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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks are expected to open slightly higher after the bank holiday weekend, and after upbeat trading on Wall Street and the rest of Europe.

World Markets

Asian stocks were mixed, as the Japanese yen rallied to an eighteen-month high on Tuesday and investors grew doubtful about global central banks’ ability to boost growth through aggressive policy easing.

US stocks rose the most in two weeks, while the dollar weakened to an almost one-year low as traders reduced bets on higher American interest rates amid evidence of slowing manufacturing.

UK stocks fell for the first time in four days amid earnings disappointments. British Airways parent IAG SA retreated 4.7% after saying demand for flights has been hurt by the Brussels terror attacks, weaker bookings in oil-based economies and the possibility of the UK exiting the EU.

Headlines

HSBC has reported a 14% drop in profits for the first quarter. Profit before tax came in at $6.1bn for the three months to March, down from $7.1bn a year ago.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has opted to cut the cash rate to a record low 1.75%, citing a weaker outlook for inflation than previously forecast. Last month the RBA left its benchmark rate unchanged at 2%.

Liberty House plans to submit a formal bid today to buy Tata Steel’s UK assets, which include the Port Talbot works employing about 4,000 people. In addition to the Port Talbot factory, Tata’s remaining assets include sites at Newport, where more than 1,300 people are employed, and Rotherham, which employs 1,200.

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