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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK equities are expected to open higher this morning ahead of the Federal Reserve’s decision and statement this evening, which could offer clues on the timing of the first rate hike in more than nine years. In the UK, the earnings season is in full swing with results from Sky, Barclays, GlaxoSmithKline and St. James’s Place along with many others reported today.

World Markets

Asian stocks rose for the first time in six days, halting the longest decline in almost two months, ahead of the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting later today.

US stocks ended their longest losing streak since January as earnings topped estimates and Chinese equities pulled back from a selloff. United Parcel Service Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Ford Motor Co. gained yesterday after reporting earnings that exceeded analysts’ estimates. About 76% of the S&P 500 companies that have reported so far this season have beaten expectations on profit.

UK stocks ended higher yesterday, together with other major European markets, while the pound strengthened against the dollar following a reassuring reading of second quarter UK GDP. Insurance group RSA’s shares were up 18.43% as Zurich Insurance said it was considering a bid for the firm. RSA’s rise helped to lift the FTSE 100 index 50.15 points to 6,555.28.

Headlines

Mark Carney is about to unleash a flood of data in one fell swoop in what will be an unprecedented move for a major central bank. Instead of staggering releases over two weeks, the Bank of England will on 6 August simultaneously publish its policy decision, minutes of meeting, officials’ votes and new forecasts covering every facet of the economy.

BP Plc and Chevron Corp. fired the opening salvo for a further round of cost cuts by major oil companies grappling with the prolonged collapse in crude prices. Oil explorers are seeking large discounts from contractors and sending some projects back to the drawing board to find cheaper ways to build them after crude prices dropped by half in a year. Many already announced multibillion-dollar cuts three months ago when they released first-quarter results in a bid to reassure investors they would be able to pay dividends.

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