Date: Wednesday 18 Apr 2012
LONDON (ShareCast) - The FTSE 100 index is expected to open slightly lower with city sources predicting the benchmark to lose around seven points in the opening minutes. Markets will be waiting for the release of the minutes from the April meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), the policy-setting team at the Bank of England.
In company news, supermarket giant Tesco has delivered full year results in line with latest market consensus, as it announced plans to slash capital expenditure in the current fiscal year. Underlying profit before tax in the 52 weeks to February 25th rose 1.6% to £3.9bn.
Global engineering firm GKN said improvements in its markets and a strong performance from recent acquisitions helped push up profits in the first quarter of the year. Sales for the three months to the end of March totalled £1.74bn, a 17% increase over the comparable period in 2011, or an 8% increase on an underlying basis.
Despite cyclone activity depressing third quarter production, iron ore production at BHP Billiton's Western Australian operations still hit record levels in the nine months to the end of March. Production of iron ore in Western Australia rose 22% over the nine month period from a year earlier. For all of the mining group's operations, iron ore output rose 20% to 118.6m tonnes.