Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
1. Apple has held talks with Visa about making its own pre-paid debit cards, Recode reported on Thursday. The pre-paid debit cards would tie into an unannounced service that would allow iPhone users to send money to each other digitally.
2. Swiss bank UBS kicked off 2017 with a 79% jump in net profit as a brighter outlook boosted its investment bank and client trading in its core wealth management business. Switzerland’s biggest bank and the world’s largest wealth manager said on Friday net profit for the first three months of 2017 was 1.3 billion Swiss francs (£1.01 billion), Reuters reports.
3. Marks & Spencer is to trial an online grocery shopping service this year, it said on Thursday, conceding it could no longer ignore the fastest growing segment of the market. For years M&S has resisted giving its customers the option of ordering food online for home delivery, saying it did not make economic sense for its offering, which is focused on the “food for tonight” market and tends to be small basket sizes.
4. Royal Bank of Scotland has reached a settlement with some of its shareholders over its controversial £12 billion rights issue in 2008, narrowing the outstanding legal claim against the lender to about £500 million. The Telegraph reports that the bank, which is 71% owned by the taxpayer, is scrambling to avoid a lengthy court battle with investors who claim they were misled about the lender’s financial health when it tapped them for cash, just months before its £45.5 billion bailout during the credit crunch.
5. UK GDP figures are coming. Preliminary estimates for first quarter GDP growth will be released by the ONS at 8.30 a.m. BST (3.30 a.m. ET). Economists are expecting growth of 2.2% compared to a year ago and growth of 0.4% on the previous quarter.
6. Anthony Levandowski, the head of Uber’s self-driving group, is stepping aside in the face of trade-theft accusations from his former employer, Waymo. In an email obtained by Business Insider, Levandowski said he will no longer be working on Lidar, the specialised radar sensors that autonomous vehicles rely on to map their surroundings and to navigate on their own.
7. Google’s parent company Alphabet beat earnings expectations on the top and bottom line for the first quarter. The stock was up more than 4% in after-hours trading.
8. Starbucks reported first-quarter earnings that showed profits in line with expectations but a miss on sales at stores open for at least one year. Comparable-store sales rose 3%, below analysts’ forecast for 3.6%, according to Bloomberg.
9. US stocks finished Thursday little changed as the Trump administration creeps closer to the psychologically important 100-day mark on Saturday. The Dow and S&P 500 held flat, while the Nasdaq climbed a bit into the green to a new all-time high.
10. Asian stocks aren’t up to much. Japan’s Nikkei stock market is down 0.33% at the time of writing (6.25 a.m. BST/1.25 a.m. ET), the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.27%, and China’s Shanghai Composite index is down 0.39%.
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