The FTSE 100 opened higher on Thursday morning, boosted by a strong performance from Shell, as investors awaited the latest interest rate decision from the Bank of England later today.
Governor Andrew Bailey is expected to increase interest rates by 50bps to a post-financial crisis high of four per cent later today, although there is an outside chance he will opt for a small 25 basis point rise.
Investors think the Bank is nearing the end of its once in a generation rate hike cycle, betting that borrowing costs will peak at under 4.5 per cent.
Despite the uncertainty, London’s premier index rose 0.3 per cent to 7,782.00 in early trading. The domestically-focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index, which is more aligned with the health of the UK economy, opened 0.9 per cent higher at 20,084.74.
This was partly due to a strong performance from Shell, which climbed 1.0 per cent after capping off a record year with bumper profits in the fourth quarter.
The oil giant also announced a fresh share buyback programme of £3.2bn ($4bn).
BT’s stock slumped 2.7 per cent after it released quarterly earnings.
Revenue in the three months to the end of December fell marginally which the firm put down to inflationary headwinds and legacy product declines.
The telecoms firm is aggressively targeting expansion of its high-speed internet capabilities. CEO Philip Jansen said “on full fibre, we’re building – and now connecting – like fury”.
Shares for low-cost carrier Wizz Air soared this morning reporting a strong start to 2023, with passenger numbers well above 2022 levels. Passenger levels soared 73 per cent to 4.2 million.
Wizz Air’s share price climbed by 5.3 per cent following the impressive figures, which were matched by low-cost competitor Ryanair.
The pound climbed 0.1 per cent against the dollar to trade at 1.2389 after the US Federal Reserve slowed the pace of its interest rate hikes last night.