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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK equities are expected to open lower, as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigns and with concerns around the latest Chinese economic data.

World Markets

Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index heading for its biggest weekly drop in three years, after US shares followed UK and European equities in a sell off spurred by fears over the global economy.

The Healthcare sector sent UK stocks down for an eighth day amid global growth concerns. AstraZeneca Plc and Smith & Nephew Plc fell for a second day, while Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc reversed Wednesday’s gain to lose 1.8%.

Headlines

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced he will step down with an eye to snap elections, a move the embattled leader will likely use to shut out dissenters and return to power with a more manageable coalition.

A Chinese manufacturing gauge fell to the lowest in more than six years, suggesting the economy will need further policy support to stem a deepening slowdown. The preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index from Caixin Media and Markit Economics was at 47.1 for August. Numbers below 50 indicate contraction.

Novartis AG agreed to buy the rights to an experimental drug from GlaxoSmithKline Plc for as much as $1 billion, bolstering the Swiss company’s line-up of treatments for multiple sclerosis. Novartis will pay $300 million upfront to Glaxo for ofatumumab, followed by another $200 million after the start of late-stage clinical trials. Ofatumumab is already marketed by Novartis under the brand name Arzerra as a cancer treatment.

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