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In London, stocks fell after the Bank of England kept its monetary policy unchanged. While analysts were expecting no change in policy, what surprised markets was that all nine members voted in favour of keeping interest rates at 0.5% and the bond-buying scheme at £375 billion per month.
Traders were caught off guard as they expected a minority of members to vote in favour of increasing the stimulus package. Dealers sold equities following the release, as they feel stocks will fall without additional stimulus from the Bank.
In corporate news, BHP Billiton is up 1.2% after announcing a huge 238% increase in operating profit and a 124% increase in revenue for the first half of 2013. BHP’s figures have also given a lift to other mining companies this morning.
Smiths Group is in the red, 3% lower, after issuing a profit warning. The engineering firm said full-year profit is likely to be below £15 million, which is below consensus expectations.