of all the biggest Hollywood studios, "is not a sufficient driver of subscribers' choice of pay-TV provider to give Sky such an advantage over its rivals when competing for pay-TV subscribers as to harm competition," the CC said in a press release on its website.
Temporary power and temperature control group Aggreko delivered a strong performance in its first half, with its order book at record levels, and said it continues to expect another year of 'good growth' in 2012. Group revenues increased by 15% from £637m to £734m in the six months to June 30th, up 16% on an underlying basis (adjusted for currency movements, pass-through fuel, the Poit Energia acquisition, the London Olympics and the Asian Games).
RSA Insurance Group claimed a solid performance in a challenging environment in the first half of 2012, even though profits fell by more than a third. Profit before tax declined 38% to £233m in the six months to the end of June from £376m in the first half of 2011. Net written premiums edged up 2.0% to £4,276m from £4,188m the year before. That represents a slowdown from the first quarter, when net written premiums were up 5.0% to £2.2bn.
Credit checking giant Experian topped the FTSE Thursday after reporting full-year sales growth across all its global markets, particularly in Latin and North America. In the year to end-March, the company saw revenues from continuing activities rise six per cent to 4.7bn dollars, with earnings before interest and tax up seven per cent to 1.25bn dollars. [9 May '13]
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