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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks are set to open lower this morning, with focus on the interest rate decision by the Bank of England at noon today.

World Markets

Asian stocks fell, as the yen’s biggest gain in three months weighed on Japanese exporters and health-care shares declined. A stronger yen hurts Japan’s big exporters as it makes their products more expensive to buy overseas.

US stocks fell for a third day as Apple Inc. paced declines among technology shares, overshadowing a rebound in commodity companies amid merger talks between two chemical industry giants DuPont and Dow Chemical. The deal would create the world’s largest chemical company with annual sales of £59bn.

UK stocks steadied at the close on Wednesday, recovering after early losses on the back of a rally in commodity stocks following a sharp rise in prices of industrial metals and oil. Glencore, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, BG Group and Royal Dutch Shell rose between 1.5% to 4.6% each.

Headlines

As the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank head in opposite directions on monetary policy, analysts expect the Bank of England to remain in the middle, leaving unchanged its monetary policy at its regular meeting. That would mean holding interest rates at 0.5%, the same level they have been at since 2009.

The momentum in the UK housing market is showing little sign of fading as a worsening supply shortage drives prices higher. A monthly index by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed values rose at a “firm pace” in November as the number of properties being put on the market fell for a 10th month.

Job vacancies in London’s financial-services industry fell by about a third in November as firms curbed hiring plans amid broader economic uncertainty. Vacancies in the capital’s financial districts fell 32% to 6,405 in November from a month ago and 13% year-on-year. The number of individuals seeking new jobs also dropped by 27% from October to 10,492.
 

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