Investment market update
UK stocks are expected to start the week lower, as crude prices fell overnight after oil producing nations failed to reach an agreement over freezing production levels.
Asian stocks fell on Monday after major oil producers failed to reach an agreement to curtail production in Doha over the weekend. The Nikkei stock index ended down 3.4%, as investors and companies assessed the impact of devastating earthquakes in Japan on manufacturers’ supply chains.
US stocks fell on the final day of a week in which the S&P 500 Index reached the highest level in four months, as technology shares joined energy producers in a decline. Equities extended declines in the afternoon as Apple Inc. dropped 2% after slower than expected sales of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus prompted the company to reduce its orders.
UK stocks edged lower amid renewed concerns over global growth after China’s economy expanded at its slowest pace for seven years in the first three months of 2016. Home improvement retailer Travis Perkin and the housebuilder Barratt Developments were among the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100, down 4.6% and 3.8% respectively, as concerns about a possible Brexit and stagnation at the top-end of the market put pressure on housebuilding companies.
A meeting of the world’s leading oil exporters to discuss capping production has ended without agreement. After hours of talks in Qatar, the country’s energy minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada said that the oil producers needed ‘more time’. Most members of the OPEC producers’ group, plus other oil exporters including Russia, attended the talks. They wanted a deal that would freeze output and help stem the decline in crude prices over the past 18 months.
A number of Japanese manufacturers have suspended operations after two powerful earthquakes hit Kumamoto in south-western Japan. Electronics giant Sony, as well as automakers Honda and Toyota cited damage at their plants. Toyota said it would suspend operations at most assembly plants across Japan. The suspension across Toyota’s facilities will be done in stages, and will last for about a week.