FTSE steady ahead of expected Bank of England interest rate rise

FTSE 100 remained steady in early trading, up by a single point to 7,447. Investors will be keeping an eye on the monetary policy committee’s interest rate decision, which is set to rise by 0.5%.

Next said second-quarter sales beat previous guidance. Full price revenues are ahead of previous expectations, with the retailer raising full-year profit forecasts.

Rolls-Royce said it fell into the red in the first half as margins were squeezed. A statement also revealed underlying profit margins were lower in the first half, but are expected to improve in the second half.

Evraz reported a 99.5% drop in net profits and saw its cash flow halved in the first half as the Russian steelmaker was hit by falling demand and prices.

Shell will give most of its staff a one-off 8% bonus. The news comes after the energy giant reported record profits from high oil and gas prices.

Among the small caps, Open Orphan said its hVIVO arm signed its third influenza human challenge study contract this year. Clinical trials are expected to start before the end of the year.

Braveheart Investment acquired a stake in the architectural and interior design services company Aukett Swanke. Braveheart said it believes ASG is a company “with medium-term growth potential” and that the investment “fits well” in its portfolio of advanced technology businesses.

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