London trading lacklustre ahead of rate decision


There was a lacklustre start to trading yesterday (Thurs), with the FTSE-100 Index ahead 5.

2 points at 5552.1 after an hour's dealing.

Whether the Footsie can post a fifth successive rise may now depend on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy committee, which was due to announce its interest rate decision later in the day.

The benign opening came despite a raft of interim results from some of the London market's leading companies.

They included half-year results from Barclays Bank, which told the City the economic outlook gave it ''cause for caution but not alarm''.

Shares in the leading high street bank slipped 6p to 20.73 despite a 16% rise in pre-tax profits.

Elsewhere, building materials group Hanson lifted 2%, or 8p, to 515p, after reporting half-year figures slightly ahead of its expectations.

Cable operator Telewest Communications steamed 12% ahead on the London market after reporting another lift in subscriber numbers.

Telewest, which has seen its share price come under pressure in recent months, lifted 8p to 81p in early trading.