Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Wednesday.
1.Founders Fund, the venture-capital firm Peter Thiel founded in 2005, invested $US15 million to $US20 million in bitcoin, according to The Wall Street Journal. The firm has told investors the bet on bitcoin is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to bitcoin’s dramatic rise in the fourth quarter of last year, The Journal reported.
2.The price of bitcoin spiked over 10% against the dollar on Tuesday after news of Thiel’s investment. Bitcoin is up 2.8% against the dollar to $US15,199.47 at the time of writing (6.20 a.m. GMT/1.20 a.m. ET).
3.US stocks finished higher on the first day of trading in 2018, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hitting records to open the year. The Dow closed up 0.40% at 24,819.10, the S&P 500 finished up 0.83% at 2,695.82, and the Nasdaq ended the day up 1.50% at 7,006.90.
4.MoneyGram and Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services said on Tuesday they have agreed to terminate their amended merger agreement, due to regulatory hurdles. MoneyGram shares were down 8.5% at $US12.06 in after-market trading.
5.Asian stocks struck a fresh decade high on Wednesday as risk appetites were whetted by a bevvy of upbeat manufacturing surveys that confirmed a synchronised upturn in world growth was well underway. The Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 0.13% at the time of writing (6.25 a.m. GMT/1.25 a.m. ET) and China’s Shanghai Composite shares index is up 0.77%. Japan’s Nikkei is still closed for national holidays.
6. UK construction numbers are coming. IHS Markit’s construction PMI number for December will be published at 9.30 a.m. GMT (4.30 a.m. ET). Economists are expecting growth to have slowed slightly from November’s reading.
7.Sweeping financial regulatory reforms in Europe – which have been in the works for seven years – are finally set to go live Wednesday, January 3. The lengthy and complex set changes, known as the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II), will impact a broad swath of financial firms across the globe, but especially investment banks that do business in Europe.
8.Vice News said two top executives were put on leave following a bombshell New York Times expose detailing a culture of harassment at the popular millennial news outlet.Last month, The New York Times reported that the company and its employees had settled four sexual harassment suits since 2003.
9. South and west London are experiencing the steepest drops in property prices in the British capital, according to estate agents Savills. Things may now finally stabilising – but Brexit uncertainty means prices are unlikely to rise anytime soon.
10.With 2017 over, Warren Buffett has sealed his victory over hedge funds in a bet he made a decade ago. The Berkshire Hathaway chairman in 2007 bet $US1 million that the S&P 500 would outperform a selection of hedge funds over 10 years.
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