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FTSE heads lower at start of week

The FTSE has shaved off 25 points to start the week on a weaker note despite a strong close on Wall Street Friday and a rally in Asian stocks Monday morning. With the US and China seemingly within reach of a trade agreement and the Federal Reserve abandoning its tightening policy US stocks are now not far off record highs.

US earnings and Fed minutes in focus this week

The test of whether the rally can be sustained or not will come later this week when the US earnings season starts with reports from JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo. US blue chips are expected to show the first set of corporate contractions in more than two years as the tax relief and financial support pumped into the system at the beginning of President Trump’s presidency wears off.  

The Fed’s last policy meeting minutes due to be released Wednesday are not expected to hold many surprises as the central bank has already signaled that there would be no more hikes this year.

Oil hits year high

Brent crude has breached $70, trading at the highest level this year as tensions in Libya escalated resulting in 21 people killed and as many wounded this weekend. The turmoil in the oil rich North African country is adding to the already tightening oil market where supplies are curtailed by OPEC production cuts and US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
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