10 things you need to know in markets today

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

1. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made history as the first leader to cross over to South Korean soil since the Korean War ended in armistice in 1953. Kim is meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-In for a number of closed-door meetings. The two are likely to discuss pressing issues such as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

2. Amazon’s first-quarter profits blew through analysts’ expectations, thanks to surging sales in its North American retail, cloud-computing, and advertising businesses.The company’s profit beat Wall Street’s forecast by a whopping $US2 a share as its operating income came in much better than it had forecast at the end of last quarter.

3. At the same time, the results showed that Amazon is quietly becoming a major player in the advertising business.In the first quarter, the e-commerce giant recorded more than $US2 billion in “other” revenue, which largely consists of ad sales, the company announced Thursday. That amount was up a whopping 139% from the same period a year earlier.

4. It’s shares hit an all-time high after the e-commerce giant reported first-quarter earnings that crushed expectations.The stock spiked more than 7% to trade at around $US1,630.

5. Microsoft turned in a solid quarter that topped analyst expectations on Thursday, but it was the tech giant’s optimistic business forecast for the final quarter of its fiscal year that drew cheers from Wall Street.Shares of Microsoft were up more than 3% in after hours trading on Thursday as company executives expressed confidence in the continued growth of its cloud computing business.

6. The European Central Bank reaffirmed its ultra-easy policy stance on Thursday, promising to keep rates steady until after the end of bond buys and maintaining a pledge to extend the purchases, if necessary. The ECB kept rates at record lows and confirmed that quantitative easing bond purchases would continue at 30 billion euros ($US36.5 billion) a month until at least end-September or until it saw a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation.

7. Airbus posted a slender first-quarter profit after delays in engine deliveries for its A320neo passenger jet, and it also cut production of the larger A330 due to weak demand.Europe’s largest aerospace group reported an adjusted quarterly operating profit of 14 million euros ($US17 million), compared with a restated year-earlier loss of 19 million. Revenues fell 12 per cent to 10.119 billion euros. Airbus reaffirmed forecasts.

8. U.S. wireless carriers T-Mobile US and Sprint have made progress in negotiating merger terms and are aiming to successfully complete deal talks as early as next week. T-Mobile majority-owner Deutsche Telekom and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp , which controls Sprint, are considering an agreement that would dictate how they exercise voting control over the combined company.

9. Citigroup has tapped Sara Wechter to be the head of human resources for its 209,000 employees – a title that hands an up-and-coming executive a seat on the firm’s most powerful management committee.CEO Mike Corbat said Wechter, his chief of staff, would replace Mike Murray, according to an internal memo.

10. The U.S. government may start scrutinizing informal partnerships between American and Chinese companies in the field of artificial intelligence, threatening practices that have long been considered garden variety development work for technology companies, sources familiar with the discussions said.So far, U.S. government reviews for national security and other concerns have been limited to investment deals and corporate takeovers.

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