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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks look set to open positively this morning, following global stocks upwards after they were boosted by increasing oil prices and positive economic data.

World Markets

Asian stock markets gathered momentum and emerging market currencies strengthened, as economic data from the US and Australia encouraged risk-on investors.

US stocks experienced their best day in six months as equities entered March amid signs that the world’s largest economy remains on firm footing, and foreign central banks stand poised to do what’s needed to shore up sluggishness abroad. Banks and technology stocks paced gains Tuesday, as companies hardest hit during the recent volatility continued a three-week rebound.

UK stocks climbed to their highest level in two months, with more than 90 companies in the FTSE 100 Index rising. London Stock Exchange Group Plc rallied 7.5% after Intercontinental Exchange Inc. said it’s considering a counter bid. Glencore Plc reversed losses, following the industry up even after it reported its biggest profit drop since its initial public offering. Barclays Plc fell 6.4% after saying it will sell down the stake in its Africa business as quarterly profit tumbled.

Headlines

The number of wealthy investors granted visas to live in the UK fell 84% last year after the government doubled the minimum investment required for the permit to £2 million in November 2014. New checks that mean applicants have to go through anti-money laundering due diligence checks may also be restricting demand, according to Transparency International UK, a non-profit organization that monitors corruption. The decline in the number of people being granted the visas may be bad news for developers. There are plans to construct more than 25,000 luxury properties in the city over the next decade, according to data compiled by consulting firm Arcadis.

UK manufacturing grew the least in almost three years in February and new orders barely rose, highlighting the fragility of the economy as it heads into an uncertain 2016. Markit Economics said its factory index dropped to 50.8 from 52.9, marking the weakest reading since April 2013. A gauge of new orders was just above the key 50 line that divides expansion from contraction while employment shrank for a second month.

The UK’s Financial Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said the government will introduce a digital tax system that will give businesses an easier and more accurate way of meeting tax obligations. During a speech, Gauke said that with a £1.3 billion investment in H.M. Revenue and Customs, the government intends to abolish the annual tax return and introduce “simple, secure and personalised digital tax accounts for businesses and individuals,” Gauke said. Under the planned changes, digital tools, including accounting software or smartphone apps, will be used to develop a more integrated way for businesses to manage their tax obligations.

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