BT cuts 13,000 jobs; US inflation watch; Oil price surge

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1. BT cuts 13,000 jobs: British media group BT (BT) said Thursday it will cut 13,000 jobs and leave its central London headquarters in order to save billions.

The company said the cuts will be made over three years and affect mainly back office and middle management roles. Two-thirds of the job losses will be in the United Kingdom.

BT said would hire 6,000 new workers as part of a broad restructuring of the group.

Shares in BT dropped 8% in London.

2. US inflation watch: The US Labor Department will release April inflation data at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Strong price growth at the start of the year raised fears that the US Federal Reserve would accelerate interest-rate hikes to keep inflation from rising.

Inflation numbers have flattened since then. The April jobs report revealed a modest 2.6% increase in wages, which should calm price fears.

Still, some analysts are expecting wages to tick up in coming months.

3. Carney walks the line: The Bank of England will announce its interest rate decision at 7:00 a.m. The statement will be followed by a press conference with bank chief Mark Carney.

A slew of disappointing economic data in recent weeks may be forcing the bank to rethink its next steps.

"Only one month ago, the markets were predicting a more than 90% probability of a UK interest rate increase this month. Today, this probability has evaporated to less than 15%," said Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM.

The central bank will also release its quarterly inflation report.

The pound was trading a slightly lower against the dollar ahead of the decision.

4. Energy rally: Surging oil prices have sparked an energy stock rally.

Oil prices gained another 0.7% on Thursday to trade at $71.60 per barrel, its highest level since late 2014. That's giving a boost to energy stocks, with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) and Gazprom among the companies posting gains.

Crude prices have gained over 9% over the past month, largely because of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

Investors are worried that renewed sanctions on Iran, a major oil producer, could disrupt the world's oil supply.

5. RBS settlement: Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) jumped 6% after the bank agreed "in principle" to pay $4.9 billion to the US Department of Justice to end the investigation into allegations it sold risky loans worth billions between 2005 and 2007.

The size of the settlement was lower than analysts had feared. Some predicted RBS might have to pay around $10 billion.

The settlement marks a "milestone moment" for the bank, CEO Ross McEwan said in a statement.

"Reaching this settlement in principle with the US Department of Justice will, when finalized, allow us to deal with this significant remaining legacy issue and is the price we have to pay for the global ambitions pursued by this bank before the crisis," he said.

6. Global market overview: US stock futures were pointing up.

European and Asian markets were mostly higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.8% on Wednesday. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both added 1%.

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7. Earnings and economics: AMC Networks (AMCX) and Tribune Media (TRCO) will release earnings before the open. News Corp (NWSA), Noodles & Co (NDLS) and NVIDIA (NVDA) will follow after the close.

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8. Coming this week:
Thursday — US CPI
Friday — University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment survey