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What you need to know before the open

Today's top story: Southern rail franchise passengers s..

Today's top story: Southern rail franchise passengers suffer "worst service" in Britain

Today's leader: £100m might seem astronomical, but bonuses are the best motivators we have

UK stocks are expected to open the day slightly lower after a recent rally in Asia came to an end.

The FTSE 100 is expected to open four points lower this morning.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan slipped 0.3 per cent after six straight days of gains. Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.2 per cent after hitting levels yesterday last seen in 1991.

“The rally has been a bit too fast. Investors are taking profits in high-flying hi-tech shares. But the earnings and economic outlook in Asia remains solid,” said Yukino Yamada, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities told Reuters.

Oil prices stuck to highs last seen in mid-2015 with Brent crude rising 0.6 per cent to $69.22.

The American Petroleum Institute said yesterday that crude inventories fell by 11.2m barrels in the week to 5 January, dipping to 416.6m, a far bigger drop than analysts’ expectations of a decrease of 3.9m barrels.

Corporate news

  • Dominos – Turnaround chief executive is to step down in June
  • Microsoft – security patches are slowing down computers
  • Noble – closes global oil trading

Data

  • 09:30 – UK industrial and manufacturing production (November)
  • 09:30 – UK trade balance (November)
  • 13:00 – NIESR UK GDP estimate (December)
  • 13:30 – US export and import prices (December)

Original Article

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