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UK stocks moved lower Thursday, giving up earlier gains as investors
were mulling the latest data out of China, which showed that deflation
accelerated at its fastest pace in 15 years in January.
U.S. stocks opened flat after the S&P 500 finished the
regular session on the brink of the 5,000 milestone. Investors will monitor
fresh U.S. jobless claims data on Thursday to gauge the health of the labour
Gold prices eased on Thursday as the dollar ticked higher,
with investors awaiting more cues on the timing of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s
first interest rate cut this year, while palladium prices dropped to a fresh
five-year low as demand concerns persist.
Oil prices rose on Thursday after Israel rejected a
ceasefire offer from Hamas, as talks continued to try to end the Gaza conflict
and wider Middle East tensions that have kept the market on edge since October.
In corporate news, packaging company DS Smith surged after
confirming it has received "a highly preliminary expression of
interest" from rival Mondi.
"“The board of DS Smith understands that Mondi is
considering a possible offer for DS Smith although no proposal has been
received at this stage," it said in a brief statement.
Peer Smurfit Kappa also racked up strong gains.