Equities rose yesterday, with staples and telecom outperforming. The FTSE 100, gained 0.2%. Mining stocks underperformed, as iron ore prices continue to drop due to Chinese demand fears.

Today, the energy sector dropped by 0.9% as oil prices declined for a second consecutive day after a report showed an increase in U.S. crude stockpiles. Bank stocks also lagged, falling by 0.8%.

DS Smith shares jumped by 7.7% after the company confirmed talks with International Paper regarding an all-stock buyout valued at 5.72 billion pounds ($7.22 billion).

Diploma PLC's shares soared by 10.8% after announcing its acquisition of Peerless Aerospace Fastener for 236 million pounds ($297.88 million).

AstraZeneca reported two drug approvals in Japan, with Beyfortus approved for treating respiratory syncytial virus in infants and children, and Truqap, in combination with Faslodex, approved for certain forms of breast cancer.

Playtech, a gambling software development company, reported a more than doubled profit in 2023 and expressed confidence in growth opportunities.

S4 Capital, a digital advertising and marketing services firm, reported a narrowed loss for 2023 but saw a decline in revenue amid economic challenges and client caution.

In currency markets, the yen reached a 34-year low against the dollar following the Bank of Japan's interest rate hike, signaling a shift from its ultra-loose monetary policy.

Investors are also monitoring geopolitical tensions and production cuts by OPEC, which could impact oil prices. With the next OPEC meeting approaching, market participants are looking for signs that could indicate changes in production quotas.  

They are awaiting the  U.S. personal consumption expenditure price index (PCE), the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge, due on Friday when most global markets will be closed for the Good Friday holiday.

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