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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks are expected to open lower this morning after equities in Asia appeared to be unnerved by a further fall in the price of crude oil.

World Markets

Asian stocks resumed declines as Japanese equities retreated and a gauge of energy shares traded near its lowest since 2008.

US stocks closed little changed, near the lowest level since August, as gains in consumer shares offset declines in commodity companies.

UK & European stocks advanced, amid a rally in mining and financial shares. Glencore Plc, Anglo American Plc and BHP Billiton Plc rallied circa 2.5%. Prudential Plc added 3.4% after the insurer disclosed details of its capital strength and named a new chief executive officer.

Headlines

China’s central bank is substituting new tools to step up cash injections with open-market operations instead of cutting the required reserve ratio for big lenders, according to the monetary authority’s chief economist.

The governor of the Bank of England has ruled out an immediate rise in interest rates because of the turmoil in the global economy and weaker UK growth.

China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2015, compared with 7.3% a year earlier, marking its slowest growth in a quarter of a century. China’s growth, seen as a driver of the global economy, is a major concern for investors around the world.

The International Monetary Fund has downgraded its forecast for global economic growth. It now expects economic activity to increase 3.4% this year followed by 3.6% in 2017. That means growth of 0.2% less each year than when the agency last published a forecast in October.

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