Investment market update
UK stocks are expected to open higher this morning taking direction from Asian markets.
UK stocks fell as oil declined trimming the FTSE’s best weekly gain since October. Last week’s rally of 4.3% extended a rebound for UK stocks after an earlier miner-led slump at the start of the year. Royal Dutch Shell Plc dropped 1.7%, taking energy shares lower. Banks also fell, with Standard Chartered Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc down 1.7%.
US markets had a mixed end to the week with energy shares lower but tech shares rose as Amazon shares went up 1.9% and Facebook 1.1%.
Asian stocks rallied as the yen’s retreat sparked a revival in Japanese shares and China replacing the head of its securities regulator underpinned gains in the nation’s stocks.
David Cameron will face MPs later as he presents his case for the UK remaining within a reformed European Union. The prime minister will outline details of last week’s deal with EU leaders, which paved the way for him to call a referendum on EU membership on 23 June. He says the deal strengthens British sovereignty and the UK will be ‘safer and stronger’ remaining in the EU.
China has removed the head of its securities regulator as it tries to tackle major volatility in its stock markets. Xiao Gang was replaced by Liu Shiyu as the chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, state media report. Mr Xiao was in charge when China’s markets crashed in mid-2015.
The number of UK households switching their energy provider rose by 15% in 2015, Ofgem said. The regulator said that 6.1m gas and electricity accounts had been transferred during the year – about 800,000 more than in 2014. The news was welcomed by consumer groups, which said competition in the market was improving.