FTSE 100 falls as omicron tightens its grip


Good morning.

There’s some troubling reading for policymakers at the Bank of England this morning, with the latest official data showing inflation surged to its highest in more than a decade last month.

The consumer price index jumped to 5.1pc in November – well above forecasts and the highest since September 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The cost of clothing, fuel and second-hand cars all contributed to the surge.

It’ll raise eyebrows over the Bank’s decision not to lift rates last month and pile further pressure on policymakers for action at tomorrow’s meeting.

5 things to start your day 

1)  Energy suppliers face tougher tests after spate of collapses  Ofgem boss promises robust stress-testing to prevent suppliers passing on ‘inappropriate risk’ to consumers

2)  Channel 4 directors blocked as privatisation decision looms  Broadcaster on course for an all-white board after a dispute with ministers forces the departure of Althea Efunshile and Tom Hooper

3)  Nightmare before Christmas as businesses warn of lockdown by stealth  Retailers and hospitality and travel firms brace for a tough winter as ‘confusing’ guidelines hit consumer confidence

4) Ministers vow to protect UK interests as French tycoon increases stake in BT  Patrick Drahi denies a takeover bid is imminent despite his holding reaching a new high of 18pc, prompting rare government intervention

5) Apple and Google’s ‘vice-like grip’ on smartphone market harms consumers, warns watchdog  iOS and Android operating systems are a duopoly, says CMA

What happened overnight 

Asian markets stood still on Wednesday as the world waited to hear from the US Federal Reserve on when it would stop buying assets and start raising interest rates, possibly piling pressure on its peers to follow.

Futures have already priced in an end to tapering by March and a first hike to 0.25pc in May or June, with rates approaching 0.75pc by year end.

Japan’s Nikkei dithered either side of flat and South Korea lost 0.2pc.

Chinese blue chips were little moved as retail sales missed forecasts with a rise of 3.9pc while industrial output gained a firmer-than-expected 3.6pc.

Coming up today

  • Corporate: Avon Protection, Hollywood Bowl, Character Group, Finsbury Growth & Income Trust (Full-year results); Currys, Hipgnosis Songs Fund (Interims)
  • Economics: Federal Reserve interest rate decision (US), consumer price index (UK), producer price index (UK), retail price index (UK), retail sales (US, China)


Source link