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

Total shares: 461
Analysts are expecting European markets to open much lower across the board this morning, with investors continuing the selling trend prompted by the resumed decline in oil prices.
 
The price of crude oil fell once again, hitting its lowest price since March 2009 at $44.45 a barrel. Asian and US markets were both saw big sell-offs in energy stocks.
 
European markets may also be weighed down by mounting concern of the left-wing Syriza’s policies in Greece. So far markets have been largely unperturbed by the anti-austerity party’s victory in the country's elections, but there are worries that Greece has already strayed from European stance by saying it would not lend consent to possible new sanctions on Russia.
 
Foreign ministers from the Eurozone will attend an emergency meeting today to discuss the escalating violence in Ukraine.

Corporate news

Royal Dutch Shell almost doubled its annual earnings in the fourth quarter, rising from $2.2bn a year a go to $4.2bn. The increase was triggered by investment gains of $756m and gas contracts of $436m. Shell’s full-year earnings rose to $19bn from $16.7bn. 
 
British alcoholic beverages company Diageo failed to fizz in its second quarter. Organic net sales came in flat for the six months ended 31 December, while volume was down 1.9 per cent. Russia saw the most disappointing performance, with sales plummeting 25 per cent.
 
Deutsche Bank posted a net profit of €438m in the fourth quarter, putting analysts' expectations of a figure closer to €300m to shame.
 
In the US, Facebook smashed analysts’ expectations for revenue and earnings, the former rising 58 per cent year-on-year to $12.47bn. The social media giant expanded its user base to 1.39bn monthly active users. However it’s share price has dropped in after hours trading, perhaps triggered by an 87 per cent spike in spending costs.

Data in Focus

  • 07.00am: UK, Nationwide housing prices, (January)
  • 08.50am: GER, Unemployment rate, (January)
  • 10.00am: EUR, Consumer confidence, (January)
  • 10.00am: EUR, Economic sentiment indicator, (January)

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