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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks are set to open higher today, after a positive close on Wall Street overnight and as a holiday in China gave investors a break from their volatile markets.

World Markets

Asian stocks mostly recovered from a China-induced sell-off on Thursday. Trading was relatively calm compared to previous sessions, with mainland share markets closed as China commemorates the end of World War Two. Chinese stock markets will reopen Monday.

Wall Street shares rallied on Wednesday, recovering some of their losses from the previous trading session. Technology firms led the day’s gains, with Apple up 4.6%, Microsoft up 3.7% and Intel gaining 2.8%.

London’s main share index ended ahead after a day of mixed trading. Shares in the industrial equipment maker Ashtead lead the index, rising by 7.7%, after reporting strong quarterly results. Ryanair rose 3.3% after the airline said traffic had grown by 10% to 10.4 million in August.

Headlines

Some 3.7 million women – nearly three in 10 employees – will receive a pay rise by 2020 owing to the new National Living Wage, research suggests. At the same time, 2.3 million male workers will benefit. The National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour comes into force in April 2016.

A majority of Scottish voters would back independence from the UK if a referendum were held tomorrow, a poll indicated. The Ipsos Mori survey, carried out for STV between 24 August and 30 August, found 53% of respondents saying they’d vote “Yes” to independence, with 44% opposed and 3% undecided. When Scots voted on independence a year ago, 55% opted to stay in the UK and 45% wanted to leave.

The Abe administration is bringing social security numbers to Japan, seeking to boost tax revenue and enforce payments into the nation’s strained social security system to curb the world’s heaviest debt burden. The government will issue citizens and long-term resident’s numbers that they will have to use for taxes and social security starting in 2016.

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