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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks are expected to open flat this morning as investors await the publication of the minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting.

World Markets

Asian stocks were little changed as investors await minutes from the Federal Reserve.

US stocks failed to add to a rebound from the worst week since August, while the dollar climbed to a six month high versus the euro as firming inflation data bolstered speculation that the American economy can withstand higher rates.

UK stocks rose for a second day, with almost all of the FTSE 100 Index’s companies up. Smiths Group Plc rallied 10% after Panmure Gordon & Co. said its first-quarter performance was resilient. Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc rose 5.1%, rebounding for a second day after its worst weekly drop since 1988.

Headlines

Barclays Plc is expected to pay at least $100 million to settle an investigation by New York’s banking regulator into whether it abused the ‘last look’ practice on its electronic currency trading program, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The cost of dismantling oil production facilities in the UK North Sea over the next decade will be higher than previously forecast as more fields are scheduled to halt production, according to a group representing the British industry.

Two Air France flights bound for Paris from the US were diverted to Salt Lake City and Halifax after the airline received anonymous threats by telephone following their respective take-offs, the carrier said.

As the European Central Bank considers expanding its bond buying plan, traders’ initial misgivings are resurfacing. The first eight months of the $1.2 trillion program were an operational success, they say. Even so, the prospect of enlarging it has renewed concern that bonds will become scarce and prices volatile, anxieties that were commonplace in January when the ECB announced the start of quantitative easing.

The resilience in French equities this week reflects more than just resolve against terrorism. It’s testament to the faith investors have been placing all year in the country’s economic recovery.

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