Shares, stocks and corporate news: What you need to know before the open

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Today's top story:  Davis tells Berlin: Do not put politics above prosperity on Brexit

Today's leader:  Royal Mail is held back by out-of-date red tape

UK stocks are expected to edge down this morning despite Asian shares making gains in the wake of progress in the passing of US tax reforms.

Britain's blue chip index, the FTSE 100, is expected to start the day 0.2 per cent down at 7,372 points, according to analysts from IG.

However, the German Dax is projected to edge the other way, opening 0.16 per cent up at 13,068. France's Cac is seen flat at 5,337.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific excluding Japan rose 0.8 per cent overnight, with Japan's Nikkei some 0.4 per cent higher. Traders were buoyed by strong corporate earnings from US heavyweights Wal-Mart and Cisco.

Also, the US House of Representatives passed Donald Trump's package of tax cuts. While this represents the smallest hurdle the changes have faced, it is a first-step victory for the president. The plans will be debated by the Senate, where some Republicans have already denounced the cuts and greater resistance is expected.

Brent crude futures dipped to $61.31. Trading in the black stuff is set for its first weekly fall in six weeks, dragged down by concerns on US oversupply. Oil is on track to end the week more than three per cent lower.

Corporate news

  • Sky – 21st Century Fox's interest in the firm is one of a number being circled by Comcast and Verizon
  • Infiniti – the Nissan-owned firm will launch a new SUV in China next year
  • Toshiba – says it is not in talks with any company over a sale of its PC unit
  • Tabcorp – its $3.55bn Australian betting takeover of lottery firm Tatts has been cleared by regulators
  • Daimler – is to invest heavily in China to develop its electric car

Data

  • 08:30 – ECB president Mario Draghi speech
  • 13:30 – US housing figures (October)
  • 13:30 – Canadian inflation figures
  • 17:00 – Baker Hughes US oil rig count