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Brussels has already started to give the UK the cold shoulder with European Commission officials telling staff to shut out British companies from contracts – and encouraging businesses to open offices in the EU to hold onto operating permits.

The internal memo sent the week after Theresa May triggered Article 50 also told agencies to prepare to “disconnect” the UK from sensitive databases.

And then there’s the small matter of policies left in limbo after Mrs May called for a snap election for June.

However it was a rosier picture on Thursday for markets in Asia Pacific with Japan’s Topix index posting the largest gain, being up 0.6 per cent following data showing the country’s exports and imports for March beat expectations. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.3 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.4 per cent while China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.1 per cent with the Shenzhen Composite flat.

The pound is up 0.2 per cent at $1.2808, making it the second best performing major currency behind the New Zealand dollar which is 0.5 per cent stronger against the US dollar at $0.7037, following data showing inflation hit the central bank’s target for the first time since 2011.

Futures tip the FTSE 100 to open down 0.1 per cent and the S&P 500 is tipped to open up 0.1 per cent later in New York.

Corporate results for Thursday include Nestle at 06.15 (all times London), followed at 07.00 by first quarter results from Unilever, half year results from Debenhams, first quarter results from Man Group and results for the nine months to March from Sky. Pernod Ricard will announce its third quarter results at 08.00 and first quarter results from ABB are also expected this morning.

The economic calendar is on the lighter side today, with German PPI at 07.00.

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