London markets closed higher on Monday ahead of a big week for central banks, with the Fed, European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of Japan all set for their latest interest rate decision.
The capital’s premier index climbed 0.1 per cent to 7,570.69 points, while the domestically-focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index, which is more aligned with the health of the UK economy, jumped 0.5 per cent to 19,190.81 points.
“To pause or not to pause – is the big question investors are mulling about the intentions of Fed policymakers ahead of the crunch meeting this week,” Hargreaves Lansdown’s Susannah Streeter commented.
“They’ve taken up arms against a rising sea of inflation by hiking rates at the fastest pace in 40 years, but with signs that the economy is shuffling off into a potential recession, the expectation is that they are likely to keep rates on hold.”
The ECB meanwhile is expected to continue hiking despite signs of a slowing economy. Inflation in the eurozone remains stubbornly high with investors expecting at least one more hike this year.
Although the Bank of England is not making any rate decision this week, member of the rate setting committee Jonathan Haskel suggested there’s more hikes in the pipeline.
Writing in the Scotsman, Haskel wrote: “My own view is that it’s important we continue to lean against the risks of inflation momentum, and therefore that further increases in interest rates cannot be ruled out.”
On the FTSE 100, Ocado continued its positive spell rising 3.8 per cent on Monday. Over the last few days it is up nearly 16 per cent.
Croda International gained 3.2 per cent after tanking on Friday after a profit warning.
In company news, Glencore made a fresh offer to take over the steelmaking coal business of Canadian miner Teck Resources. This follows two previous attempts to merge the companies which were rejected by Teck’s board.
The latest bid reflects Glencore’s persistence and interest in Teck, but is also a concession by the company, with chief executive Gary Nagle last month arguing that buying Teck’s coal business as a standalone unit was a “distant second” for the Swiss mining company compared to merging plans.
The commodities giant closed 0.3 per cent higher.
Frasers Group fell 0.3 per cent after a £75m investment in AO World, giving it a stake of almost 20 per cent. Both firms called the investment a ‘strategic partnership’ that would strengthen both sides of the deal.
It is the latest expansion of Ashley’s empire, now run by his son in law Michael Murray but with the founder of Sports Direct operating as chairman, after investments in Asos and Hugo Boss.
The pound continued to strengthen against the dollar, trading just below $1.2590.