The Bank of England is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged at 5.25%. Thanks to lower energy prices, inflation is expected to come to down to target in the spring.

Governor Andrew Bailey will hold a press conference at 12:30 pm, and investors will listen to every words, trying to get more clues about the timing of the first rate cut.

Economists polled by Reuters expect rates to be cut in the second quarter of this year, since the British economy has been struggling in recent months.

Among stocks, BT Group announced it is on track to meet its full-year guidance after reporting slight growth in revenue and earnings in the third quarter, thanks to price hikes, fibre-enabled product sales, and increased service revenue in its Consumer division. However, business revenue was lower. The company's adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was GBP 2.03 billion, up 1.0% from the previous year, with revenue rising by 2.5% to GBP 5.34 billion. For the first nine months of the financial year, pretax profit was GBP 1.50 billion, up 15% year-over-year. New CEO Allison Kirkby expressed confidence in achieving the financial outlook for the year.

GSK reached a confidential settlement in a California state court case related to claims that its heartburn medicine Zantac causes cancer. The case was set to go to trial on February 20 but will now be dismissed. GSK stated the settlement reflects its desire to avoid protracted litigation and will continue to defend itself in all other Zantac cases.

Shell reported a sharp decline in profit and revenue for both the fourth quarter and the full year of 2023, citing lower oil and gas prices. However, the company announced a new share buyback program and increased its quarterly dividend per share. Shell's pretax profit for the fourth quarter dropped to USD 1.64 billion from USD 16.44 billion a year prior, with total revenue declining 21% to USD 80.13 billion. For the full year, pretax profit fell nearly 50% to USD 32.63 billion, while total revenue dropped 16% to USD 323.18 billion. Despite the reduced profit, Shell increased its dividend and launched a new USD 3.5 billion share buyback program.

Glencore announced that annual production declined at all its operations, except for coal and gold, but insisted its performance was in line with expectations. 

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