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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks look set to open lower this morning, following a mostly weaker session in Asia, after the Bank of Japan decided to keep interest rates unchanged in negative territory.

World Markets

UK stocks climbed, helped by gains in mining shares, extending a rebound since last month’s low.Anglo American Plc and Glencore Plc led the advance in the FTSE 100 Index, up at least 4.4%. On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.5% against the dollar at $1.431, but was up 0.1% against the euro at €1.291.

US stocks closed little changed in light trading, as investors awaited further assurances that central banks will continue to support growth. Gains in consumer shares, including Amazon.com Inc., Starbucks Corp. and Walt Disney Co., offset declines in energy and raw-materials companies.

Asian stocks mostly fell after Japan’s central bank left its monetary policy unchanged and gave a slightly less positive outlook for the economy. Investor sentiment was also effected by oil prices, which fell after Iran put off plans to join nations proposing a freeze on production.

Headlines

J Sainsbury Plc reported a surprise increase in fourth-quarter sales as it ponders whether to boost its bid for Argos owner Home Retail Group Plc. Same-store sales rose 0.1% excluding gasoline. The gain ended two years of declining sales and compares with analyst estimates for a 0.3% decline.

UBS Group AG sold $1.5 billion of contingent convertible, or CoCo, bonds yesterday, a sign of renewed investor appetite for a risky form of debt that was at the centre of a recent selloff in European-bank stocks and bonds.

Volkswagen AG is being sued for $3.7 billion over the cover-up of its polluting diesel engines, its biggest legal challenge in Germany after a wave of lawsuits in the US centred on the scandal. The action was filed on Monday, almost six months after Volkswagen admitted it installed software in its diesel vehicles to cheat emissions testing.

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