A higher open is expected for European markets, following yesterday’s bumpy trading.
A more appeasing message from President Putin yesterday, urging Ukrainian separatists to postpone plans for a referendum, has helped buoy markets.
On top of that, better than predicted trade data from China – although expectations were very low – has caused some optimism.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says the UK house price balance moderated slightly in April, to 54 per cent from 57 per cent in March – slightly below expectations. East Anglia and the South East saw the most robust gains.
Production in Germany’s industrial sector fell by 0.5 per cent in March. Year-on-year, it grew three per cent – an easing off from the 4.7 per cent seen in April from a year earlier.
We’ve got the second half of Fed chair Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress later today, along with a monetary policy statement from the European Central Bank, which isn’t expected to reveal any surprises.
Barclays has confirmed it’s cutting around 20,000 jobs by the end of 2016, as chief executive Anthony Jenkins ramps up attempts to cost-cut.
Morrisons has reported a 7.1 per cent plunge in like-for-like sales – significantly worse than expected.
BT has upped its annual dividend by 15 per cent after announcing a 17 per cent jump in reported profit before tax to £747m in the fourth quarter, with results beating expectations. Its roll-out of both fibre and BT Sport continue to gather pace.
Glencore Xtrata has announced it’s appointing former BP chief executive Tony Hayward as its new chairman.
And RSA Insurance Group says that it still has much to do when it comes to its turnaround plan. Its first quarter results are in line with expectations, with net written premiums down four per cent from a year earlier. It's completed its rights issue and has made progress addressing underperforming portfolios, it says.
Data in focus
- 12.00pm: UK Bank of England interest rate decision
- 12.45pm: EU European Central Bank interest rate decision
- 1.30pm: EU ECB policy statement
- 1.30pm: US initial jobless claims
- 2.30pm: US Fed’s Yellen speech