Focus on Federal Reserve and US interest rates

All eyes this week will be on Janet Yellen and the outcome of the Fed's latest monetary policy meeting. Picture: Getty

All eyes this week will be on Janet Yellen and the outcome of the Fed's latest monetary policy meeting. Picture: Getty

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WITH policymakers at the Bank of England opting to keep rates on hold again last week, all eyes now turn to the US Federal Reserve, which is due to deliver its decision on Thursday.

Analysts at Investec said: “Whilst we expect no change in headline policy, we judge that lift-off point is not far off; indeed, had it not been for the recent China-led risk aversion, we would have been banking on the first rate rise arriving at the upcoming meeting.”

Bank of England governor Mark Carney appears at the Treasury select committee on Wednesday, when MPs will ask him about last month’s inflation report, which signalled rates will remain on hold until early 2016.

WEEK AHEAD

Today

• Empiric – The student accommodation specialist, which last week unveiled deals to buy sites in Glasgow, Exeter and Newcastle, publishes its full–year results.

Tomorrow

• Kingfisher – First–half results are due from the home improvements retailer, which is closing as many as 60 B&Q stores over the next two years, affecting about 3,000 jobs.

• Ocado – With the market gripped by a fierce price war, analysts at HSBC forecast the online grocer, which delivers goods for Waitrose and Morrisons, to report a 14 per cent rise in gross sales for the three months to 15 September, down from the 16.2 per cent seen in the previous quarter.

• Inflation – Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, predicts “markedly lower oil prices” will mean the consumer prices index dipped back to zero in August, after edging up to 0.1 per cent the previous month.

Wednesday

• Galliford Try – The owner of Edinburgh–based construction firms Miller and Morrison posts its annual results. Analysts at Numis have pencilled in a pre–tax profit of £118m million for the year to June, up from £95.2m last time.

• JD Sports – A strong set of results for the first six months of the year is expected from the sportswear retailer, which said in a half–year update in July that like–for–like sales were ahead of management forecasts, despite a strong pound affecting its European stores. The firm, which has a majority stake in Edinburgh outdoor goods specialist Tiso, added that full–year pre–tax profits would be ahead of City forecasts of about £110m.

Thursday

• ScotSoft – The annual conference for Scotland’s digital technologies sector, organised by trade body ScotlandIS, takes place at the Sheraton hotel in Edinburgh.

• Merlin – A trading update is due from the leisure group that operates attractions including Alton Towers, Madame Tussauds and Legoland parks.

• Kier – Full–year results will be unveiled by the construction firm, which traces its roots back to 1928.

• French Connection – The fashion retailer is scheduled to post half–year figures. In April, the company warned that its sales performance would be “materially” lower than expected amid challenging conditions in the market.

• Retail sales – Official data from the Office for National Statistics is forecast to show a 0.2 per cent dip in sales volumes for August compared with the previous month.

• Interest rates – The US Federal Reserve announces the outcome of its latest monetary policy meeting. While no change in rates is expected, chair Janet Yellen will be grilled on the timing of a hike.

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