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FTSE follows US markets higher

The FTSE took its cue from the strong close in the US yesterday where the Nasdaq powered to a record high boosted by an unseasonal rally in Tesla shares. 

Concerns over the spread of the coronavirus are still keeping investors on their toes but with the fairly hard quarantine measures in place the fallout on the markets may be slightly less than initially feared. Asian markets traded slightly higher overnight and both Shanghai and Hong Kong markets closed in the black. 

In London, packaging firm Smurfit Kappa led the FTSE risers after it reported increased full year revenues and upped its dividend. On the other end of the FTSE tobacco firm Imperial Brand dropped over 5% having forecast lower profits in the next quarter because of a US regulatory ban on its vaping products. 

Oil higher as OPEC+ wrestles over output cuts

Saudi Arabia is pushing OPEC+ members hard to cut oil production in order to balance out the decline in oil prices but is running into staunch resistance from Russia. In a sign of how worried oil producers are about the fallout of the corona virus OPEC+ members convened an emergency meeting in Vienna ahead of next month’s scheduled meeting. Although Russia is still resisting a synchronized output reduction the oil market is beginning to position itself for an eventual cut and  Brent crude is trading 3.15% higher.  

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