10 things you need to know in markets today

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

1. The European Union is to propose keeping Northern Ireland within its “customs territory” and closely aligned to its single market rules after Brexit, in the text of the withdrawal agreement due to be published on Wednesday. A well placed EU source, who has seen the text, told Business Insider that the EU will suggest a “common regulatory area” with “no internal barriers” on the island of Ireland, if the UK government is unable to produce a workable solution to avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

2. More than 5,500 retail jobs are at risk as two of the High Street’s best-known names teeter on the edge of collapse. The Guardian reports that Toys R Us, with more than 3,000 staff, is set to go into administration in the next 24 hours, and 11th-hour rescue talks designed to shore up Maplin are also said to have broken down, meaning that the 200-store electronics chain also faces imminent bankruptcy.

3. Analysts think Comcast’s surprise $US30.7 billion (£22.1 billion) bid for Sky has set off a battle between 21st Century Fox, Comcast, and Disney. The US entertainment giant Comcast surprised global stock markets on Tuesday with a bid for Sky, Rupert Murdoch’s European pay-TV giant.

4. Chinese electric vehicle startup Nio has hired eight banks including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to work on a planned US stock market listing this year worth up to $US2 billion (£1.4 billion), people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Other banks are Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and UBS, said the people, declining to be identified as the deal details are not public.

5. Asian shares faltered on Wednesday and bonds were sold off as risk appetite soured, after comments from new Federal Reserve Chair revived fears about faster rate rises in the United States. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 1.38%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng index is down 1.29% at the time of writing (6.30 a.m. GMT/1.30 a.m. ET), and the Shanghai Composite is down 0.82%.

6. Amazon is acquiring Ring, a startup that makes a popular line of video-camera doorbells, in a $US1 billion (£720 million) deal that could help Amazon enmesh further into consumers’ homes and lay the framework for a high-tech pipeline that delivers retail goods and groceries straight to them. The deal, which Amazon and Ring representatives confirmed to Business Insider on Tuesday, supplements the retail giant’s growing selection of smart-home appliances, epitomized by its Echo line of smart speakers

7. Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $US240 million (£172 million) to settle private US antitrust litigation accusing it of conspiring with other banks to manipulate the Libor benchmark interest rate. The preliminary settlement with the German bank was disclosed in filings on Tuesday with the US District Court in Manhattan and requires a judge’s approval.

8. Lithuania is betting that Brexit can help it become a global fintech hub, as the Eastern European country seeks to attract British companies setting up subsidiaries in the EU.Lithuanian MEP Antanas Guoga told BI: “I think [Brexit] is a big opportunity because we’re cost-wise a very competitive country, people are very diligent and hard-working, and, because of Brexit, a lot of companies are in a position to move out of the United Kingdom to make sure they’re safe and secure.”

9. The new US tax law has taken a bigger bite out of Morgan Stanley’s 2017 earnings than it initially expected and led its board to boost top executives’ deferred compensation from prior years, the Wall Street bank said on Tuesday. After further analysis of the law’s particulars, Morgan Stanley boosted its provision for income taxes by $US43 million (£30.9 million), the bank said in its annual 10-K securities filing.

10. The owner of the microchip designer ARM has backed an apparent bid to create a new mobile network in the UK as operators prepare to connect millions more devices. The Telegraph reports that SoftBank, the Japanese mobile giant that swooped for ARM in a £24 billion takeover in 2016, has backed a venture that has registered to bid in Ofcom’s forthcoming auction of airwaves suitable for new 5G networks.

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