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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks are expected to open marginally higher despite mixed signals from overseas markets overnight and this morning.

World Markets

Asian stocks gained, with the regional benchmark index erasing earlier losses and headed for its first advance this month, with Japanese shares rallying for a second day as the yen weakened.

US stocks closed mostly higher on Monday, as gains in health related stocks offset dips in oil. Oil prices dropped after gains last week that came after Canadian suppliers were forced to halt production due to spreading wildfires.

UK stocks dipped in late afternoon trading, with airline Easyjet bucking the downward trend thanks to a broker upgrade. At the close, the FTSE 100 was down 0.18%. Shares in Easyjet, which reports results today, went up 3.8% after RBC raised its rating to outperform but the index was dragged down by mining stocks. Anglo American fared worst, down 13.8%.

Headlines

The majority of business people plan to vote for the UK to remain in the EU but the gap with those wanting to leave has narrowed, a survey suggests. The British Chambers of Commerce said 54% of 2,200 members it surveyed in April said they would vote Remain, down from 60% in February’s survey. In contrast, 37% said they would vote to leave, up from 30% two months ago.

Oil traded near the lowest close in two weeks as Canadian producers started the process of restarting operations after wildfires and amid forecasts for US stockpiles to expand from the highest since 1929.

The head of the Pensions Regulator learned about the sale of BHS for £1 last year through the media, MPs heard. Lesley Titcomb said: ‘We were not, as I’m aware, advised in advance. We learnt about the sale from the newspapers.’ She was giving evidence to MPs about the collapse last month of BHS, whose pension fund had a £571m deficit.

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