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

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European markets are set for a lower open this morning ahead of a long weekend here in the UK.

The day will be fairly low-key with no major economic data being released, and investors have turned their attention to the conference taking place in Jackson Hole in the US later. 

Both Fed Chair Janet Yellen and ECB President Mario Draghi will speak at the event, and it is hoped that they will give some clues about what will happen in terms of monetary policy in the near future.

Yesterday's economic data for the US continued the theme of an improving economy, and followed on from Wednesday's more Hawkish outlook in the FOMC meeting minutes. Whether Yellen will reinforce this tone or adopt her more traditionally Dovish outlook during her speech is uncertain to investors, but the majority expect the latter. 

Given the recent pressure on the ECB to do more to stimulate Europe's economy, it is considered likely that Draghi will announce the possibility of further measures during his speech in the evening.

Corporate news

Co-Operative Bank has reported a pre-tax loss of £76m in its half year results, and is shedding 13 per cent of its permanent employees as it presses ahead with plans to improve its financial stability.

London Stock Exchange reported a strong financial performance in the first quarter, with revenue up by 20 per cent. It has also announced the proposed acquisition of Frank Russell Company from Northwestern Mutual for £1,623m.

RSA Insurance has announced that it has reached an agreement to sell the insurance business of each of its branches in Singapore and Hong Kong to Allied World.

Norman Murray has resigned as Chairman of Petrofac, and will step down with immediate effect. 

Manufacturing company HellermannTyton Group revealed a strong performance for the six months to 29 June, with revenue up 14.9 per cent.

Data in Focus

  • 3:00pm, US, Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaks at Jackson Hole
  • 7:30pm, Eurozone, ECB President Mario Draghi speaks at Jackson Hole
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