Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Wednesday.
Oil is collapsing again, with US crude hitting a new 12-year low. Brent is down 2.39% to $28.13 (£19.88) at 6.20 a.m. GMT (1.20 a.m. ET), while US crude is down 2.79% to $28.74 (£20.31). Earlier in the session US crude hit $27.92 (£19.73) — the lowest price since September 2003.
Only a day after leading risk assets higher, Chinese stocks have fallen heavily on Wednesday, dragging stocks, commodities, and higher-yielding currencies lower across the region. The benchmark Shanghai Composite is down 1.25% at time of writing (6.15 a.m. GMT/1.15 a.m. ET). Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei is down 3.71% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 3.98%.
William White, chairman of the OECD’s review committee and former chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements, suggests the stresses in the financial system are now “worse than it was in 2007.” Speaking to the UK Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard before the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, White warned that macroeconomic ammunition to fight further economic downturns is essentially “all used up”.
UK unemployment figures are coming. Stats on the unemployment rate for November, benefit claimant count change, and wage growth are due at 9.30 a.m. GMT (4.30 a.m. ET). The unemployment rate is expected to be unchanged at 5.2% but has routinely beat forecasts.
IBM beat fourth quarter earnings forecasts across the board overnight, but shares fell roughly 3.5% in after hours. Quarterly revenue was down 9% year-over-year. IBM has reported declining year-over-year revenue for the last 15 quarters in a row.
Netflix crushed its fourth quarter earnings, sending stock up almost 9%. The streaming-video service massively outperformed Wall Street estimates on international subscriber growth in Q4, and projected that it will add roughly 6 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2016.
Of all of Europe’s problems, Citi analysts think that the most debilitating one is the refugee crisis. “In the short term, refugees have the greater potential to ‘break Europe’ than the Greek crisis or the standoff with Russia over Ukraine,” argues Citi Research’s Tina Fordham.
Goldman Sachs has hired attorney Angela Payne James as the chief of staff for the technology division, according to an internal memo that went out on Tuesday morning. “Angela’s responsibilities will include working with us to execute on goals and priorities across the Technology Division,” the memo from Don Duet and Paul Walker said.
Robots, AI, and automation will see the global economy grow by trillions of dollars, according to Mark Knickrehm, group CEO of Accenture’s strategic consulting arm, Accenture Strategy. “There are massive productivity gains to be made across manufacturing and logistics, for example, but also in services sectors as artificial intelligence takes on some of the workload of certain white collar roles,” Knickrehm told Business Insider.
One of KPMG’s top UK advisers has quit the accountancy group after being charged with offences relating to a film finance scheme that is alleged to have enabled its wealthy backers to avoid millions of pounds in tax. The Times reports that Patrick McCoy, the head of investment advice and fiduciary management at KPMG, stepped down days after being named as one of ten people facing criminal charges for allegedly cheating the taxman.
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