10 things you need to know in markets today

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.

1. Federal Reserve policymakers broadly agree that U.S. interest rates should rise further this year and next, despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s displeasure with such a plan, two policymakers’ comments underscored on Thursday.“Based on what I see today, I think two more rate hikes could be appropriate,” along with several more next year as the Fed aims to move interest rates to a neutral setting of about 3 per cent, Kansas City Fed Bank President Esther George told Bloomberg TV.

2. Microsoft is being investigated by U.S. authorities over potential bribery and corruption related to software sales in Hungary, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.The U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are probing how Microsoft sold its software such as Word and Excel to middleman firms in Hungary at steep discounts, the report said.

3. China will keep hitting back at Washington as more U.S. trade tariffs are imposed, but its counter-strikes will remain as targeted as possible to avoid harming businesses in China – whether Chinese or foreign, Finance Minister Liu Kun said. For now the impact of the China-U.S. “trade frictions” on the Chinese economy has been small, but he is concerned about potential job losses and lost livelihoods.

4. Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo has set up a subsidiary in Shanghai, according to a business registration filing, the latest sign that the U.S. internet giant is attempting to make new inroads into China. Waymo established a wholly-owned company called Huimo Business Consulting (Shanghai) Co on May 22 in Shanghai’s free trade zone with registered capital of 3.5 million yuan ($US509,165), according to China’s National Enterprise Information Publicity System.

5. Britain’s biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover has given the go-ahead to production of an electric version of its E-type sports car with first deliveries planned for the summer of 2020, the company said on Thursday.Jaguar Classic, a unit of the UK-based automaker which restores vintage Jaguar cars, will convert the vehicles to electric power at its Classic Works facility in Coventry.

6. Funds run by Fidelity Investments sided with Tesla management on director votes and other controversial items this spring, filings showed on Thursday, which experts said could presage further support for the carmaker’s CEO, Elon Musk, as he looks to take the company private. Fidelity funds that are top Tesla holders including Blue Chip Growth Fund, Growth Company Fund and Contrafund all voted as Tesla recommended at two shareholder meetings held in March and June, the filings showed.

7. Elon Musk has hired Morgan Stanley to assist him in his potential bid to take Tesla private, according to a person familiar with the matter. Morgan Stanley is advising Musk, not the company, its board or a special board committee formed to to evaluate a potential take-private proposal, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

8. The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday for legislation to fund much of the government, including $US675 billion for the Department of Defence, as lawmakers worked to minimise the risk of a government shutdown before the fiscal year ends Sept 30. The Senate voted 85-7 to pass the $US854 billion measure, which combines funding for the Pentagon with money for domestic programs including the Health and Human Services, Education and Labour Departments.

9. Bell Helicopter Textron has been awarded a $US510 million U.S. defence contract for 29 AH-1Z helicopters for the Marine Corps, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

10. HP, which houses the hardware business of former Hewlett-Packard, reported a 26.4 per cent rise in quarterly profit on Thursday, due to strength in its personal systems that sells notebooks and desktops.The company’s net earnings rose to $US880 million, or 54 cents per share, in the third quarter ended July 31, from $US696 million, or 41 cents per share, a year earlier.

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