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.
The interim deal between Iran and six world powers hammered out in the small hours of November 24th to curb the former's nuclear programme is a long way from perfect, but it meets two key tests. The first is that it will extend Iran's so-called "critical capability"?the time needed for it to produce one or several nuclear devices following a decision to weaponise?by many months compared with the trajectory it was on before the agreement. Secondly, it forms the basis for a mor [24 Nov '13]
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