10 things you need to know before European markets open

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.

1. China is creating a consortium, including state-owned oil giants, banks and its sovereign wealth fund, to invest in the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, according to Reuters. Saudi Aramco is due to list next year, with a potential $US100 billion equity sale that is expected to be the world’s largest to date.

2. UK MPs voted by 522 to 13 in favour of an early general election, easily passing the two-thirds majority threshold required under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act. Labour MPs who backed the motion were ridiculed by Conservative MP Desmond Swayne for being “turkeys [who] vote for Christmas” following a string of opinion polls showing May is on course to win a landslide election victory.

3. Sainsbury’s, Britain’s second largest supermarket group, is aiming to for a slice of the growing “Athleisure” casual sports clothing market through a partnership with US brand Russell Athletic. Sainsbury’s already sells clothing under the Tu own brand, but has stepped up diversification away from its traditional base in food retailing.

4. Britain is losing up to £1 billion a year in value added tax because of fraud or error by sellers using online marketplaces eBay and Amazon. The National Audit Office said that consumer regulator Trading Standards had found the had failed to remove sellers that were flouting VAT rules, even after being informed of the sellers’ non-compliance.

5. China said that Interpol has issued a “red notice” for Guo Wengui, a real estate kingpin and outspoken critic of the ruling Communist Party. “What we understand is that Interpol has already issued a ‘red notice’ for criminal suspect Guo Wengui,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing without giving details.

6. The World Bank stands ready to assist Venezuela if the government asks for help in dealing with a punishing economic crisis, the bank’s top executive for Latin America said. Jorge Familiar, World Bank vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, said that the bank has had no engagement with Venezuela since it paid off past loans in 2008 under the late former President Hugo Chavez.

7. Morgan Stanley delivered earnings of $US1 a share on revenue of $US9.7 billion in the first three months of 2017. The results were well ahead of analyst estimates. Analysts expected earnings of $US0.90 a share on revenue of $US9.3 billion, according to Bloomberg.

8. BlackRock reported a 31% rise in quarterly profit helped by higher investment advisory fees and securities lending revenue. The world’s biggest asset manager ended the quarter with $US5.4 trillion in assets under management, up from the preceding quarter, when managed assets totaled $US5.1 trillion.

9. Despite the danger of excessive internet use and the threat of bullying, most teenagers around the world are “relatively” happy with their lot, a major OECD survey showed. Asked to rate their satisfaction with life on a scale of 0 to 10, some 370,000 15-year-olds gave a mean score of 7.3, the Paris-based group said.

10. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet Donald Trump in May after the US president congratulated the Turkish leader for winning a referendum on enhancing his powers.“We will determine a date for the two presidents to meet in May before the NATO summit as previously confirmed by the leaders,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara.

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