Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Monday.
1.Three former Cabinet ministers have been secretly filmed and exposed trying to make money from giving out information on Britain’s exit from the European Union. Andrew Lansley, Peter Lilley, and Andrew Mitchell were caught trying to profit from providing “intelligence” on Brexit negotiations to a Chinese company, according to a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.
2.Asian shares are stuttering on Monday despite upbeat corporate earnings and strong global economic growth, while more rumblings from the White House about “unfair” trade practices are keeping the US dollar on the defensive. Japan’s Nikkei closed more or less flat, down 0.04%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng index is down 0.37% at the time of writing (6.30 a.m. GMT/1.30 a.m. ET) and China’s Shanghai Composite is down by 0.82%.
3. Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten said on Monday it would acquire Asahi Fire & Marine Insurance for 45 billion yen ($US413.6 million, £292.7 million), its latest move to diversify beyond its online shopping site. Rakuten said it would launch a tender offer and pay 2,664 yen per share of Asahi Fire, a property insurance firm owned by Nomura Holdings and its subsidiary.
4.Google has invested in Indonesian ride-hailing firm Go-Jek, as part of its strategy to support and participate in the growth of Indonesia’s internet economy, Caesar Sengupta, a vice president at Google said in a company blog. “This investment lets us partner with a great local champion in Indonesia’s flourishing startup ecosystem, while also deepening our commitment to Indonesia’s internet economy,” Sengupta said in a post titled “Investing in Indonesia.”
5.Coincheck, a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, is set to use its own money to pay back victims of a hack of its exchange. The Tokyo-based exchange said in a statement it would reimburse the 260,000 customers affected by the $US400 million (£283.1 million) heist of digital currency NEM, “at a rate of 88.549 yen (81 US cents) for each coin,” Bloomberg News reported.
6.Specialist investment bank Exotix argues that the biggest potential for blockchain technology, first developed to underpin bitcoin, lies in frontier markets. Analyst Paul Domjan says blockchain could be used for things like property registration, contract law, and exchange in countries with volatile local currencies.
7.US President Donald Trump is expected to ask for $US716 billion (£506.8 billion) in defence spending in the 2019 budget he is to unveil next month, two US officials said on Friday, representing a 7% increase over the 2018 budget. The $US716 billion would cover the Pentagon’s annual budget as well as spending on ongoing wars and the maintenance of the US nuclear arsenal.
8.Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday that military equipment manufacturers will be offered government-backed loans as part of an A$3.8 billion ($US3.1 billion, £2.1 billion) package to become one of the world’s top 10 defence exporters. Australia said in 2016 it would boost defence spending by A$30 billion by 2021, purchasing frigates, armoured personnel carriers, strike fighter jets, drones and a fleet of new submarines – many of which would be built at home.
9.Carillion “wriggled out” of payments into its company pension schemes as its troubles grew, while it carried on paying shareholder dividends and bosses’ bonuses, say MPs. The BBC reports that the Work and Pensions select committee is questioning the way pension investments were managed at the collapsed outsourcing giant.
10.Billionaire IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad has died aged 91, the Swedish company said on Sunday, with the furniture empire he launched more than half a century ago familiar around the globe. Kamprad founded IKEA in 1943 when he was just 17, but didn’t hit gold until 1956, when the company pioneered flat-pack furniture.
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