Thursday preview: BoE meeting, Halfords

At noon on Thursday, the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is set to reveal whether it has made any alterations to its key interest rate and asset purchase programme (also known as quantitative easing, or QE).

At noon on Thursday, the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is set to reveal whether it has made any alterations to its key interest rate and asset purchase programme (also known as quantitative easing, or QE).

The smart money is on there being no change, with the interest rate staying at 0.5% and the asset purchase (quantitative easing, or QE) pot staying at £375bn.

The £50bn in additional asset purchases announced in July will not be completed until the end of this month, Barclays Research notes. "Although one MPC member was close to voting for additional QE in September, we expect the majority of the committee to be content to allow the current purchase programme to run its course before announcing an extension," the bank wrote.

Barclays reckons further quantitative easing will be announced in November, in the absence of any significant upside news in the meantime. It also reckons that the interest rate will be halved to 0.25% in November, but conceded this is "a much more marginal call".

Across the water, the European Central Bank will be making its interest rate and asset purchase policy decisions known at 12:45.

Credit Suisse thinks the bank will will probably continue to wait and see if and when the new outright monetary transactions will be activated.

On the corporate front, Halfords, the bicycles and car parts seller, issues an interim management statement covering the second quarter of its financial year, less than three months after the abrupt departure of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Wild.

Peel Hunt expects the retailer will have received a boost from a Briton winning the Tour de France and from Britain's success on two-wheels in the Olympics.

The consensus is for first half like-for-like retail sales to be down 5.7% year-on-year but Peel Hunt is a bit more pessimistic, going for a 6.0% decline. The broker reckons half-year profit before tax will £36.4m, slightly ahedd of the market consensus forecast of £35.8m.

"Management plans to invest in marketing and staffing in order to drive H2 [second half] fitting revenues and gross margin. Halfords remains overspaced and in terms of both store numbers and footprint, with only 130 lease expiries over the next 5 years leaving limited flexibility," Peel Hunt opined.

"The board remains committed to the interim DPS [dividend per share] of 8p, although we see full year DPS cuts likely," Peel Hunt said.

INTERIMS

Ted Baker

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Amlin, Antofagasta, ARM Holdings, Churchill China, Croda International, Eurasian Natural Resources Corp., Phoenix Group Holdings (DI), Shire Plc, Tullow Oil

QUARTERLY PAYMENT DATE

GlaxoSmithKline

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

Bloomberg Consumer Confidence (US) (14:45)

Continuing Claims (US) (13:30)

ECB Interest Rate (EU) (12:45)

Factory Orders (US) (15:00)

FOMC Interest Rate Minutes (US) (19:00)

Goods Orders (US) (15:00)

Initial Jobless Claims (US) (13:30)

PMI Construction (GER) (08:55)

Q3

Sandvine Corp.

FINALS

Animalcare Group, Matchtech Group

IMSS

Carillion

EGMS

Public Power GDR SA (Reg S)

AGMS

F&C US Smaller Companies, Oil & Gas Development Company Ltd GDR (Reg S), VietNam Holding Ltd

TRADING ANNOUNCEMENTS

Halfords Group, Victrex

FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Medusa Mining Ltd. (DI)

JH

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