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

Total shares: 464
European markets are seen opening higher this morning after global markets bounced following a slight uptick in oil prices.
 
A late rally on Wall Street, triggered in part by strong jobs market data, had a positive influence in Asian markets which enjoyed a fairly upbeat final day of trading for the week. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 and Tokyo’s Nikkei were up 0.9 and 0.6 per cent.
 
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were all up by at least one per cent.
 
Markets could be further influenced by goings on stateside today, as the US government releases its first estimate of GDP for the final quarter of 2014. Estimates see GDP rising around 3.2 per cent.

Corporate news

BT saw its revenue fall three per cent to £4bn in the third quarter, but it recorded good growth in profit before tax and earnings per share which were up 13 and 10 per cent respectively. The company’s consumer department, which includes BT Sport and BT Wi-fi, experienced the biggest jump with a 43 per cent rise in profit to £251m.
 
Qatar Airways has announced today that it is buying a 9.99 per cent stake in International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG). IAG, which owns British Airways, is currently pursuing a takeover of Irish carrier Aer Lingus.
 
Google reported its results for the fourth quarter last night, but did not follow the blockbuster trend set by Apple and Facebook earlier in the week. Earnings per share were 20 per cent below analysts’ expectations while revenue came in $100m (£66.4m) short at $14.5bn (£9.62bn).

Data in Focus

  • 09.30am: UK, Mortgage approvals, (December).
  • 09.30am: UK, Consumer credit, (December).
  • 10.00am: EUR, Consumer Price Index, (January).
  • 13.30pm: USA, Gross Domestic Product, (Q4).

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