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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks have opened higher today, rebounding a little from the losses seen on Tuesday.

World Markets

Asian stocks were down overall yesterday, but traded much lower earlier in the session with some of the losses recovered towards the end. Volatility in Asian equities now stands at a four-year high.

US and UK stocks fell as concern for China’s slowing economy continued to dampen investor sentiment. In the US, energy shares fell for the first time in five sessions as oil retreated after the commodity’s strongest three-day rally since 1990. Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips fell more than 2.8%. In the UK, BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc slid more than 3%. Glencore Plc and Anglo American Plc led miners lower, sliding at least 7.6% as metals prices declined.

Headlines

A group led by MBK Partners Ltd. is nearing an agreement to buy Tesco Plc’s South Korea business for about $6 billion including debt, in what could be the country’s biggest private-equity deal, according to Bloomberg. The group, which includes South Korea’s National Pension Service, clinched exclusive negotiating rights Wednesday morning to purchase Tesco’s Homeplus business.

Oil dropped below $45 a barrel before US government data forecast to show crude stockpiles expanded in the world’s biggest oil consumer. Iran will boost output by 1 million barrels a day as sanctions on its exports are removed, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said. Oil has faltered after the biggest three-day rally in 25 years amid speculation a global glut that drove prices into a bear market will be prolonged.

ConocoPhillips, the fourth-largest US oil company, plans to reduce its workforce by 10% in the latest sign that the energy industry is preparing for a longer downturn. Most of the 1,800 jobs being lost will come from North America, including more than 500 from Houston, Daren Beaudo, a spokesman for the Houston-based oil and gas producer, said in an e-mailed message Tuesday. “Our industry is undergoing a dramatic downturn, which has caused us to look at our future workforce needs,” he said.

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