UK stocks roundup: four stories to mull over this morning

A slowdown in the Chinese and global economies is at the forefront of investors' minds.


Overcapacity is affecting growth in China

China 2014 economic growth slowest for decades:The Chinese economy notched up its weakest annual growth for 24 years and missed its official annual target of 7.5% growth for the first time in 15 years.

According to China's National Bureau of Statistics, gross domestic product over 2014 grew by 7.4%, down from 7.7% growth in 2013, and the double-digit expansion the country notched up as recently as 2010.

The Bureau says the slowdown reflects a number of headwinds for the economy, including overcapacity in many industries, a weak housing market and lower global demand.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

On a slightly brighter note, growth in final quarter of 2014 came in at 7.3%, same as for the third quarter, and a tad better than expectations of 7.2%.

IMF cuts world growth forecasts: The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for global economic growth for the current year and 2016, warning that lower oil prices will not be enough to offset a number of headwinds, notably weaker investment.

Only last October the IMF predicted global growth of 3.8% for this year. It now expects growth of 3.5%. The growth forecast for 2016 has also been cut by 0.3 percentage points, to 3.7%.

Unilever sales disappoint as buyers circle stricken Alpari:Unilever was in focus after it revealed lower than expected full-year sales, with the consumer goods group blaming a slowdown in demand from emerging markets. The maker of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream, Lipton tea and Dove soap, said sales fell 2.7% to £37bn. Analysts had expected a 3.1% rise.

Administrators called in to run currency trading firm Alpari UK say they have received a number of inquiries from potential buyers of the business. Alpari lost millions of dollars after the Swiss National Bank unpegged the Swiss franc from the euro last Friday.

Davos darlings insist on travelling in style:Billionaires and world leaders from across the globe are flying en masse to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and they insist on travelling in style.

According to CNN Money, roughly 1,700 private flights are expected over the course of the week, which is twice as many as normal. Traffic is expected to rise by 5% compared to last year's event.

Kam Patel

Kam is a former deputy editor at Hemscott Invest and online editor, City A.M and he was also previously the Digital Editor at IFA Magazine. Kam is currently a senior journalist at The Global Treasurer and contributes to MoneyWeek. Kam shares expertise on the FTSE 100, investing and global stocks.