Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Tuesday.
1. Donald Trump is calling for the biggest increase in US military spending since the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, seeking to add $US54 billion (£43.3 billion) to the Pentagon’s budget to combat what he views as threats from a “dangerous world.” The Financial Times reports that the White House said it planned to ask Congress for extra defence funding equivalent to nearly 10% of the military’s annual outlays as the president prepared to unveil a budget focused on “public safety and national security.”
2. A hard Brexit poses risks to the integrity of financial markets and could make it harder to protect consumers from wrongdoing by banks, the head of the City regulator has warned MPs. The Guardian reports that Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, said a cliff-edge Brexit — one in which the regulatory framework changes the instant the UK leaves the EU — also presented competition risks, alongside threats to legal and market stability.
3. Uber Technologies has asked a senior executive to leave the company for failing to disclose a sexual harassment allegation stemming from his tenure at Alphabet’s Google, an Uber spokeswoman said on Monday. The move comes as the ride services company is investigating allegations of sexual harassment in its own organisation.
4. Netflix is in talks to introduce a ‘pay as you go’ option for smartphones in collaboration with mobile operators, in what would mark a departure from the TV and film streaming service’s subscription charges. The Telegraph reports that senior sources at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona indicated that Netflix is in ongoing and detailed discussions about ways to charge mobile customers for streaming or downloading individual episodes, series or films to watch on the move.
5. America “will be less of a leader in trade” in the coming years, according to Jeff Immelt, GE’s chairman and CEO. “We’re in an era when some very basic assumptions about the global economy are being tested,” he said in his annual letter to shareholders.
6. The Dow index touched a new all-time high for the 12th straight day on Monday. But just as happened last Friday, it wasn’t exactly a huge surge: the Dow was up by less than 0.1% at the close.
7. Japan’s Nikkei share average edged up on Tuesday after US stocks rose, but gains were limited as the market awaited a speech by US President Donald Trump for details of his infrastructure spending and tax plans to Congress. The Nikkei closed up 0.09%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.35% at the time of writing (6.25 a.m. GMT/1.25 a.m. GMT) and China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.19%.
8. Warren Buffett has weighed in on the free trade debate. “Free trade is wonderful for the world and the United States. But its benefits are diffused among 320 million people,” he said in an interview with CNBC’s Becky Quick on Monday.
9. JPMorgan Chase & Co, Microsoft, Intel, and more than two dozen other companies have teamed up to develop standards and technology to make it easier for enterprises to use blockchain code Ethereum in the latest push by large firms to move toward distributed ledger systems. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) will work to enhance the privacy, security and scalability of the Ethereum blockchain, making it better suited to business applications, according to the founding companies, which said they plan to announce the initiative on Tuesday.
10. CLSA Americas, the US arm of the Chinese-owned broker CLSA, is closing a big chunk of its business. The firm is closing the research function in the US, according to a spokesman.
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