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

Shares 370
European stocks are expected to open higher this morning, after climbing for a second day in a row yesterday. 
 
Optimism fuelled by expectation of more stimulus from the European Central Bank (analysts are expecting the ECB to start buying corporate or sovereign bonds) was offset by a continued slump crude oil prices. Stocks in BHP Billiton, BP and Total all fell yesterday.
 
In Asia stocks have also enjoyed a small bump. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.71 per cent, the South Korean Kospi was up 0.03 per cent while the S&P/ASX jumped 1.15 per cent. In Japan the Nikkei fell 0.14 per cent as anxiety grows ahead of key economic data releases on Friday.
 
American stocks had a mixed day yesterday as low US consumer confidence data was offset by an upwardly revised increase in GDP. The US government updated its GDP reading for the third quarter to 3.9 per cent from the 3.5 per cent recorded last month. 
 
The US is expected to announce an increase in personal spending for October, boosted by a stronger labour market.

Corporate news

Thomas Cook has delivered on analysts' expectations with a 44 per cent increase in underlying profit to £323m despite difficult conditions in Europe which saw a slowdown in summer bookings. Pre-tax profit loss narrowed to £115m from £213m. Overall revenue for the year fell to £8.6bn from last year's £9.3bn.

The travel company also revealed that chief executive Harriet Green is stepping down to be replaced by current chief operating officer Peter Fankhauser.

Soft drinks producer Britvic finished the year with revenue of £1.3bn, a 2.4 per cent increase on last year's results.
 
DMGT, the publishers of the Daily Mail newspaper, reported a three per cent rise in revenue to £1.9bn. Digital revenue growth offset falling prevent revenues.
 
Data in focus
  • 09:30am, UK, GDP (Q3).
  • 09:30am, Total Business Investment, (Q3).
  • 13:30pm, US, October, New Home Sales.
  • 13:30pm, US, October, Pending Home Sales.

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