Good morning! Here are the 10 things you need to know in markets on Wednesday.
UK GDP figures are coming. Final estimates for third quarter growth are due at 9.30 a.m. GMT (4.30 a.m. ET), with economists expecting quarter-on-quarter growth to remain unchanged a 0.5% and year-on-year growth to remain at 2.3%. French GDP figures are also due at 7.45 a.m. GMT (2.45 a.m. ET).
US crude oil prices briefly moved into a premium over internationally traded Brent overnight, following an unexpected drop in American inventories and potential exports. Front-month US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading at $36.33 (£24.47) per barrel at 2.20 a.m. GMT (9.20 p.m. ET), with Brent at $36.29 (£24.44) per barrel. This flipped WTI from a long-standing discount into a slight premium over the international benchmark for the first time since a brief period in November 2014 and, before that, since 2010.
Asian markets are muted. Japan’s Nikkei is down 0.16% at time of writing (6.30 a.m. GMT/1.30 a.m. ET), the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 1.20%, and the Shanghai Composite is up 0.46%, all with thin trade. US markets closed higher overnight, enjoying a long-awaited Santa Rally.
Tata Steel UK is in exclusive talks with Greybull Capital over a potential sale of its “Long Products Europe” business, offering a lifeline for several thousand jobs at UK steel plants currently earmarked for closure. The Telegraph reports that if the sale were to go ahead, it would include a number of UK-based assets, including Tata Steel UK’s Scunthorpe steelworks, mills in Teesside and northern France, an engineering workshop in Workington, a design consultancy in York, and associated distribution facilities.
Goldman Sachs has added three new bankers to its inner circle. On Monday, CEO Lloyd Blankfein and President Gary Cohn announced in a memo, seen by Business Insider, that Gregg Lemkau, Marc Nachmann and Jim Esposito would be joining the firm’s management committee.
Deutsche Bank has flagged as much as $10 billion (£6.74 billion) in total trades that may not have been vetted for money laundering as clients moved money out of Russia. Bloomberg reports that transactions under scrutiny include those in which trading in an account went consistently in one direction — primarily buy orders, for example — according to people familiar with the matter.
Five of the world’s biggest investment banks paid no corporation tax in Britain last year despite making billions of pounds in profits. According to an analysis of the banks’ corporate filings by Reuters, JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank AG, Nomura Holding and Morgan Stanley all said their main UK arms paid no corporation tax, The Independent reports.
Greece’s international creditors on Tuesday handed over a payment of €1 billion (£740 million, $1.09 billion) under the terms of its third bailout programme, after Athens met their demands for further tough economic reforms. The European Stability Mechanism, the 19-nation eurozone’s bailout fund, said the funds will help Athens repay debt, balance the budget, and finance projects.
Credit Suisse thinks oil prices won’t get anywhere near the highs of last year until at least 2020. Oil prices have collapsed from triple digits last summer to below $40 (£26.94) a barrel amid a chronic oversupply issue.
The Pentagon and other US government agencies should complete a legislative proposal in coming weeks to let regulators block proposed mergers for national security reasons, instead of just antitrust concerns, a top official told Reuters on Tuesday. Defence Undersecretary Frank Kendall, who oversees arms weapons acquisitions and industrial base issues for the Pentagon, made the comments in an interview, after first mentioning the legislative push in September.