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Important information: The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. This is a third-party news feed and may not reflect Fidelity’s views.

London pre-open: Stocks to edge down as inflation holds steady

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to edge down at the open on Wednesday following a downbeat session on Wall Street, as data showed that UK inflation held steady in January. The FTSE 100 was called to open around 10 points lower.

Figures released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed that the consumer price index was unchanged on December at 4%, versus expectations for it to tick up to 4.2%.

The data takes the pressure off the Bank of England to keep interest rates higher for longer.

The largest upward contribution to the monthly change in both CPIH and CPI annual rates came from housing and household services, mainly higher gas and electricity charges, the ONS said. The largest downward contribution came from furniture and household goods, and food and non-alcoholic beverages.

In corporate news, furniture and homewares chain Dunelm lifted its dividend and declared a special payout after a rise in interim profits and sales.

The dividend was lifted 7% to 16p a share. Shareholders will also receive a special 35p-a-share payout as pre-tax profit for the six months to December 30 rose 4.8% to £123m and sales increased 4.5% to £872.5m.

Elsewhere, United Utilities reported a strong operating performance in a trading update, with no significant changes to its financial guidance for the 2024 financial year since its interim results despite weather-related challenges.

The water company said annual rainfall in 2023 was exceptionally high across the north west of England, adversely impacting its 2023-2024 outcome delivery incentive (ODI) performance by around £25m. Net ODI outperformance was expected to be around £40m for 2023-2024.

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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