Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Wednesday.
1.Investor confidence sank to a record low in 2017, below crisis and wartime levels, as a result of political and economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, according to new research. Hargreaves Lansdown’s Investor Confidence Index shows confidence for 2017 was the lowest annual figure on record since the Index began in 1995.
2.Uber just lost its licence in a third UK city – the latest in a long line of setbacks to befall the ride-hailing firm. On Tuesday, the City of York Council’s Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee rejected Uber’s application to renew its private hire operator’s licence, citing concerns about a massive data breach that is currently under investigation, and the number of complaints it had received about the service.
3.US stocks climbed to a record high ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday, where the central bank is expected to announce a 25-basis-point rate hike (the decision is due at 7.00 p.m. GMT/2.00 p.m. ET). The S&P 500 increased 0.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.5%, and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 slid 0.2%.
4. Asian stocks are mixed. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.52%, but the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 1.32% at the time of writing (6.30 a.m. GMT/1.30 a.m. ET), and China’s Shanghai Composite index is up 0.53% at the same time.
5. UK unemployment and wage growth numbers are coming. The Office for National Statistics will publish figures for November and October at 9.30 a.m. GMT/4.30 a.m. ET). Economists are expecting the headline unemployment rate to fall from 4.3% to 4.2%, and for wage growth excluding bonuses to remain at 2.2%.
6.Ryanair pilots who are members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) will strike on Wednesday 20 December as part of a dispute over workers’ rights. A statement from IMPACT, the parent organisation of the IALPA, said pilots – mostly captains – backed industrial action by a margin of 96% to 4% in secret ballots conducted over the last week.
7.As interest in bitcoin soars, a senior Facebook executive is joining the board of Coinbase, a startup that helps consumers trade and store the cryptocurrency. David Marcus, who heads up Facebook Messenger, is joining the digital currency exchange’s board of directors, Coinbase announced Tuesday.
8.Cryptomania has propelled two lesser-known cryptocurrencies to record highs Tuesday, forcing one exchange to halt trading. Coinbase halted trading of red-hot litecoin and ether on Tuesday, according to cryptocurrency watcher CoinDesk.
9.One of the largest brokerages is set to allow its clients to short bitcoin, giving folks bearish on the coin a way to bet against it. According to reporting by Bloomberg News, Interactive Brokers will let clients take short positions in the Cboe Global Markets’ bitcoin futures market, which launched Sunday.
10.British importers and exporters remain pessimistic about their prospects after Brexit despite the government reaching an agreement with the EU after the first round of talks. Financial services firm Bibby found that 37% of SMEs trading overseas believe Brexit will be bad for their business, while just 11% trading internationally believe Brexit will benefit them in the next three years.
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