Week ahead: Split on cards but rate tipped to be held

Just Eat is the message, and it seems to be getting across, with order growth expected to top 35%. Picture: TSPL
Just Eat is the message, and it seems to be getting across, with order growth expected to top 35%. Picture: TSPL
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THE Bank of England will unveil its latest interest rate decision amid speculation that there will be a split vote among officials for the first time this year.

Rates are tipped to remain at 0.5 per cent, where they have been for more than six years, but recent remarks from officials have fuelled expectations there could be a hike before December.

Economists had previously been expecting an increase in rates in the middle of 2016 but governor Mark Carney has said that a decision about a rise would “come into sharper relief around the turn of this year”.

Thursday’s monetary policy committee decision will, for the first time, be accompanied by minutes of the meeting.

TODAY

• HSBC – First-half results are due, with the City keen to hear whether new tax arrangements announced by the Chancellor will be enough to keep the banking giant from moving out of the UK. George Osborne introduced an 8 per cent surcharge on lenders’ profits in last month’s Budget, largely replacing the existing bank levy by 2020. The levy in its earlier form had been seen as a key reason why HSBC said in April it was considering relocation away from London. Analysts expect the bank to deliver a 17 per cent rise in half-year profits to $6.5 billion (£4.2bn), driven by a strong performance in Hong Kong.

TOMORROW

• Standard Life – Operating profits at the life and pensions firm, which bids farewell to chief executive David Nish this week, and tipped to show a double-digit rise to between £290 million and £305m, despite the impact of sweeping reforms to the retirement planning landscape.

• Direct Line – The insurer, formerly owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, is forecast to deliver a 9 per cent boost to half-year operating profits to £258m, due to lower weather losses and improvements in its home insurance division.

• Just Eat – The online takeaway group is expected to see a boost in sales when it reports on half-year trading. Brokers at Jefferies expect the group, which handles orders for eight million users at more than 45,700 takeaway restaurants, to post like-for-like order growth somewhere between 35 per cent and “the high 40s”.

WEDNESDAY

• Legal & General – In a busy week for the insurance sector, the group publishes its interim results. The entire industry is having to cope with changes introduced in April that removed the requirement to purchase annuities. This has caused a higher proportion of customers to defer the decision to convert their pension savings into retirement income.

THURSDAY

• RSA – The More Than owner reports half-year results on Thursday as it weighs up its next move after rival Zurich said it was considering an offer for the firm, reportedly to be worth £5.6bn, sending shares as much as 15 per cent higher. RSA is run by former RBS boss Stephen Hester, who was hired to revive its fortunes after it was hit by a string of profit warnings.

• Aggreko – Interim figures are due from the Glasgow-based temporary power provider, which last month saw its shares hit by a profit warning blamed on issues including a further slowdown seen in US oil and gas markets. It expects annual pre-tax profits of between £250 million and £270m, compared with analysts’ previous forecasts of about £293m.

FRIDAY

• William Hill – The bookmaker publishes results for the six months to the end of June.