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FTSE seen opening higher

Source: Reuters - Thu 4th Feb 2010

The FTSE 100 index is seen opening 1 to 9 points higher, or up as much as 0.2 percent according to financial bookmakers, steadying after Thursday's falls but with investors likely to be cautious ahead of the latest Bank of England monetary policy decision.

The blue chip index closed 30.16 points lower on Wednesday, after a see-saw session, having reversed from an intraday peak of 5,305.41.

The fall snapped a three session winning streak, with the blue chip index having previously gained 2.7 percent since ending near to a three month low last Thursday.

All eyes will be on the Bank of England announcement, due at midday, although the central bank is not expected to raise interest rates from the current record low level until October at the earliest, according to a Reuters poll of over 60 analysts.

A survey, taken during January 26-28 found all 66 analysts saying the central bank would leave rates at just 0.5 percent and the economists polled were also virtually unanimous - with only two dissenters - in expecting the central bank to leave its bond purchase programme at the most recent cap of 200 billion pounds, pausing its quantitative easing policy.

After the Bank decision, the European Central Bank will also issue its latest pronouncement on monetary policy at 12:45 p.m., with no changes also anticipated.

Once the central bank announcements have passed by, investors will refocus attention on Friday's U.S. December jobs report, with the latest weekly US jobless claims numbers set for release at 1330 GMT on Thursday seen as a precursor to the key monthly non-farm payrolls. Investors will also have Q4 U.S. productivity, December factory orders, and revised December Durable goods order numbers to digest on Thursday.

No important British economic pointers are due for release on Thursday.

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