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

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European markets are expected to open slightly higher this morning, rebounding from yesterday's losses.

Apple's better-than-expected sales figures and earnings will help soothe investor worries over corporate results coming out of the US and Europe.

Economic data from China overnight was better than expected, with GDP rising by 7.3 per cent in the third quarter, ahead of the 7.2 per cent forecast but still disappointing. It's a fall from 7.5 per cent in the previous quarter and China's weakest economic performance since March 2009 doing nothing to calm worries of a slowdown in global growth.

Figures from the UK are expected to show a slight drop in public borrowing to around £9.4bn from £10.9bn in August but are likely to cause little concern to investors.

Corporate news

The boss of Total, Europe's third largest oil company, has been killed in a plane crash in Moscow. Christophe de Margerie had led the French company since 2007 and was highly regarded in the oil industry.

Online retailer Asos has posted a fall in pre-tax profits of 14 per cent, down to £46.9m from £54.7m for the previous year after a difficult year for the fashion brand.

William Hill saw revenue rise 23 per cent and operating profit jump 89 per cent in its third quarter.

Reckitt Benckiser, maker of household brands such as Vanish and Domestos, expects full year revenue to be at the lower end of its targets.

The AbbVie Shire deal is officially off. The two pharmaceutical firms have agreed to terminate the merger after Abbvie's board withdrew its support for the deal last week. AbbVie will pay a $1.64bn break fee.

Data in focus

  • 09:30am: UK public sector borrowing
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