After cutting the rate of employee national insurance to 10% during the autumn statement, investors are wondering if Jeremy Hunt will announce new tax cuts. He is widely expected to make further cuts to national insurance.

Yesterday, bond yields dropped after new data showed weakness in the US economy. Factory orders and the ISM services index came in below estimates in January and February, respectively. The FTSE 100 inched up 0.1%..

Earnings seasons continue, with Capita shares dropping sharply by 14% following the announcement of an annual pre-tax loss and wider cash outflows, which were attributed to costs related to a cyber incident and some business exits. The British outsourcing group reported a loss before tax of 106.6 million pounds for 2023, compared to a profit of 61.4 million pounds the previous year. Capita plans to implement additional cost-cutting measures worth approximately 100 million pounds.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies reported a widened loss for the full year 2023, with a loss of 154.5 million pounds compared to 91 million pounds the previous year. Revenue also decreased to 169.7 million pounds from 198.6 million pounds. The company expects revenue from its core business, Life Science Research Tools, to rise between 6% to 15% on a constant currency basis.

Legal & General Group announced its intention to grow its dividend by 5% for the fiscal year 2024. The insurer posted flat operating profit year-on-year at 1.67 billion pounds for 2023, slightly below expectations in a challenging economic environment.

In other news, British bookmaker 888 Holdings terminated its deal with Sports Illustrated due to intense competition and low margins in the U.S. market. The company is considering options to sell or exit its direct-to-consumer U.S. operations. 888 will pay a termination fee of about $25 million to Sports Illustrated's parent company, Authentic Brands, and expects to save approximately $6 million to $7 million per year in 2024 and 2025.

A consortium of investors in London Stock Exchange Group sold approximately 1.4 billion pounds worth of shares in the bourse owner. The consortium includes private-equity firm Blackstone, Thomson Reuters, and other investors.

Investors are now awaiting Jerome Powell's semi-annual testimony before the U.S. Congress. They also anticipate the release of several economic indicators, including retail sales in the eurozone and employment data from the U.S.

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