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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK equities are expected to open broadly unchanged this morning, as Wall Street closed relatively flat after mixed earnings results.

World Markets

Asian stocks rose, amid signs the steepest rout in commodities since 2011 has been arrested. Lender Orix Corp. was one of the biggest gainers in Japanese equities, soaring 10%, after quarterly results beat estimates.

US stocks were little changed as better-than-estimated earnings from Mondelez International Inc., up 5.0%, helped offset results that disappointed from Facebook Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co., down 1.8% and 4.0% respectively.

UK stocks closed higher for a third day after a flurry of earnings reports buoyed the FTSE 100. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc both added 2.5% after announcing strong earnings results for the first half of the year. Royal Dutch Shell Plc also gained 2.5% after saying it will cut jobs and reduce capital investment, while quarterly profit topped estimates.

Headlines

Lloyds Banking Group Plc will consider paying special dividends and share buybacks after first-half profit climbed 38%. Pre-tax profit was £1.2 billion compared with £863 million a year earlier. Britain’s biggest mortgage lender will pay an interim dividend of 0.75 pence a share, even as it took a £1.4 billion charge for improperly sold loan insurance.

Uber Technologies Inc. said it will invest $1 billion in India to expand into more cities as the ride-hailing application company targets to hit 1 million trips per day in the next six to nine months. The company will spend the money on developing new products and payment solutions, and other uses. The service is growing 40% month-on-month in its largest market outside the US, he said.

Barrick Gold Corp. agreed to sell a 50% interest in its Zaldivar copper mine in Chile to Antofagasta Plc for $1.01 billion as it moves to pay down its debt amid falling gold prices. The transaction is the latest divestiture in 2015 for the Toronto-based company that has committed to reducing its debt by at least $3 billion this year.
British Airways parent IAG SA said second-quarter profit rose 40% as it cut costs, fuel prices fell and the Iberia unit extended an earnings revival. Operating profit increased to €530 million from €380 million a year earlier.

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