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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks look set to open flat this morning, with oil and gas stocks likely to be affected by a fall in the crude price.

World Markets

UK stocks fell, after completing a third quarterly decline in four. Sainsbury’s dropped 2.2% as investors delivered their verdict on its deal to buy Home Retail Group. Miners were amongst the top five stocks that saw falls and included Glencore, Antofagasta and Fresnillo.

US stocks advanced to their highest levels this year amid optimism on the economy and expectations for only gradual increases in interest rates, overshadowing a selloff in oil. Signs of strengthening growth in jobs and manufacturing data, coming right after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen this week indicated global risks warranted restraint on lifting rates, presented the best of both worlds for investors Friday to help to overcome an early retreat sparked by falling crude prices.

Japanese markets began the week in positive territory, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index up. Shares of electronics maker Sharp jumped more than 5% after a takeover deal with Taiwan’s Foxconn was finalised at the weekend, but a strong Japanese yen dented stocks of exporting companies, hitting carmakers.

Headlines

Union leaders will meet to discuss the steel industry crisis later in an effort to save thousands of jobs. Shop stewards from steelworks across the country will hold emergency talks in London to help prevent Tata Steel’s Port Talbot plant from closing. The government has said it would offer financial support to help ‘clinch a buyer’ for the business.

Leaked files from a Panama law firm that creates shell companies show that politicians, criminals and celebrities worldwide have used banks and shadow companies to hide their finances, according to a series of reports by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The consortium, in articles published Sunday, said it had obtained a cache of 10.0 million records outlining the creation of more than 200,000 offshore shell companies.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde rebuffed Greek government calls to replace top fund officials overseeing the country’s bailout, and said the IMF is “a good distance away” from a plan that would allow for additional loans to Europe’s most indebted state. Lagarde’s comments came in response to a letter from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, questioning whether the nation can trust the IMF and continue negotiations in good faith. His concerns were based on a leaked report from Wikileaks in which IMF officials discussed the possibility of putting pressure on Germany to give Greece debt relief.

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