10 things you need to know before European markets open

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

1. European Union leaders are ready to hand Theresa May an olive branch in deadlocked Brexit negotiations next week by launching their own internal preparations for a transition to a new relationship with Britain. A draft statement which was prepared for next Friday’s talks and sent out for approval on Thursday to the 27 other EU governments made final Brussels’ rejection of opening free trade talks.

2. According to China’s General Administration of Customs, imports grew by 18.7% in the year to September in US dollar terms, accelerating upon the 13.3% level of August. It easily surpassed market expectations for an increase of 13.5%.

3. Lufthansa agreed to buy parts of insolvent German airline Air Berlin for around 210 million euros ($US248.72 million), Air Berlin said. The deal includes Air Berlin’s Austrian leisure travel airline Niki, its LG Walter regional airline and 20 further aircraft, its said in a statement, adding that the purchase price was subject to adjustments upon closing.

4. Citigroup reported a 7.6% increase in quarterly profit from a gain on an asset sale, lower costs and better-than-expected trading revenue. The fourth-biggest U.S. bank by assets said that net income rose to $US4.13 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 from $US3.84 billion a year earlier.

5. Wells Fargo, the third-biggest US bank by assets, named Mike Roemer chief compliance officer. Roemer, who joins from Barclays, will take charge in January, the company said.

6. A majority of independent votes cast at the annual shareholders’ meeting of Sky supported the re-election of James Murdoch as chairman. Ahead of the meeting some shareholders had said they were planning to oppose Murdoch’s re-election because they did not believe he could effectively represent independent investors as he is also chief executive of Twenty-First Century Fox.

7. Deutsche Telekom tested Europe’s first ultra high speed 5G antennas on Thursday. Europe’s biggest telecoms provider said showed it was ready for a global launch of the technology by 2020, but it still leaves the continent lagging behind South Korea and Japan.

8. Airlines are still seeking answers from Britain as to future flying rights, with less than a year to go until they start selling tickets in a post-Brexit world, industry executives said. “Airlines sell tickets 300 days out, so they are about six to eight months away from needing some certainty,” Michael Whitaker, principal of Whitaker Airspace, said.

9. Goldman Sachs wants to expand its investment bank in Switzerland and is in the process of upgrading its trading operations in Zurich to a branch from a representative office, Reuters reported. The bank hopes to receive the approval for the switch from Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority, FINMA, next year, Reuters said.

10. Accenture was appointed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to manage and develop a blockchain-based platform for interbank payments. The project aims to improve how central banks and financial institutions deal with the settlement of payments, Accenture said in a statement.

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