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

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Worries surrounding the failure of a number of European banks in stress tests sent markets lower yesterday, reversing early gains.

With today's economic data out of Europe likely to show further manufacturing weakness, markets are expected to edge lower again this morning, confirming worries about the sluggishness of the Eurozone.

In the UK, retail sales figures for Septemeber are expected to show a dip in consumer spending due to unseasonably warm weather which will worry investors ahead of the all-important Christmas season.

All eyes, of course, are on Tesco this morning and what effect its latest results and profit overstatement update will have on the market, particularly rival supermarkets.

Corporate news

Tesco's profit overstatement is worse than expected, coming in at £263m. Chairman Richard Broadbent is resigning in the wake of the scandal. The supermarket's underlying profits before tax for the first half of the year fell 46.6 per cent to £783m, while like-for-like sales were down 4.6 per cent.

Unilever reported underlying growth in sales of 3.2 per cent for the nine months to 30 September with a boost from emerging markets. Turnover declined however, down 4.3 per cent to €36.3bn.

Estate agent Foxtons said the London property market's sharp and recent slowdown had a negative impact on the quarter from June to September. Turnover dropped to £39.9m from £41.1m the previous year.

Debenhams increased like-for-like sales by one per cent for the year to 30 August, however, pre-tax profits fell  20 per cent to £110.3m, in line with expectations.

Data in focus

  • 09:30am: European manufacturing PMI
  • 09:30am: European services PMI
  • 09.00am: UK retail sales
  • 01:30pm: US initial jobless claims
  • 02.45pm: European consumer confidence
  • 02:45pm: US manufacturing PMI
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