10 things you need to know in markets today

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

1. Colombian President-elect Ivan Duque on Wednesday named Alberto Carrasquilla as his finance minister when he takes office in August. He said he and the central bank agreed on the need to bolster economic growth and strengthen the middle class.

2. Washington repeated a warning to Western firms invested in Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany that they were at risk of sanctions, and said Moscow was using the project to divide Europe. “We have been clear that firms working in the Russian energy export pipeline sector are engaging in a line of business that carries sanctions risk,” a spokesman for the U.S. State Department told Reuters.

3. Broadcom Ltd is nearing a roughly $US19 billion deal to acquire business software company CA Inc. The deal would come just four months after U.S. President Donald Trump blocked Broadcom’s $US117 billion hostile bid for semiconductor peer Qualcomm Inc, on the grounds that it posed a threat to U.S. national security.

4. General Electric’s chief executive for Latin America took part in a medical equipment price-fixing scheme while at the conglomerate, making it a member of an international health-care cartel, according to allegations in a document filed by federal prosecutors. The executive, Daurio Speranzini Jr., was one of 20 people jailed last week in what prosecutors say was an arrangement among multinational companies Philips, Johnson & Johnson, and several others.

5. The European Union must set mandatory rules to tackle child labour and deforestation in the cocoa and coffee sectors, stakeholders and policymakers said on Wednesday. As a top importer of cocoa and coffee, the bloc must take firmer action to tackle child labour and forest degradation in these supply chains, speakers told a European Parliament hearing on the issue.

6. It is not coming home. Only four years until the next one.

7. The U.S. is on pace to leapfrog both Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s biggest oil producer. The latest data released by the Energy Information Administration shows U.S. output growing again next year to 11.8 million barrels a day.

8. The European Central Bank said Wednesday it is taking further steps to address the problem of bad loans burdening bank finances and clogging the flow of credit to the economy. The ECB said it would set expectations for each financial institution on putting aside adequate cash reserves to cover business loans that aren’t likely to be repaid on time or in full.

9. The European Union’s top banking watchdog has found “general and systematic shortcomings” in Malta’s application of EU anti-money-laundering rules. The European Banking Authority’s criticism came as it concluded an enquiry into the way Malta’s anti-money laundering watchdog the Maltese Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), investigated alleged wrongdoings at Pilatus Bank, a lender on the island.

10. Hedge fund Tiger Global has built a stake worth more than $US1 billion in Japan’s Softbank Group which it considers to be under-valued.Tiger, which runs around $US22 billion in assets, told investors in a letter that tech and telecoms conglomerate Softbank’s stock price had not increased over the last five years, even though its holding in Chinese online giant Alibaba had added more than $US90 billion in value.

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