10 things you need to know before European markets open

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

1. The US Securities and Exchange Commission is scrutinizing public companies that change their name or business model in a bid to capitalise upon the hype surrounding blockchain technology. Dozens of little-known companies across the globe have seen their share prices leap in recent months after unveiling plans to enter the bitcoin industry or that of its underlying distributed ledger blockchain technology.

2. The global economy and geopolitical tensions are taking a back seat to a more immediate problem at this year’s Davos summit of political and business leaders: heavy snow is burying the venue. Part of the main train line into Davos had been buried in snow over the weekend, forcing people onto buses, and helicopters were disrupted by poor visibility.

3. Netflix added more international subscribers than expected in the fourth quarter. Netflix signed up 6.36 million subscribers internationally, compared with the average analyst estimate of 5.1 million, according to data and analytics firm FactSet.

4. France will hire an extra 95 customs officers this year to cope with the consequences of Brexit on its borders, officials said on Monday.In a sign that European countries were now taking concrete steps to deal with a possible return to customs checks on British trade, French customs have already advertised the new positions on their website.

5. George Weah, the former international soccer star who won the presidency of Liberia last month, promised a crackdown on corruption as he was sworn in. Thousands of exuberant supporters and regional presidents and dignitaries packed into a stadium in the capital Monrovia to watch as Weah, who rose from the city’s slums to become one of Africa’s greatest footballers, took the oath of office.

6. Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco said it will cut a net 800 jobs from its UK business in its latest move to simplify operations and achieve targeted cost savings.The supermarket group said the role of “people manager” and “compliance manager” will be removed from large UK stores and fulfillment centres.

7. The recently hired chief executive of Uber said that he was focused on what he called “responsible growth” as he seeks to put an end to the take-no-prisoners’ culture he inherited in joining the company.Speaking at a technology conference in Munich, Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said he was “focused on going from growth-at-all-costs to responsible growth.”

8. Nordea has forbidden all its roughly 31,000 employees from trading in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin due to high risks. The Nordic region’s biggest bank said the ban will be imposed from Feb. 28.

9. Deutsche Boerse has launched an index that tracks companies that are leaders in artificial intelligence by using an algorithm to identify early adopters of the technology.Companies in the index include Apple, Deutsche Telekom, Bank of America and Facebook, the German stock exchange operator said.

10. Activist investor Third Point called on the board of Swiss company Nestle to clarify its corporate strategy and speed up the disposal of “ill-fitting businesses.” Third Point, founded by investor Dan Loeb, also said Nestle could accelerate and even expand its share buyback programme, the letter showed.

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