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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks have opened higher this morning, helped by growing expectations of decisive stimulus action by the European Central Bank next week.

World Markets

Most Asian markets rose on expectations of additional European Central Bank stimulus. In Japan,the market showed little reaction to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s announcement that corporate taxes may be cut by more than planned next fiscal year.

US stocks were unchanged with trading volumes low before the Thanksgiving holiday today. Consumer discretionary and healthcare companies led gain in the US, with shares of Pfizer Inc. climbing 2.8%.

UK stocks advanced with homebuilders leading gains as George Osborne announced increased spending on housing and an improved economic outlook. Taylor Wimpey Plc and Barratt Developments Plc climbed more than 3.5%. Thomas Cook Group Plc rallied 11% after making a profit for the first time in five years.

Headlines

Oil traded near $43 after rising for a third day on signs the pace of drilling is slowing in the US amid a global oversupply. Oil has fallen more than 40% the past year amid speculation the surplus will be prolonged with US inventories more than 100 million barrels above the five-year seasonal average and as OPEC pumps above its quota.

Tesco Plc has agreed to settle a US class-action lawsuit brought by shareholders against the company related to last year’s accounting scandal. Under the agreement, Tesco will pay $12 million but make no admission of liability. The settlement agreement resolves one of two U.S. claims brought against the company.

Lloyds Banking Group Plc on Thursday will disclose plans to eliminate 1,000 jobs across operations, including staff at its branch network, as part of broader cost cuts announced last year. The cuts are part of a plan to trim about 9,000 jobs, close branches and save £1 billion by 2017.

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