What you need to know before the open

Today's top story: London house prices predicted to keep falling as market has worst month since 2009

Today's leader: A customs compromise is now May's only option

Ahead of today's interest rate decision and quarterly inflation report from the Bank of England, European markets are set to open higher. The FTSE 100 is predicted to open 17 points higher at 7,679, according to LCG, while Germany's Dax should open 51 points higher and France's Cac 40 up 11 points.

The pound generally held steady against the dollar in the previous session and throughout the night, as investors have waited for a signal from the Bank.

"No change in policy is expected, meaning that what the BoE says rather than does will drive trading in the pound," said Jasper Lawler at LCG.

"As long as the central bank keeps a rate hike on the table, potentially for August, then the pound could stage a recovery back towards $1.36."

Read more: All eyes on Carney as interest rates decision due

Meanwhile in the US, markets seemed fairly unconcerned as they digested news of Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. The Dow nabbed a fifth consecutive positive close.

Oil continued its rally following Trump's promise of sanctions on Iran, sending Brent above $77.50 per barrel. The rising price could continue to lift the FTSE, after it reached a three-month high yesterday, as oil majors such as BP and Shell capitalise on the gains.

Asian markets made moderate gains overnight, with all major indices up at the time of writing. Energy and oil stocks continued to drive gains.

Corporate news

  • BT – the telecoms group will unveil full-year results and its new strategy. Investors will be watching for whether it will be able to maintain its dividends.
  • Barratt Developments – the housebuilder will release a trading update.
  • Next – the Beast from the East has been blamed for a string of poor retail results recently, but investors will be hoping Next can surprise as it did in March.
  • Superdry – the clothing group is also expected to post decent numbers in a trading update.
  • Morrisons – the supermarket will update the market on its performance at a time when competitors Asda and Sainsbury's are planning a mega merger.
  • ITV – investors will be watching for whether the broadcasting business can defeat a "challenging" advertising climate.


  • 09.00 – European Central Bank economic bulletin
  • 09.30 – UK manufacturing production (March)
  • 09.30 – UK industrial production (March)
  • 09.30 – UK trade balance (March)
  • 12.00 – Bank of England quantitative easing, interest rate decision, monetary policy summary and quarterly inflation report
  • 12.30 – Bank of England governor Carney's speech

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