Investment market update
UK stocks have opened higher this morning, after a rally in oil prices. Later today, attention is likely to turn to the European Central Bank’s policy decision.
Asian stocks rose to a four-month high as oil recovered to levels last seen in November and Chinese steel prices surged more than 5%.
US stocks finished the day slightly higher, with the oil price rally lifting energy producers in the afternoon session however, the market stumbled in the final hour leaving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index at a four-month high amid a slate of corporate earnings that gave investors little clear direction.
UK stocks advanced, spurred by gains in miners and lenders. Anglo American Plc, Rio Tinto Group and Standard Chartered Plc climbed more than 3%. Paddy Power Betfair Plc and BT Group Plc fell after cuts in their stock ratings.
With no new measures expected at Today’s ECB monetary-policy meeting, Mario Draghi, may use his press conference to point to signs that negative rates, free bank loans and a €1.7 trillion bond-buying program should be enough to revive euro-area inflation. Price expectations are still weak, but indicators including unemployment and the output gap give him a more convincing case.
Volkswagen AG has agreed to set aside at least $10 billion to resolve civil claims by the US government and lawsuits by American car owners over diesel vehicles rigged to cheat pollution controls. The parties reached the accord ahead of a Thursday deadline set by a federal judge for the carmaker to say how it would fix the vehicles. Volkswagen has been negotiating with US environmental regulators on an acceptable solution. Judge Charles Breyer said that fixing the almost 600,000 vehicles or getting them off the road would be the first step to any settlement.
Sky Plc said sales rose amid demand for its Web-based Now TV service as more people signed up to watch shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Sons of Anarchy.” Sales totalled £8.72 billion, an increase of 5% in currency-adjusted terms, while operating profit increased 12% to £1.14 billion.