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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks are expected to open higher this morning, following positive holiday sales results across the UK retail sector yesterday.

World Markets

Asian stocks rallied from a three-year low, paced by Japan equities. MSCI Asia-Pacific Index gained the most in almost a month as all 10 industry groups advance, led by consumer discretionary shares.

US stocks rose in late-afternoon trading for a second day, paced by technology and healthcare shares as China’s efforts to shore up its currency bolstered investor confidence. Apple rose 1.5%, capping its first three-day advance since 20 November.

UK stocks rebounded from a four-day decline as retailers climbed on holiday sales. Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc rallied 8.7% and Debenhams Plc jumped 16% after reporting same-store sales that beat estimates. Tesco Plc and J Sainsbury Plc, scheduled to report details of their Christmas trading later this week, rose at least 3.3%.

Headlines

Crude futures in the US fell into the $20s for the first time in more than 12 years on Tuesday, hours after BP Plc said it would cut an additional 4,000 jobs and Petrobras has cut its spending plan. West Texas Intermediate fell as low as $29.93 a barrel before settling at $30.44 Tuesday, the lowest since December 2003.

J Sainsbury Plc reported third-quarter sales that slightly beat estimates and said its second-half performance will improve upon the first part of the year. Same-store sales fell 0.4%, excluding fuel, in the 15 weeks ended 9 January. That compared with the median estimate of 14 analysts for a 0.6% drop.

China exports to Hong Kong rose 10.8% from a year earlier for the biggest gain in more than a year, making the city the biggest destination for shipments last month and spurring renewed scepticism over data reliability and the broader recovery in the nation’s outbound trade.

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