Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
1. Asian stock markets fell on Friday amid heightened global trade tensions, while currency markets were whipsawed by a searing sell off in Russia’s rouble and as economic worries sent the Turkish lira tumbling. Washington said it would impose fresh sanctions because it had determined that Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian agent and his daughter in Britain, which the Kremlin denies.
2. The pound’s extended slump continued on Friday as it fell to a fresh low against the dollar. Sterling is down 0.27% against the dollar to $US1.2792 at 7.30 a.m. BST (2.30 a.m. ET), marking a fresh 11-month low.
3. Russia would consider it an economic war if the United States imposed a ban on banks or a particular currency, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday, the TASS state news agency said. “I would not like to comment on talks about future sanctions, but I can say one thing: If some ban on banks’ operations or on the use of one or another currency follows, it would be possible to clearly call it a declaration of economic war,” Medvedev said.
4. Investors are pulling billions of dollars out of Europe. Investors have pulled $US35 billion from European equities this year and $US51 billion from European funds, according to Barclays data.
5. Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm is settling an antitrust case brought against it by Taiwan regulators by paying T$2.73 billion ($US89 million), the island’s Fair Trade Commission said on Friday. The commission said Qualcomm also agreed to bargain in good faith with other chip and phone makers in patent-licensing deals.
6. A divided federal appeals court on Thursday ordered the US Environmental Protection Agency to ban a widely-used pesticide that critics say can harm children and farmers. The 2-1 decision by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle overturned former EPA commissioner Scott Pruitt’s March 2017 denial of a petition by environmental groups to ban the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
7. Blockchain company Soluna plans to build a 900-megawatt wind farm to power a computing center in Dakhla in the Morocco-administered Western Sahara, its chief executive John Belizaire said in an interview.Work on the initial off-grid phase will start in 2019 and complete a year later, with the possibility of connecting the site to the national grid, Belizaire told Reuters.
8. Ryanair is bracing for its biggest-ever one-day strike on Friday with pilots based in five European countries set to walk out, forcing the cancellation of about one in six of its daily flights at the height of the holiday season. Ryanair, which averted widespread strikes before Christmas by agreeing to recognise unions for the first time in its 30-year history, has been unable to quell rising protests since over slow progress in negotiating collective labour agreements.
9. Mercedes-Benz sports utility vehicles built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, are being checked for potential problems by Shanghai customs authorities, Daimler confirmed on Thursday.Mercedes-Benz GLE and GLS models, built in the United States between May 4 and June 12, 2018, have a brake issue which poses a “safety risk,” according to a Chinese customs document circulating on Chinese social media.
10. Dropbox reported its second-ever earnings as a public company on Thursday. The company beat Wall Street’s expectations on revenue and earnings per share but the stock slid on news of Chief Operating Officer Dennis Woodside’s impending departure.
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