10 things you need to know before European markets open

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

1. Pro-European campaigners accused ministers of failing to take preparations for Brexit seriously enough, after a committee of lawmakers published the government’s sector-by-sector analysis on the impact of leaving the European Union. The analyses have become a focal point for critics of the government’s approach to Brexit since last year’s referendum vote to leave.

2. Workers at Amazon’s main logistics hub in Italy refused to work overtime during the current peak season for making deliveries. On Wednesday workers at the Castel San Giovanni plant, near Piacenza, cut short every shift by two hours as a series of protest meeting were held throughout the day, FILCAMS CGIL union leader Fiorenzo Molinari told Reuters.

3. OPEC has started working on plans for an exit strategy from its deal to cut supplies with non-member producers. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other non-OPEC producers on Nov. 30 extended an oil output-cutting deal until the end of 2018 to finish clearing a glut.

4. Gaming company Veltyco saw its stock price leap higher on Thursday after telling investors it has “commenced discussions with blockchain and cryptocurrency providers” about potential partnerships. Veltyco, which provides online marketing services to gaming companies, said it hopes to create a cryptocurrency wallet that it can market to its customers.

5. Super-wealthy property developers and brothers Nick Candy and Christian Candy have won a £132 million court case against their former friend and fellow developer Mark Holyoake.The long-running court battle saw Holyoake accuse the pair of blackmail, extortion, and intimidation in relation to a complex London property deal that turned sour.

6. Shares of The Long Island Iced Tea Corporation soared as much as 432% pre-market after the company said it would change it’s name to Long Blockchain Corp. The company will continue to sell its line of bottled drinks based on the eponymous cocktail, it said, but its parent company “is shifting its primary corporate focus towards the exploration of and investment in opportunities that leverage the benefits of blockchain technology,” according to a press release.

7. US sanctions imposed on five Russians and Chechens are grotesque and groundless, and Moscow will hit back with tit-for-tat sanctions, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.The US Treasury imposed the new sanctions on the five people, including on Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov, for alleged human rights abuses.

8. Renewal of Swiss stock exchanges’ temporary access to the European Union depends on Bern reaching a deal with Brussels on a new treaty to govern relations.All EU governments except for Britain approved a European Commission proposal to recognise shares trading on the SIX Swiss Exchange and BX Swiss as equivalent to exchanges based in the EU and vice versa for one year from Jan. 3.

9. Bitcoin has found itself on the end of another vicious sell-off, adding to the substantial losses this week.After hitting a record high of nearly $US20,000 just a few days ago, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation fell to as low as $US13,300 before rebounding back to around $US15,000.

10. Eric Schmidt, who helped oversee Google’s rise from a search startup to a global behemoth, is stepping down as the executive chairman of Alphabet, the search giant’s parent company.The change will be effective as of the company’s next regular board meeting, in January, Alphabet said in a statement on Thursday.

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