Investment market update
UK stocks have opened higher this morning, supported by a recovery in the oil price, as investors await the release of the US Federal Reserve’s most recent monetary policy meeting minutes.
Asian stocks were mixed as they fluctuated between gains and losses multiple times, energy companies climbed with a rebound in oil, while IT stocks declined after US stocks fell by the most in a month.
US stocks declined yesterday on worries about weak first-quarter earnings and as the head of the International Monetary Fund sounded downbeat on the outlook for the world economy. The interest rate-sensitive utilities sector fell the most. The financial sector also dropped, led by Wells Fargo, which declined 2.04%.
UK stocks also fell, led by declines in commodity producers and banks. BHP Billiton Ltd., Glencore Plc and Anglo American Plc dropped more than 4%. Standard Chartered Plc and HSBC Holdings Plc slid at least 3%. While the FTSE 100 has dropped 2.4% this year, it’s still beaten all main developed markets in Europe, thanks to gains in miners and a weaker pound.
Pfizer Inc. decided to stop its $160 billion merger with Allergan Plc, marking an end to the largest ever healthcare acquisition as officials in Washington crack down on corporate inversions. Pfizer will need to pay a $400 million fee to Allergan for expenses relating to the deal.
Iceland Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson promised to stick to a plan to remove capital controls after the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson. Iceland is preparing for an auction in the first half of this year to free about 291 billion kronur (£1.6 billion) held by investors in old so-called Glacier bonds. It’s the last hurdle before the country can start exiting capital controls for households and corporations.