Investment market update
UK stocks have opened lower this morning with investors cautious despite gains in equities last week.
Chinese shares gained amid speculation the government will increase stimulus, helping Asian equities extend their biggest weekly gain in almost four years. Markets in Japan were closed for a public holiday.
US stocks closed higher on Friday with the S&P 500 ending its best week of the year. Shares in Alcoa fell 6.8% after its third quarter results fell short of expectations.
UK stocks ended the week higher with its eighth straight day of gains, with Glencore leading the way after announcing a sale of assets in Australia and South America. Shares in Glencore jumped 7% on the news, and other miners also gained with Anglo American up 7.2%. Sentiment among investors had been helped by the minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s latest meeting, which analysts interpreted as indicating the US central bank is not in a hurry to raise rates.
Glencore Plc intends to sell two copper mines, Cobar in Australia and Lomas Bayas in Chile, as part of a plan to cut debt by about $10 billion after commodity prices fell. Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg announced a debt-cutting program in early September that includes selling $2.5 billion of new stock, asset sales, spending cuts and suspending the dividend.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron sets out plans on Monday to force local authorities to build new properties, as the government seeks to boost home ownership and housebuilding. Councils must produce their plans by 2017 or face proposals from the central government.
More than seven million Britons are being offered the chance to top up their state pensions. Men over the age of 65 and women over the age of 63 can get up to £25 a week extra on their state pension, in return for a one-off payment. How much they have to pay will depend on their exact age; the older they get, the lower the cost. The offer is open to existing pensioners and anyone who will reach state pension age before April 2016.