Investment market update
UK stocks are expected to open higher this morning, as weak Chinese manufacturing data boosted market optimism for further government stimulus.
Asian stocks rose as China’s weakest growth since 2009 spurred a rally in the nation’s industrial shares amid speculation the government will boost stimulus measures.
US markets were closed for a public holiday on Monday.
UK stocks fell for a third day amid lingering investor anxiety about global growth. Vedanta Resources Plc fell 8.7%, leading a gauge of mining-related companies lower. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc decreased by 1.6% to its lowest price since 2012 amid investor concern that a projected ninth consecutive full-year loss in 2016 could undermine efforts to reinstate dividend payments.
China’s economy slowed in December, capping the weakest quarter of growth since the 2009 global recession, as the leadership struggles to manage a transition to consumer-led expansion. Industrial production, retail sales and fixed-asset investment all slowed at the end of the year, while gross domestic product rose 6.8% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier. Full-year growth of 6.9% (the least since 1990), was almost in line with the government’s target of about 7%.
Unilever, whose soaps and detergents are used by 2 billion consumers daily, reported fourth-quarter sales that beat estimates, fuelled by sales of beauty products and premium ice creams. Revenue rose 4.9%, excluding acquisitions and currency shifts, in the three months through December, London- and Rotterdam-based Unilever said in a statement Tuesday. The median estimate of 18 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for growth of 4%.
Brent oil rebounded after closing at the lowest level in more than 12 years in London. A persistent oversupply means prices still haven’t staved off the threat of further declines. Futures advanced as much as 1.9% on Tuesday after dropping 8% the previous two sessions. Iran’s oil ministry gave directions to increase output by 500,000 barrels a day after international sanctions were lifted, the ministry’s news agency Shana said. The Persian Gulf nation’s first-quarter production increase is likely already priced into the market, according to a report from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.