european market news-FTSE 100 to open lower

proactiveinvestors-The FTSE 100 is set to open 22 points lower at 7,456

oil

Brent crude oil prices are hovering just below the US$46 a barrel mark
The FTSE 100 is set to open lower this morning as the sliding oil price continues to unnerve markets.

The price of the black stuff fell to nine-month lows as the problem of too much supply and not enough demand continues to weigh, while copper prices also fell sharply on Tuesday which hit the miners.

 

Financial spread bet firms expect the blue chip index to drop 22 points at the opening bell to 7,456, compounding Tuesday’s 51 point loss.

The bleak start predicted follows on from a similarly miserable day for US markets which also gave up most of Monday’s gains as they eased lower.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.7% to 2,437, the Dow Jones fared a little better with a 0.3% fall to 21,467, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost just over 0.8% to sit at 6,188.

Asian stocks were also flagging overnight, with shares in Hong Kong and Tokyo both nursing 0.5% losses, although the SSE Composite in Shanghai was just about keeping its ahead above water.

Away from stocks, today’s the day we finally get to hear the delayed Queen’s Speech which is due later today.

Expect Brexit to dominate but there will also be interest in which plans, if any, the Conservatives have dropped following the unexpected election result earlier this month.

Business headlines

A former boss of Barclays faces a potentially lengthy prison sentence after becoming the first bank chief to be prosecuted for his role in the financial crisis, reports the Times.

John Varley, the former chief executive of Barclays, was charged yesterday with two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and a further count of unlawful financial assistance over his part in two controversial multi-billion pound fundraisings involving Qatar’s wealth fund and the Gulf state’s royal family.

 

The Telegraph adds that Varley faces a maximum 22 year prison sentence after he and three other ex-directors of the lender became the first British bankers to face criminal charges for actions taken during the financial crisis.

Barclays was plunged into turmoil on Tuesday after the Serious Fraud Office charged the bank with fraud and unlawful financial assistance over its dealings with Qatari investors, including former prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, in 2008 when Britain’s banking system was on the verge of collapse.

Oil prices fell to a seven-month low last night amid signs that a recovery in production from Libya and Nigeria was feeding a global supply glut, The Time reports. The price of Brent crude dipped 2.3% to $45.81 per barrel, its weakest since November last year.

Pallinghurst Resources has lowered the acceptance condition of its takeover offer for ruby and emerald miner Gemfields, after Chinese conglomerate Fosun earlier in the day confirmed a bidding war. Pallinghurst lowered the acceptance condition to 60% from 75%, meaning the offer would now be unconditional, reports the Times.

Britain’s biggest supermarkets are planning an overhaul of their stores – putting in juice and sushi bars, tyre-fitting services and gyms in a bid to fight off the threat from Amazon, writes the Mail. The big names are desperately trying to encourage shoppers back as they embark on a war with online rivals and German discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Spanish prosecutors have accused Manchester United manager José Mourinho of defrauding the country’s tax authorities of €3.3m, after finding that the Portuguese coach used a company in the British Virgin Islands to conceal earnings from the sale of his image rights, reports the FT.

Chinese stocks have gained direct entry to MSCI’s global benchmark equity index for the first time, marking a milestone in Beijing’s efforts to draw international funds into the world’s second-largest market, the FT reports.

Mark Dixon has sold another chunk of shares in IWG, taking the amount he has taken out to more than £260mln during the past decade. The entrepreneur behind the serviced office provider previously known as Regus Group sold 27.3 mln shares at 345.1p raising £94.2 mln.

Commodities/currencies

Gold: US$1,245, up 0.26%

Oil (WTI): US$43.45 down 2.5%

£/$: 1.2623, down 0.05%

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