U.K. Stocks Are Little Changed Before BOE, ECB Decisions

U.K. stocks were little changed after four days of declines as investors awaited interest-rate decisions from the Bank of England and European Central Bank.

EasyJet Plc (EZJ) dropped 1 percent after saying seat occupancy fell last month from a year ago. Old Mutual Plc and Babcock International Group Plc slid at least 1 percent each. Fresnillo Plc (FRES) and Centamin Plc (CEY) led commodity producers higher.

The FTSE 100 (UKX) slipped 1.11 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 6,508.86 at 8:52 a.m. in London. The gauge retreated 2.2 percent in the past four days as investors weighed U.S. economic data to gauge the outlook for Federal Reserve stimulus. The broader FTSE All-Share Index added less than 0.1 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index fell 0.4 percent.

The Bank of England will announce its interest-rate decision at noon in London. The central bank will leave its benchmark rate at a record low and its bond-buying program unchanged, separate surveys show. The BOE’s bank rate has stayed at 0.5 percent since March 2009.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivers his Autumn Statement today. The Office for Budget Responsibility will raise its growth forecast for 2013 to 1.4 percent from the 0.6 percent it predicted in March, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

ECB Policy

ECB President Mario Draghi releases inflation and growth projections today at the first meeting since the Governing Council cut interest rates to a record low.

Officials will keep the benchmark rate unchanged this time, according to every economist in a Bloomberg News survey. Policy makers will announce their decision at 1:45 p.m. in Frankfurt. Draghi will host a press conference, setting out the forecasts, 45 minutes later.

In the U.S., tomorrow’s payrolls report may help investors gauge the outlook for stimulus. The Federal Open Market Committee meets on Dec. 17-18 to consider changes to its $85 billion of monthly bond buying.

Gains in manufacturing, technology and housing fueled “modest to moderate” economic growth from early October through mid-November, the Fed said in its Beige Book survey released after the close of European markets yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Inyoung Hwang in London at ihwang7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Cecile Vannucci at cvannucci1@bloomberg.net

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