Investors and traders have plenty of things to watch for today. The BoE will publish its latest rate decision at 12:00 GMT. Trump is set to announce the identity of the next Federal Bank leader. Amongst many companies that post earnings today, Apple will be the one that will get most of the attention. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is not stopping red – the crypto currency smashed the $7,000 level for the first time earlier. Here are all the headlines that will make today’s trading.
The Bank of England will announce its rate decision at 12:00 GMT. If all goes as scripted, the British central bank will hike borrowing costs for the first time in more than 10 years due to the recent surge in inflation. The consensus is for a rise to 0.5% from 0.25%, with analysts expecting a 6-3 vote in favor the move.
Governor Mark Carney will hold a news conference half an hour after the announcement, at which he is likely to stick to long-standing language that rate rises will be "gradual" and "limited".
Many economists have warned that the time was not right for a hike as recent data has painted a subdued picture of the economy while uncertainty over how Britain's withdrawal from the European Union will play out remains.
The GBP pushed higher against the USD in early trade, while London's FTSE100 searched for direction.
President Donald Trump is widely expected to nominate current Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell as the next head of the U.S. central bank, with an announcement due at 19:00 GMT.
Powell, who had been widely reported over the last week to be the front runner, will replace Janet Yellen when her term ends in Feb. 2018.
He has supported Yellen's general direction in setting monetary policy, and in recent years has shared her concerns that low inflation justified continuing with a cautious approach to raising interest rates.
On Wednesday, the Fed left rates unchanged in a widely expected decision, while signaling they remain on track to hike once more this year, as officials noted “solid” economic growth and a tightening labor market.
The central bank is scheduled to hold its final policy meeting of the year on Dec. 12-13, with interest rate futures pricing in a 100% chance of a rate hike at that meeting.
There are dozens of earnings reports on the docket today, with most of the focus on Apple's results due after the closing bell.
The tech giant is expected to report adjusted earnings of $1.87 per share on revenue of $51.17 billion in the Sept. quarter, according to analyst estimates. More importantly, investors will be looking for details on early sales figures for the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
Besides Apple, companies such as Alibaba, Ferrari, Yum! Brands, DowDuPont, Wayfair, Teva, Chesapeake Energy and Blue Apron are some of the names posting results ahead of the opening bell.
Starbucks, Activision Blizzard, Universal Display, Stamps.com, Sierra Wireless and Arista Networks are due after the close.
Facebook and Tesla will also be in focus, as both stocks looked set for down days after reporting quarterly results late on Wednesday which failed to impress investors.
Bitcoin climbed past $7,000 for the first time, breaching another milestone less than one month after it tore through the $5,000 mark. The digital currency rallied by as much as 7% to a peak of $7,089, before pulling back slightly to $6,948.70, up 3.2%.
Gains this week have been fueled by bets the cryptocurrency could enter the financial mainstream after CME Group, the world's largest derivatives exchange operator, said it would launch a futures contract for bitcoin later this year.
Bitcoin has been on an amazing rally in in 2017, rising over 600% against the dollar so far this year, taking its market cap to around $115 billion.