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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks look set to start the day higher, following US and Asian markets overnight, after Chinese exports for March increased by more than expected.

World Markets

Better than expected trade data from China and a rally in commodities helped Asian stocks climb overnight. A number of equity benchmarks, including the Hang Seng, Nikkei 225, and ASX 200 had their best one-day gain in a number of weeks.

US stocks rose to a one-week high as crude oil climbed above $42 a barrel. Energy producers gained 2.7% as crude oil climbed to a four-month high after Saudi Arabia and Russia were seen agreeing on whether to freeze oil production.

UK stocks have erased their losses for the year, joining developed markets in the US, Canada and New Zealand. A jump in miners sent the FTSE 100 Index up 0.7%, putting it virtually unchanged for 2016. Anglo American Plc gained 9.2% after the De Beers unit reported an increase in diamond sales. BHP Billiton Ltd. and Glencore Plc both climbed more than 3.9%.

Headlines

Tesco Plc, Britain’s largest retailer has posted annual pre-tax profits of £162m, a significant turnaround from its £6.4bn loss for 2015, while its core UK business has generated its first underlying sales growth in three years. Like for like sales excluding VAT and petrol rose 0.9% in the fourth quarter in the UK compared to a 1.5% decline in the previous three months.

China’s exports in yuan terms surged 18.7% in March compared to the same period last year. The data marks the biggest increase in overseas shipments in more than a year. Meanwhile imports declined in March by 1.7% compared to last year, leaving China with a trade surplus of 194.6bn yuan (£21bn). The revival in exports has raised hopes that the world’s second largest economy is not as badly affected as many had thought by the global slowdown.

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