The Bank of England is expected to keep rates steady at 5.25% before potentially cutting them in August. The Swiss, Norwegian, and Australian central banks also have policy meetings this week.  The Reserve Bank of Australia, which already released its decision, left its cash rate target unchanged at 4.35%, citing persistent inflation.

Among stocks, Whitbread shares rose after reiterating its annual forecast. It reported a 1% rise in first-quarter sales to £739 million, driven by improved UK trading and progress in Germany.

Meanwhile, Ashtead Group dropped 5% following a forecast of slower growth in annual rental revenue for fiscal 2025.  It reported a 12% increase in annual revenue but a 2.1% decline in pretax profit due to higher interest expenses. 

AstraZeneca's breast cancer drug Truqap failed to meet its main goals in a late-stage trial. Shell announced the acquisition of Pavilion Energy to strengthen its LNG position. Meanwhile, EU antitrust regulators are scrutinizing British Airways owner IAG's proposed takeover of Air Europa routes.

In other news, the Labour Party in the UK plans to increase the number of 'banking hubs' if elected. 

There are some changes in the composition of the FTSE 100. It will add Darktrace, Londonmetric, and Vistry, while Ocado, RS Group, and St. James's Place will be removed. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 will add Crowdstrike, Godaddy, and KKR, while removing Comerica, Illumina, and Robert Half.

Things to read today: