StockMarketWire.com - At 12.15pm, the FTSE 100 traded 0.2% lower at 7,107 following the decision by the Bank of England to not change interest rates or current stimulus measures.

Many investors had expected the central bank to give some guidance on when and how it might start to reduce stimulus. The monetary policy committee voted by a majority of 7-1 for the Bank of England to continue with its existing programme of UK government bond purchases.

On the UK stock market, strength in utilities and real estate was offset by weakness in miners and consumer non-cyclicals.

Advertising agency WPP improved 1.7% to 957.4p after it posted strong first half results with like-for-like sales growth of 16.1%. It raised full year guidance with the global recovery gathering pace and announced a £350 million share buyback for the second half.

WPP now expects annual like-for-like revenue growth of 9% to 10%, up from previous guidance for mid-single digit growth, with headline operating margin towards the upper end of the range of 13.5% to 14%.

Mining and commodities trading group Glencore fell 1.7% to 323.65p despite unveiling a plan to return $1.18 billion to shareholders via dividends and share buybacks following a jump in core earnings in the first half of the year thanks to rising commodity prices.

Aero-engineer Rolls-Royce rose 3.4% to 108.1p after returning to profit for the first six months of 2021. It swung from a £1.6 million loss to an underlying operating profit of £307 million, thanks largely to a good performance in its defence business and a recovery in order intake within the power systems division.

Sports Direct owner Frasers slipped 0.2% to 614p on the news Mike Ashley is stepping down as CEO, with his future son-in-law Michael Murray to assume the role in May 2022.

This news somewhat overshadowed robust full year results from the Flannels-to-House of Fraser owner, with underlying EBITDA up 29% to £391 million despite revenue falling 8.4% as UK stores were shuttered for around six months due to Covid.

Furniture and floorings seller ScS gained 8.2% to 313.8p as it reported a strong performance since reopening and upgraded expectations for full year 2021 and 2022.

Elsewhere, shopping centre owner Hammerson slid 1.6% lower to 36.91p despite narrowing half-yearly losses amid improved performance in its property portfolio.

Savills' share price advanced 3.9% to £12.05 as it reported an 18% rise in revenue for the first half of 2021, up £141.2 million at £932.6 million versus the same period a year earlier.

Mining company Centamin fell 1.9% to 104p as it reported lower earnings.


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