Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
President Barack Obama issued new sanctions against Russia on Thursday, calling Russia’s “malicious cyber-enabled activities” a “national emergency” aimed at undermining democratic processes. He also ordered that 35 Russian diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Washington and the Russian Consulate in San Francisco be ejected from the United States, and closed Russian compounds in New York and Maryland in response to what he said was Russian harassment of American diplomats in Moscow.
Britain avoided a collapse in mergers and acquisitions activity after the shock Brexit vote as foreign companies used sterling’s spectacular devaluation against the US dollar to snap up British companies, Thomson Reuters data shows. British M&A totalled $177.5 billion (£144.6 billion) in 2016, down sharply from the record $394.8 billion (£321.6 billion) reached in 2015 – a year when the UK data was skewed by two of the three biggest global deals – but was in line with the longer 5-year trend.
The UK has secured more than £15 billion ($18.4 billion) of extra foreign investment since the referendum, ministers announced last night, as they hailed the “clear vote of confidence in the UK.” The Telegraph reports that Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, said his department, which was set up following the Brexit vote, has reached deals on more than £15.2 billion ($18.6 billion) worth of foreign direct investment in sectors including property development, infrastructure and renewable energy.
The COO of the Bank of England told Business Insider what she is doing to stop central bank hackers like the ones who stole $101 million (£82.2 million) from Bangladesh. The BoE has chosen seven companies — BitSight, Privitar, PwC, BMLL, Anomali, ThreatConnct, and Enforcd — to generate proof-of-concept projects with the BoE.
Oil prices are at the highest point in almost two years. Brent is up 0.56% to $57.17 at the time of writing (6.20 a.m. GMT/1.20 a.m. ET), and US crude is up 0.43% to $54.00. Both are at levels not seen since January 2015.
The EU is not trusted by the British people and Labour will not seek to block Britain’s exit from it, Jeremy Corbyn will say in his New Year’s message. “2016 will be defined in history by the referendum on our EU membership,” the Labour leader will say in his address to the nation.
House prices in London grew more slowly in 2016 than the national average for the first time since 2008, according to Nationwide’s latest House Price Index. Figures from the mortgage lender put UK house price growth in 2016 at 4.5%, the same rate as 2015. Price growth in London fell to 3.7%, down from 12.2% in 2015.
House of Fraser is planning to invest as much as £35 million ($42.9 million) in digital challenger bank Tandem as part of a tie-up that will see the upstart lender offer services to shoppers at the department store chain. The Telegraph reports that the retailer, which was bought by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower in a £480 million ($589.2 million) deal in 2014, is planning to offer “financial solutions” to its customers through Tandem.
US stocks continued their quiet post-holiday stretch on Thursday with all three major indexes little changed from the start of the day. The light trading pushed stocks slightly lower for the day. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.17%, China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.09%, and the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 0.99%.
China’s Huawei Technologies, one of the world’s largest telecom equipment makers, said on Friday it expects to record a 32% jump in revenue for 2016, thanks to a strong performance across its business platforms. The Shenzhen-based company, which competes with Sweden’s Ericsson for the top spot in the global market for telecoms equipment, forecasts revenue will reach 520 billion yuan (£60.9 billion, $74.8 billion), said Eric Xu, Huawei rotating chief executive.