Thursday, June 6, 2013

U.K. Stocks Little Changed Near Six-Week Low Before BOE

U.K. stocks were little changed near a six-week low as investors awaited policy announcements from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.

Johnson Matthey Plc rallied 7 percent after the company reported pretax profit that beat analysts' estimates. RSA Insurance Group Plc rose 2.2 percent as Morgan Stanley recommended that investors buy the shares. Barclays Plc slid 2.2 percent as Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. sold half of its stake in the U.K. lender.

The FTSE 100 Index (UKX) gained 3.41 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,422.72 at 9:30 a.m. in London. The gauge tumbled 2.1 percent yesterday to its lowest level since April 23. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also rose 0.1 percent today, while Ireland's ISEQ Index slipped 0.1 percent in Dublin.

"Market participants are treading carefully ahead of key events," said Ishaq Siddiqi, market strategist at ETX Capital in London. "No changes on policies expected by both central banks, but traders are still nervous about any surprises, particularly from the ECB."

The Bank of England holds its last policy meeting with Mervyn King as governor today. The central bank will leave its asset-purchase target at 375 billion pounds ($579 billion) and its benchmark interest rate at 0.5 percent, according to economists. The bank announces its decision at noon.

The ECB will probably leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.5 percent when it makes an announcement at 1.45 p.m. in Frankfurt. The bank's President Mario Draghi will address a press conference 45 minutes later.

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