Morning Round-Up: Oil and Asia up, Glaxo CEO Witty to step down

Oil up again on positive sentiment

Oil rose again on Thursday, continuing gains made on Wednesday after plans were solidified between major exporters to agree an output freeze.

The world’s biggest producers – currently excluding Iran – are in support of holding a meeting to keep production at current levels – perhaps creating the first global supply deal in 15 years. Sinking oil prices and a lack of demand has caused producers to take action.

Sentiment has risen on the back of this possibility, with US crude CLc1 up 77 cents at $39.23 a barrel before 0800GMT, following on from Wednesday’s gains.

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Witty to step down

GlaxoSmithKline veteran CEO Andrew Witty has announced his intention to step down in 2017, after 10 years at the helm of the company.

Starting as a management trainee and remaining with the company for 32 years, felt now was the time to leave:

“By next year, I will have been CEO for nearly 10 years and I believe this will be the right time for a new leader to take over”, Witty said.

His departure will no doubt leave a period of uncertainty for the group, with has been hit by flagging sales and calls for the breaking up of the company into smaller units. A minority of shareholders have backed this plan, including UK fund manager Neil Woodford, but Witty has always argued that it is not something to consider in the short term.

Last month, GSK saw sales rise 2 percent to £6.29 billion for the three months to December, but disclosed a pre-tax loss of £416 million. Shares in the group rose at open this morning, but have since fallen to -0.28 percent at 1408.00 (0927GMT).

Asian shares up

Asian shares had a strong day on Thursday, with most indexes closing positive after an increase in investor sentiment and the falling of the dollar.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS climbed to a two-month high and was last up 1.9 percent.

The Hang Seng was up 1.21 percent, the Shanghai Composite up 1.20 percent and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.9 percent.




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