Week ahead

Rates tipped to rise, Abrdn to face investors

Stephen Bird

Stephen Bird will update his strategy to Abrdn investors

After weeks of ‘will-they-won’t-they’ speculation, analysts now believe the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee will raise borrowing costs again this week, and probably two more before the end of the year.

The headline base rate has risen from 0.10% in November 2021 to 4.25% with a series of quick-fire hikes, ranging from one-quarter to three-quarters of a percentage point.

Despite the continued fragility of the economy, inflation remains the priority, especially as it is five times higher than the Bank’s 2% target and unemployment is low.

A quarter point rise on Thursday now looks like a safe bet, and investment platform AJ Bell believes this will be followed by another quarter in August and one more in September to take the base rate to 5%.

On Wednesday, Abrdn will hold its annual general meeting in Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms amid some unrest over its flagging share price. The stock is down 52% over the past five years and by more than 3% in the past week, although inclusion of the dividend means the company has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 18% in the last twelve months. 

Shareholders may also want more detail on chief executive Stephen Bird’s ongoing restructuring and when it will reach a conclusion.

The Edinburgh-based company has undergone months of fund closures and restructuring as it works to ‘consolidate’ its offering. There are plans to merge or close over 100 funds, and the company has seen an exodus of its investment staff.

There may be an update on the company’s decision to vacate its head office in St Andrew Square just six years after it was built and move most of a reduced number of employees into historic offices in nearby George Street.

Packaging company Macfarlane Group will kick off a shortened week with its AGM at the Doubletree in Glasgow on Tuesday.

On Friday, Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary Shona Robison will be addressing the Chartered Institute of Taxation‘s president’s lunch at the Signet Library, Edinburgh. The event will go ahead despite the recent announcement of a train strike planned for that day.

Also on Friday, the the Scottish EDGE Round 20 Finals and Awards takes place at Gogarburn.


Tuesday 9 May

  • Trading statements from Direct Line and TT Electronics
  • Macfarlane Group AGM
  • British Retail Consortium UK sales monitor
  • Halifax house price index

Wednesday 10 May

  • Full-year results from Vertu Motors
  • First-half results from ASOS, Compass
  • Trading updates from Melrose Industries, Dignity, JD Wetherspoon, Marshalls and TUI
  • AGMs for Abrdn, Harbour Energy
  • US inflation figures

Thursday 11 May

  • Full-year results from 3i and IQE
  • First-half results from Grainger
  • Trading statements from Rolls-Royce, ITV, Wood Group and Airtel Africa
  • UK construction, manufacturing and industrial output
  • Chinese inflation figures
  • US weekly unemployment claims

Friday 12 May

  • Trading update from Balfour Beatty
  • UK monthly GDP data

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