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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks are expected to open lower this morning, after renewed selling in oil and mixed messages from the Federal Reserve hit appetite for risk-sensitive assets such as equities.

World Markets

Asian stocks fell to a five-week low and emerging market currencies weakened as investors reassessed last month’s rally. Japanese stocks led losses in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index as the yen’s three-day gain weighed on exporters.

US stocks slipped from their highest levels this year, with declines in consumer and industrial shares overshadowing gains in healthcare companies, as investors looked for fresh reasons to continue a rally. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. fell more than 1.8% to the lowest in more than a month, sliding for a second day after disappointing March sales. Virgin America Inc. jumped 42% after Alaska Air Group Inc. agreed to buy the airline for $2.6 billion.

UK stocks recovered from initial falls and were in positive territory by the time they closed yesterday. Shares in mining firms were among the gainers, with Rio Tinto adding 1.67%, while Anglo American was up 1.69%.

Headlines

One of the world’s largest aerospace firms has written to its 15,000 UK employees warning about the risks of voting to leave the European Union. In a letter to staff, Airbus Group said it makes ‘good economic sense’ for the UK to stay in the EU due to its ability to trade freely and recruit workers. While it would not relocate elsewhere in the event of EU exit, the company said it might reduce its investment.

Authorities across the globe have opened investigations into the activities of the world’s rich and powerful after a cache of leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm showed possible wrongdoing using offshore company structures. The ‘Panama Papers’ have cast light on the financial arrangements of high profile politicians and public figures and the companies and financial institutions they use for such activities. Among those named in the documents are friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin and relatives of the leaders of China, Britain, Iceland and Pakistan, and the president of Ukraine.

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