Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Wednesday.
1. American prosecutors have joined the widening inquiry into an attempt by the boss of Barclays to unmask a whistleblower, reports the Times. The US Department of Justice is the latest agency to investigate Barclays and Jes Staley, its chief executive, as it examines whether he and other senior directors of the bank broke rules put in place to protect whistleblowers.
2. Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, faces a crucial test this week when it delivers full-year result on Wednesday. It has given guidance that group operating profits before tax will be at least £1.2 billion. The chain’s planned merger with food wholesaler Booker is facing pressure from two key shareholders and Bernstein’s retail analyst Bruno Monteyne says “results need to impress to keep the deal on track.”
3. Donald Trump said the US would not enter the Syrian civil war, in a bid to clarify his policy in the wake of confusion that followed his missile strike on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, reports the FT. Speaking to Fox News, the US president said America was “not going into Syria.”
4. Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was left embarrassed on Tuesday evening after his demands for fresh sanctions against Russia over its backing for Assad were publicly rebuffed by European allies, reports the Times. Meanwhile, all but one of Europe’s major stock indexes lost ground on Tuesday as geopolitical tensions across the globe continued to escalate, pushing investors away from riskier stocks and into safe havens.
5. Asian markets are down amid ongoing geopolitical tension in the Korean Peninsula. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 1.29% — also due to a spike in the yen against the dollar — while the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.19% at 6.30 a.m. BST (1.25 a.m. ET), and China’s Shanghai Composite is down 0.2% at the same time.
6. The UK’s Office For National Statistics publishes unemployment figures at 9.30 a.m. BST (4.30 a.m. ET). It is expected to confirm that unemployment for the three months to February remained at the 4.7% rate it reached at the start of the year.
7. Activity in the eurozone’s industrial sector unexpectedly fell in February, dampening prospects for robust economic growth after the publication of several recent upbeat economic indicators in the single currency bloc, reports the Times. Industrial output in the eurozone fell by 0.3 per cent in February compared with January and rose by 1.2 per cent year-on-year, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s official statistics agency. Both were lower than economists had been expecting.
8. Brits are cutting down on clothing, household, and other non-food spending as Brexit inflation drives up food prices.The British Retail Consortium (BRC) on Tuesday announced that total sales fell 1% in March compared to the same month a year earlier. It marks the first decline since August last year.
9. FTSE bosses are rallying against Prime Minister Theresa May’s preoccupation with Brexit, according to an FT report. One FTSE boss said he had not had a single meeting with Theresa May since she took office last year. Mrs May and her ministers were “completely preoccupied” by Brexit, he said, and it was not clear if they had the “bandwidth” to deal with anything else.
10. A senior regulator at Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is concerned that other regulators around the world could be letting fintech startups operate under “wild west” standards of regulation that could leave customers out of pocket. Christopher Woolard, the FCA’s director of strategy and competition, said in a speech earlier this week that that some regulators are using “sandboxes” to let fintech companies operate with little or no supervision.
More from Business Insider UK:
- Trump appears to back away from Steve Bannon in a new interview
- DALIO: ‘I don’t think we’re going to have a radical change in the economy’
- Intelligence documents suggest no smoking gun in Trump’s wiretapping claims
- Samsung’s new Siri rival won’t be fully functional when the Galaxy S8 launches
- Fox News executives are reportedly debating whether Bill O’Reilly should keep his job