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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks are expected to open lower this morning following declines in US and Asian markets overnight.

World Markets

UK stocks climbed 0.5% to 5,960 points. BP shares topped the risers, adding almost 4% after crude oil prices stabilised above $30 a barrel, but Shell fell 0.4%. Shares in Sainsbury’s fell 1.4% after it reported a fall in sales over the Christmas quarter.

Most Asian stocks finished lower following a decline in US stocks, however Chinese stocks gained 0.8% reversing an earlier fall of 2.8%. Shares of Samsung Electronics were down 1.1%, despite the tech giant announcing that it would mass-produce Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 mobile processors – a big win for its manufacturing business.

US stocks fell after early gains. Microsoft ended the day down 2.2%, having earlier risen 2% after analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock. Shares in General Motors climbed 0.6% after it raised the size of its share buyback scheme by 80% to $9bn, increased its dividend and raised its profit outlook for 2016.


Home Retail Group, which is being pursued by supermarket chain J Sainsbury, is in advanced talks to sell its DIY chain Homebase to one of Australia’s biggest companies for £340m cash. Home Retail said that if the sale is completed it plans to return £200m to shareholders. It also plans to use £75m from a sale for restructuring and deal costs, and £50m would go to the group’s pension scheme.

Anheuser-Busch InBev has pulled in more than $110bn of demand for an upsized $46bn bond deal. AB InBev initially set out to raise $25bn but increased the deal more than 80% to $46bn following heavy demand. The brewer’s offering will help fund its takeover of rival SABMiller.

Energy groups have shelved nearly $400bn of spending on new oil and gas projects since the crude price collapse, pushing back millions of barrels a day in future output from areas including the Gulf of Mexico, Africa and Kazakhstan. Such developments have been hit hardest because of their high break-even prices and heavy upfront capital needs.

Tesco Plc reported a surprise gain in Christmas sales as the UK’s largest grocer fought to resist falling food prices and the advances of discount competitors. UK same-store sales rose 1.3% in the six weeks ended Jan 9.

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