Friday preview: EU council summit conclusion, SThree and Trinity Mirror updates

The conclusion of the EU Council summit will be the main focus for markets on Friday, with no FTSE 350 companies expected to report results.

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Walt Disney to buy 21st Century Fox assets in $52.4bn deal, including Sky stake
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Walt Disney has announced an agreement to buy the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox in a deal worth around $52. 4bn, including a 39% stake in UK broadcaster Sky.

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Scotland introduces income tax raise for top earners
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The Scottish government has announced it will increase the tax paid by the country’s highest earners, as it bids to raise extra money to fund wage increases in the public sector.

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London close: Footsie lower as traders test Sterling upside

London stocks finished lower on Thursday as the Bank of England stood pat on monetary policy, as widely expected, but amid dovishness across the Pond and on the other side of the Channel which resulted in a stronger Sterling.

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BoE expects gradual and limited policy tightening over medium-term

The Bank of England kept policy on hold by a unanimous vote as had been widely-anticipated given previous guidance for a very gradual pace of tightening over the medium-term.

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ECB keeps all rates unchanged, confirms guidance on asset purchases

The European Central Bank has opted to keep all its main policy rates unchanged, with policy-makers reiterating that they expect to keep all their key rates as they are until well past the end of the ECB's net asset purchase programme.

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China tweaks lending rates after Fed decision
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China's central bank tweaked two of its policy rates in what some analysts said was a bid to relieve pressure on the country's currency.

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Google trends reveal the most searched terms of 2017

Bitcoin, the increasingly popular cryptocurrency has dominated Google’s top searches this year.

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Zotefoams investing £12m in Croydon facility

Cellular materials technology company Zotefoams announced that it will invest approximately £12m to increase capacity at its Croydon site.

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BT to benefit from catalysts in new year - UBS

BT Group shares could benefit from a series of potential catalysts in coming months, believes UBS, including good news on its pension deficit and about its Openreach arm.

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Europe midday: Stocks slip ahead of ECB

Stocks are holding lower, tracking a mixed close on Wall Street overnight and on the back of a mixed batch of economic data out of China overnight and a tweak in monetary policy by the People's Bank of China - a timely reminder perhaps of the potential ripple effects of US policy decisions and vice-versa.

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Magnolia pleased with initial production at Gilchrist

US-focussed oil and gas exploration and production company Magnolia Petroleum announced on Thursday that the initial production rates for the Gilchrist 2016 1-36H well in Oklahoma had significantly exceeded its projections, producing 652 barrels of oil per day (bopd), with a volumetric flow rate of 1,178 Mcfd - or 770 barrels of oil equivalent per day - with an associated flowing tubing pressure of 120 psi.

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Brave Bison extends video deal with Royal Dutch Shell
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Social video company Brave Bison has entered into a two-year extension of its commercial partnership with Royal Dutch Shell, it announced on Thursday.

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US pre-open: Stocks to nudge up ahead of retail sales; Walt Disney announces 21st Century deal
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US futures pointed to a marginally firmer open on Wall Street on Thursday as investors eyed the release of key retail sales data.

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Avation enters $100m aircraft revolving credit facility agreement
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Avation has entered into a secured aircraft revolving facility agreement with an unnamed “leading” international bank, it announced on Thursday.

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London midday: Stocks maintain slight losses as BoE stands pat
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London stocks were still slightly weaker by midday on Thursday as the Bank of England stood pat on monetary policy, as widely expected.

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Asia report: Markets lower as Hong Kong, Beijing move interest rates higher

Markets in Asia finished lower on Thursday, as both the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the People’s Bank of China raised rates in the wake of the latest rate increase from the US Federal Reserve.

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Bonds: Euro area periphery risk spreads jump
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These were the movements in some of the most widely-followed 10-year sovereign bond yields: US: 2. 34% (-6bp)UK: 1. 22% (-0bp)Germany: 0. 31% (+0bp)France: 0. 66% (+2bp)Italy: 1. 80% (+9bp)Spain: 1. 50% (+4bp)Greece: 4. 26% (-12bp) Portugal: 1. 88% (+4bp)Japan: 0,05% (+0bp) .

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Europe open: Stocks slip after Fed policy decision, ECB ahead

Stocks have begun the morning trading lower, tracking a mixed close on Wall Street overnight and on the back of a mixed batch of economic data out of China overnight.

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Debenhams boosted by Investec upgrade to 'hold'
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Debenhams got a boost on Thursday as Investec upgraded its stance on the stock to 'hold' from 'sell' following a drop in the share price.

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