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FTSE 100 Live: Mike Ashley to step down, central banks in focus

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FTSE 100 higher after Wall Street rally

Last night’s late rebound on Wall Street has meant a positive start for European markets ahead of a busy few days of central bank decision making.

US benchmarks recovered from an uncertain start to close up by around 0.7%, meaning the FTSE 100 index has opened 54.22points higher at 7290.

On Friday, London’s top flight fell by 0.6% and the FTSE 250 index by 0.5% as a difficult week ended with figures showing a larger-than-expected slide in retail sales in August.

Sterling dropped to its lowest against the dollar since 1985 at $1.14, a move that also reflected expectations for another hike in interest rates of at least 0.75% by the US Federal Reserve when its monetary policy meeting concludes tomorrow.

The Bank of England follows with its decision on Thursday, when policymakers are likely to increase the base rate by another 0.5% to 2.25%. Decisions from central banks in Japan and Switzerland are also due this week.

Minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s most recent meeting were published this morning and included a line that members “saw the case for a slower pace of increase in interest rates as becoming stronger”.

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