Stock markets have retreated again over worries of further US interest rate rises after the Federal Reserve defied Donald Trump to increase rates for the fourth time this year.

The EU has confirmed it is “actively investigating” a potential breach of its diplomatic communications network, following reports that secret cables had been stolen by hackers.

The Bank of England has welcomed a “crucial and positive” move by the EU to help keep a key part of the financial system functioning in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

A handful of banks will be forced to write multimillion pound cheques to buy shares in the construction giant Kier Group after some of its biggest investors snubbed the chance to take part in a £250m fundraising.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to merge its consumer healthcare unit with that of rival Pfizer, to create a new market leader with almost £10bn in annual sales.

 

Santander has been fined more than £30m for “serious failings” in processing the accounts of dead customers, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says.

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Gold prices hold firm on trade, growth concerns

Gold-prices-hold-firm-GBO

Gold prices held steady on Monday, supported by uncertainties around Sino-US trade war and concerns of slowing global economic growth, while a strong dollar weighed on the precious metal

Gold prices held steady on Monday, supported by uncertainties around Sino-US trade war and concerns of slowing global economic growth, while a strong dollar weighed on the precious metal.

Spot gold was steady at $1,313 per ounce at 0059 GMT. US gold futures were also firm at $1,317 per ounce.

World stocks ended last week in the red amid uncertainty about global economic growth and trade tensions, posting their first weekly drop this year.

Investors are looking ahead to trade talks this week with a delegation of US officials travelling to China for the next round of negotiations. US President Donald Trump stated last week that he had no plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline to achieve a trade deal.

Trump has vowed to increase US tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese imports to 25% from 10% currently if the two sides cannot reach a deal by 12:01 a.m.  on March 2.

Trade tensions between the two largest economies of the world have rattled financial markets since last year. Adding to investor worries was the collapse in talks between US Democrat and Republican lawmakers over the weekend amid a clash over immigrant detention policy, raising fears of another government shutdown.

The European Commission sharply downgraded euro zone growth this year and next.

Tighter financial conditions since last September make further interest rate hikes seem much less necessary than just a few months ago, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly said on Friday. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to testify on US monetary policy and the economy before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.

The dollar index was marginally higher and hovering near more than one-month highs touched in the previous session.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

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