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London stocks open on a lower note

The FTSE is somewhat deflated this morning despite economic indicators showing some improvement in the UK economy in March and April as a number of services companies, pharmaceuticals and miners drag down the index.

The first quarter reporting season in the US started off stronger than expected with better than anticipated results from JP Morgan and Wells Fargo and will get under way in earnest this week with reports from a whole set of industries, starting with Citigroup later Monday.

Parliament recess helps pound

The pound is having a break from being buffeted by Brexit news as Parliament has stopped for recess until 23 April and any talk of leadership challenges, potential second referendums and general elections waits until the country finishes its Easter egg hunts. Sterling is trading nearly 0.2% higher against the dollar and is up 0.11% vs the euro helped by an improvement in UK indicators like house prices and UK store footfall.

Oil notches lower ahead of the OPEC meeting

As OPEC gets ready for its Vienna meeting later this week Brent crude prices are notching lower but are still trading close to six months highs. Six months ago OPEC members and Russia agreed to a series of production cuts which have now filtered through the system and together with the US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran have reduced the amount of available supplies. The current wild card is the conflict in Libya which has the potential to disrupt supply flows further and may make more cuts unnecessary.

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