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HSBC is the talk of the town. Europe's largest bank by market capitalisation revealed an increase in full-year pre-tax profits, but it didn’t measure up to analysts’ expectations. The London-headquartered bank reiterated its confidence in Chinese growth, but I feel it is putting all of its eggs in one basket. HSBC is a heavy hitter in terms of its weighting in both the FTSE 100 and the UK banking sector, and it is leading these indices lower.
The mining sector has been shaken by housing data from China. House prices in the country showed signs of slipping, as the People’s Bank of China tries to avoid a housing bubble and bust at the same time.
Mothercare's CEO Simon Calver has flown the nest, as the retailer continues to struggle. Store closures and job cuts are on the agenda after a disappointing Christmas period.
Bovis Homes boasted a 48% jump in full-year profits. The British homebuilders have had a good run, but Mark Carney will increase interest rates before the property market comes to the boil.
RSA is in the red, as the troubled insurer mulls over a rights issue. The firm needs a cash injection, otherwise it could become a takeover target.
In the US, we are expecting the Dow Jones to open up 30 points at 16,133.