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1. Japanese stocks were flat in choppy trade on Thursday morning as geopolitical concerns over North Korea’s threats of missile strikes receded. Financial stocks underperformed after US Treasury yields fell as bond prices rose in a flight to safety by nervous investors.
2. Inflation in Venezuela’s crisis-hit economy quickened to 248.6% in the first seven months of the year, the opposition-led congress said in the absence of official data. Economic hardship in Venezuela, where there are severe food shortages, is fuelling unrest that has led to over 120 deaths in the last four months.
3. Toshiba secured its auditor’s sign-off on its financial results, likely avoiding an immediate delisting, although its future hung in the balance with no progress in talks to sell its chips business. Toshiba said on Thursday that PriceWaterhouseCoopers Aarata had given a “qualified opinion” on its results for the year through March. That means it broadly vouched for Toshiba’s book-keeping despite finding minor problems.
4. Toyota will push back the start of operations at its scheduled new plant in Mexico, to the first half of 2020 from the initial plan of 2019, the company said on Thursday. Japan’s top automaker had initially planned to start building the Corolla sedan at the $US1 billion Guanajuato plant but said last week it would switch production to a new US factory to be built with Mazda.
5. New York State’s three new commercial casinos are turning out much weaker gambling revenues than projected, with gross receipts at one gaming hall off about 40%. So far New York has received $US50.2 million from the three casinos, said gambling industry officials. They did not specify how much tax revenue, which goes to education and property tax relief, the state had expected to get from the three casinos this year.
6. Oil futures rose in early Asian trading on Thursday, adding to gains from the previous session after official figures showed US crude inventories fell more than expected. US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 8 cents, or 0.2%, at $US49.64, after rising 0.8% in the previous session.
7. Goldman Sachs plans to begin using a “personality test” as part of the hiring process for positions in its banking, trading and finance and risk divisions, a senior Goldman executive said. The bank will begin piloting the test on U.S. summer intern candidates who would be starting in 2018, Matt Jahansouz, Goldman’s global head of recruiting, said in an interview.
8. France’s National Assembly adopted a bill meant to help clean up national politics after hard-fought debates over a clause scrapping lawmakers’ constituency funds, which critics say encourage clientelism. The bill is the second of two on public ethics — a key theme for President Emmanuel Macron during the election campaign.
9. Rupert Murdoch-controlled Twenty-First Century Fox reported a 1.5% rise in quarterly revenue, boosted by its cable business. The owner of Fox News and 20th Century Fox movie studio said revenue increased to $US6.75 billion in the fourth quarter ended June 30 from $US6.65 billion a year earlier.
10. The European Union has proposed that Britons living in the bloc after Brexit will only have the right to stay in the country where they are resident when Britain leaves, Brexit minister David Davis said. The future rights of UK nationals living in the EU and EU nationals living in Britain is one of the issues the EU wants to settle in the first stage negotiations. Only then will it move on to talks over the future trading relationship.
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