10 things you need to know in markets today

Paul Colgan

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

1. After six years of losses, Aston Martin swung to a pretax profit in 2017. The results fuelled speculation of a potential stock market listing.

2. US state and Canadian regulators have opened “as many as 70 investigations” into cryptocurrency scams, according to The Washington Post. The investigations are aimed at unregistered securities offerings and initial coin offerings that promise significant returns without informing investors of the risks.

3. China is considering ending the limits it sets on the number of children a family can have, Bloomberg reported on Monday.China’s population is ageing rapidly, with the number of births falling by 3.5% to 17.23 million last year despite the country’s decision in late 2015 to relax the controversial “one-child” policy and allow couples to have a second child.

4. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would impose the “strongest sanctions in history” against the Iranian leadership.Pompeo laid out 12 demands for Iran and said relief from sanctions would only come when Washington had seen tangible shifts in Iran’s policies.

5. BP shareholders approved Chief Executive Bob Dudley’s 2017 remuneration package by a more than 96% majority.Dudley’s remuneration rose by 13% to $US13.4 million last year as the oil and gas giant’s profit more than doubled and production soared.

6. Britain is unlikely to refer Comcast’s bid for Sky for a full investigation after deciding that the deal did not raise public concerns about media ownership.Media minister Matt Hancock said however that he would give interested parties until May 24 to respond before giving his final decision.

7. Private equity firm Blackstone said it would buy US hotel owner LaSalle Hotel Properties for $US3.7 billion. The figure tops a rival bid from Pebblebrook Hotel Trust for $US3.5 billion.

8. Members of Spanish left-wing party Podemos will submit its leadership to a confidence vote after the party leader bought a house for over €600,000 euros ($US705,000) near Madrid. Critics have denounced party head Pablo Iglesias and his partner, Podemos’ spokeswoman Irene Montero, as hypocrites, saying they were betraying their leftwing principles.

9. Sony will pay about $US2.3 billion to gain control of EMI, becoming the world’s biggest music publisher in an industry that has found new life in streaming services. The acquisition, which gives Sony a catalogue of more than 2 million songs from artists such as Kanye West, Sam Smith and Sia, is the biggest so far by new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida.

10. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said employees at the company’s production plant haven’t unionized because “they just don’t want to.” “They can form a union whenever they want & there’s nothing I can do to stop them.”

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