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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks are expected to open higher this morning despite disappointing economic data from China.

World Markets

Asian stocks declined, though Singapore and Australia made gains, as renewed concern over the state of the global economy underpinned demand for safe-haven assets, weighing on commodity prices.

The US market fell the most in two weeks, led by a fall in energy shares, after worsening economic data from Asia reignited concern over the outlook for global growth. Commodity companies and banks, pillars of the market’s recent gains, paced declines. Energy producers in the S&P 500 fell the most in six weeks as oil retreated below $40 once again.

Britain’s shares fell with global equities, as a slump in mining shares weighed on the FTSE 100 Index. Anglo American Plc, BHP Billiton Plc and Glencore Plc declined at least 8.5%. Worldpay Group Plc dropped after reporting a higher-than-expected net loss. Burberry Group Plc rose 6.6% after the Financial Times reported the luxury-goods company sought help in defending itself against a potential takeover bid. Tesco Plc rose 1.8% after a Kantar Worldpanel report said UK grocery sales rose in the 12 weeks to February 28.

Headlines

US banks have benefited from their European rivals’ decisions to shrink, picking up share in businesses from advising on mergers and underwriting stock sales to trading commodities and bonds. The biggest US firms generated $4.5 billion more revenue in 2015 from investment banking and trading than they did in 2011. European banks’ revenue in those businesses dropped $10.0 billion from 2011 to 2015, as firms including Deutsche Bank AG and UBS Group AG have scaled back their capital markets units to boost capital levels and profitability.

Donald Trump beat back a barrage of attacks led by the last Republican presidential nominee and scored major victories over his leading rival in two primaries on Tuesday, strengthening his bid to win the party’s nomination. After being pummelled in the last week by an all-out assault organized by Republican establishment figures united under the slogan #NeverTrump, the front-runner won the two biggest contests, in Mississippi and Michigan, brushing aside appeals based on regional affinity from Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Ireland may not get a new government for two months, the nation’s ruling party said, after last week’s election produced no clear winner. With the last of 158 seats filled on Thursday, no grouping won a majority. The nation’s two biggest parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, took 94 seats between them, opening the way for a historic grand coalition. “We’ll talk to anyone, even Fianna Fail,” Fine Gael lawmaker Damien English said in an interview with broadcaster RTE on Friday in Dublin. He said any new administration must be “long-lasting” and his party is “fully united” behind Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

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