FTSE 100 fluctuates, Bank of England in focus

UK stocks oscillated on Thursday, as investors wait to hear if the Bank of England (BoE) has decided to cut its key interest rate for the first time in 7 years in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

The FTSE 100 turned lower by 3 points to 6,631.15 after a slightly higher open. Financial, oil and gas shares were up, but it was quite a struggle for mining, health care (Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc (LON:HIK) dropped with 15% after drugmaker cut profit target) and consumer shares.

FTSE 100 shed 0.2% on Wednesday.

However, the focus for investors is the BOE’s three announcements due later:

• August rate decision,
• Meeting minutes and
• Quarterly inflation report.

The central bank hasn’t acted on interest rates since March 2009, but it is expected to cut them in an effort to support the U.K. economy, which data show has taken a hit since the U.K. referendum on EU membership on June 23.

Ahead of the decision, most bank shares were higher. Concern about the effect of low interest rates on lenders’ margins has been one of the factors putting pressure on bank share prices this year.

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