Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Wednesday.
The Panama Papers have claimed their first victim. Iceland’s prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, has resigned over revelations contained in the Panama Papers that he and his wife hid millions of dollars worth of investments in an offshore shell company.
The minutes of the latest US Federal Reserve FOMC meeting are released on Wednesday. The minutes of the central bank’s March meeting are released at 7:00 p.m GMT (2:00 p.m. ET)
China’s services sector grew more quickly in March. The great hope for China’s economic future — the nation’s vast services sector — showed renewed signs of life in March. The latest Caixin-Markit services purchasing manager’s index (PMI) rose to 52.2, up from 51.2 in March, indicating that activity levels accelerated at a faster pace last month.
Vladmir Putin can only win 2018’s Russian elections if he distracts people from the country’s struggling economy. According to Viktor Szabo, a senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, Putin will have to distract attention away from a shrinking economy to gain the support of citizens in the 2018 elections.
The man at the heart of efforts to save the UK’s steel industry has set out his demands of the government. Sanjeev Gupta, founder of commodities group Liberty House, told the Financial Times that for him to buy Tata Steel’s operations, Britain’s government will have to remove pension and environmental liabilities on the Port Talbot plant, and provide lower power costs for plants.
A major pharmaceuticals merger is off the table. Pfizer has decided to terminate its £113 billion ($160 billion) merger with Allergan, according to Bloomberg. Bloomberg cites a person familiar with the matter. The deal’s abandonment marks an end to the largest-ever health-care acquisition. The news was first reported by CNBC.
The boss of Air France-KLM is stepping down. CEO Alexandre de Juniac will step down from his post in July. The French airline CEO is set to become the new head of the International Air Transport Association — an airline industry trade group based in Montreal.
Goldman Sachs dominated the dealmaking market in Q1. Goldman worked on eight of the top 10 M&A deals announced in Q1, according to Dealogic, including ChemChina’s $48 billion bid for Syngenta and Johnson Controls’ $16.6 deal for Tyco International. That helped the bank rank number one for M&A volumes.
Barclays has become the first big UK bank to back a digital currency firm. Barclays has become the first big British bank to form a partnership with a digital currency firm, social payments app Circle, which runs partly on bitcoin’s blockchain network and launched in the UK on Wednesday.
The merger between Virgin American and Alaska Air could give Asian airlines a big boost. Reuters reports that Alaska Air Group’s plan to buy Virgin America makes the company a more attractive partner to Asian airlines looking for extra revenue from connecting passengers to flights within the United States, industry executives and experts say.