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Sometimes, even British intelligence struggles to maintain a stiff upper lip.

In a rare public statement GCHQ has slapped down claims that President Donald Trump was spied on by the British intelligence agency during his election campaign.

The agency spoke out to call the claims “nonsense” after Mr Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer repeated comments made by a Fox news analyst that Barack Obama had used GCHQ to tap Trump Tower. Mr Trump made the original wiretapping claim in a tweet earlier this month.

Markets were quiet in Asian trading as the dollar found a floor, Treasuries notched up marginal gains, and crude prices steadied after two days of tumult spurred by the US Federal Reserve’s move to raise interest rates on Wednesday.

Asia Pacific equities were mixed as the week drew to a close, with Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2 per cent, Tokyo’s Topix index off 0.4 per cent and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong up 0.2 per cent.

Futures tip both the FTSE 100 and the S&P 500 to drop 0.1 per cent when their respective markets open in London and New York.

Corporate earnings reports out today include GBL, Fraport, Pargesa and Eurazeo.

The economic calendar for Friday is not without its charms (all times London):

  • 09.00: Italy trade balance
  • 10.00: eurozone trade balance and construction output
  • 11.00: Poland producer price inflation, retail sales, industrial output
  • 14.00: Belgium consumer confidence

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