10 things you need to know before European markets open

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

1. Italy’s antitrust watchdog said it had opened a probe into thousands of flight cancellations by Ryanair, which it said the low-cost airline could have prevented. Ryanair is bracing for reputational damage and up to €20 million ($US24 million) in compensation claims after suddenly scrapping flights across Europe over staffing issues.

2. Japan’s Toshiba agreed to sell its prized semiconductor business to a group led by US private equity firm Bain Capital. Toshiba said it had signed a contract for the deal worth about 2 trillion yen ($US18 billion).

3. Switzerland’s putative new foreign minister called for a fresh start to talks cementing ties with the European Union, the neutral country’s most important trading partner. Parliament elected Ignazio Cassis, 56, as the first minister in 18 years from the Italian-speaking Swiss canton of Ticino.

4. Venezuela should put its state oil company PDVSA intoUS bankruptcy protection and then default on an estimated $US63 billion of bond obligations, said the lead adviser to Greece during the country’s debt restructuring. Mark Walker said that Venezuela should prioritise using oil export revenues to remedy social chaos rather than keeping its debt repayments whole.

5. The S&P 500 and the Dow ended slightly higher on Wednesday, adding to their string of closing records. The Federal Reserve signalled it expects another interest rate hike by year-end and disclosed timing for reducing its balance sheet.

6. Japan’s Nikkei share average rose on Thursday, boosted by gains on Wall Street and a weaker yen. The Nikkei was up 0.8% at the end of morning trading at 20,479.88 points, its highest since August 2015.

7. BlackRock portfolio manager Rick Rieder said that investors should look for the European Central Bank to withdraw some of its stimulus beginning early next year. “We think at the next meeting they will announce a taper,” or a wind-down in the ECB bond-buying program, said Rieder.

8. Brazil’s President Michel Temer said that state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro, a symbol of national sovereignty, would remain under government control. Temer said that sprawling investigations that have led to corruption charges against scores of powerful figures — including him — show that Brazil’s governmental institutions are independent and working well.

9. Warren Buffett is still bullish on the long-term outlook for US stocks. The billionaire investor said he expects the index to be “over 1 million” in a hundred years. He was speaking at an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of Forbes magazine.

10. Stocks keep climbing and climbing, but Michael Bloomberg isn’t sure why. “I cannot for the life of me understand why the market keeps going up,” the former New York City mayor said in an interview with CBS News’ Anthony Mason.

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