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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks are expected to open lower this morning, as the price of oil fell again overnight.

World Markets

Asian stocks halted a two-day rally with falls in Chinese and Japanese shares driving the losses. Markets in Australia and India were shut for holidays.

US stocks fell, with losses accelerated in the final hour of trading as crude oil fell back below $31 a barrel. McDonald’s Corp. gained 0.8% after the fast-food giant’s earnings beat analysts’ forecasts.

UK stocks slid, after their biggest two-day rally in five months, as banks retreated. Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Barclays Plc were down at least 4.7%, after a report said UK banks will set aside more money to cover wrongly sold loan insurance.

Headlines

Mario Draghi hit back at critics of his policies, saying the European Central Bank must fulfil its inflation mandate in order to maintain its credibility. “Meeting our objective is about credibility,” the ECB president said in a speech near Frankfurt on Monday. “If a central bank sets an objective, it can’t just move the goalposts when it misses it.”

UK mortgage lending in 2015 was the highest for seven years, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). It says homeowners borrowed £220.3bn last year, up 8% on 2014 and the highest since 2008’s total of £247.8bn. However, the figure is still well below the £356bn lent at the peak of the property market in 2007.

US carmaker Ford has said it will exit Japan and Indonesia blaming poor sales and market conditions. The company said it would close all operations this year as there was ‘no reasonable path to profitability’ in the two countries. The move comes after rival US car firm General Motors last year said it would pull out of Indonesia.

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