10 things you need to know in markets today

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

1. Chinese state media on Thursday accused the United States of a “mobster mentality” in its move to implement additional tariffs on Chinese goods, and warned that Beijing had all the necessary means to fight back. The comments mark a ratcheting up in tensions between the world’s two largest economies over a trade dispute, which is already impacting industries ranging from steel to cars and causing unease over which products could be targeted next.

2. Asian shares were subdued on Thursday after a new round of tit-for-tat tariffs in the US-Sino trade conflict torpedoed oil prices, while the Russian rouble tumbled as the US slapped fresh sanctions on the country. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan barely budged as caution dominated. Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.12% as of 7:43 a.m. BST (2.43 a.m. ET). The Russian Ruble had stabilised against the dollar at the same time.

3. The pound fell below $US1.29 for the first time since September 2017 on Wednesday as fears about a possible no-deal Brexit continued. The currency continued to fall on Thursday morning, down 0.11% to $US1.2875 at 7:58 a.m. BST (2.58 a.m. ET).

4. Intel on Wednesday said it sold $US1 billion of artificial intelligence processor chips in 2017, the first time the world’s second-largest chipmaker disclosed revenue from the fast-growing computing segment. As PC sales have stagnated, Intel has increasingly been depending on its sales to data centres, which provide behind-the-scenes computing power for mobile and web-based apps.

5. The New York City Council on Wednesday agreed to cap the number of licenses for ride-hailing services such as Uber for one year, dealing a blow to the companies that have relied on the largest US metro area for a major source of their revenue.The City Council measure was aimed at reducing traffic congestion and increasing driver paychecks in the wake of the explosive growth of for-hire vehicles and a rash of suicides among New York’s “Yellow Cab” drivers who have seen their incomes fall.

6. China has revamped a national leadership group charged with planning and studying its key technological development strategies, signalling potential policy shifts are underway as its technological ambitions fuelled a backlash abroad.The group, formerly called the “National Technology and Education leadership Group” under the state Cabinet, has been renamed without the mention of education to reflect a focus on technology. Shares of China’s leading tech firms rallied on Thursday, with investors expecting a policy boost for their sector.

7. Twenty-First Century Fox’s quarterly revenue jumped 17.7% as the Rupert Murdoch-controlled media company received higher fees from cable distributors. Fox said on Wednesday net income attributable to shareholders increased to $US920 million or 49 cents per share in the fourth quarter ended June 30, from $US476 million or 26 cents per share a year earlier.

8. German-owned discount supermarket Aldi is rolling out scores of new products in the United States, it said on Thursday, in an aggressive push to expand in the country even as rivals are struggling in a drawn-out price war. Aldi, the world’s No. 5 retailer owned by Aldi Sud, embarked on a $US5 billion plan last year to remodel and expand its US chain to 2,500 by the end of 2022 from 1,600 in June 2017.

9. Conservationists on Wednesday notified the Trump administration that they would sue over its reversal of a 2014 decision prohibiting bee-killing pesticides and genetically modified crops on US wildlife refuges. The reversal, issued on August 2 in a US Fish and Wildlife Service memo, suggested that neonicotinoid pesticides, or neonics, were needed for “farming practices” in refuge areas where that was allowed.

10. Mazda and Suzuki conducted improper fuel economy and emissions tests on their vehicles, the latest in a series of compliance scandals in Japan’s auto sector, the Nikkei business daily reported. Mazda and Suzuki have submitted reports of their findings on their tests to the transport ministry and will publicize details on Thursday, the Nikkei said.

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