Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
1. US officials have concluded that hackers working on behalf of a foreign power recently breached at least a dozen US nuclear power sites, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. Bloomberg cited multiple US sources who said they had zeroed in on Russia as the primary suspect behind the most recent attacks, including one at Kansas’ Wolf Creek nuclear facility.
2. Oil is crashing. Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate are down over 1% at just after 6.30 a.m. BST (1.30 a.m. ET) as news of a rise in US production added to earlier reports that OPEC output was also on the rise, Reuters reports. Brent oil is down 1.16% to $US47.55 at 6.33 a.m. BST (1.33 a.m. ET), while WTI is down 1.25% to $US44.94 at the same time.
3. The UK’s largest business lobby has doubled down on its call for Britain to stay in the Single Market and customs union until a final EU deal is in force. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which represents 190,000 UK businesses, has been emboldened in its calls for a softer Brexit since Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority in June’s general election.
4. Fewer than half of UK businesses with high numbers of migrant workers say they plan to hire more UK nationals if immigration falls after Brexit, according to a new report by think tank the Resolution Foundation. Only 38% of 500 firms surveyed, across a range of sectors, said they would respond to a drop in the supply of foreign workers by hiring more British nationals, while 15% said they would change their business model.
5. Microsoft is cutting about 10% of its global sales force, the company announced Thursday, confirming earlier reports of a mass layoff. With about 50,000 people in the Microsoft sales organisation, that could mean up to 5,000 jobs cut. CNBC reports that the number would be closer to 3,000.
6. US stocks tumbled lower on Thursday amid mounting investor uncertainty following the release of economic data that was weaker than expected. The S&P 500 dropped 1%, while the Dow slid 0.8% and the Nasdaq lost as much as 1.1%. The Nasdaq, heavily weighted toward mega-cap tech stocks, has been a lightning rod for volatility in recent weeks, and Thursday’s trading was another example of that.
7. The June US jobs report will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET (1.30 p.m. BST) on Friday. Job creation in the US has slowed down this year, according to data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics. The difference between the number of people who gained jobs and those who were laid off or fired has averaged 160,000 since the start of this year.
8. Spot silver markets suffered a flash crash, bringing some excitement to an otherwise dull Friday session in Asia ahead of non-farm payrolls. Having hit a session high of $US16.18 an ounce in early trade, the spot price fell from $US16 an ounce to as low as $US14.86 in less than a minute, a decline of over 7%.
9. Jawbone, the company that made fitness trackers and Bluetooth speakers, is liquidating its assets, according to a source familiar with its plans, marking the latest casualty in the once-promising wearable device market. Jawbone founder and CEO Hosain Rahman has started a new company called Jawbone Health Hub, which will work on medical software and hardware.
10. “We would drink the first pint in five to 10 minutes.” So began Sports Direct founder and billionaire Mike Ashley’s description of a drunken night out in 2013 at which it is claimed he made a deal to pay former advisor Jeff Blue a performance-linked £15 million bonus. Ashley testified as a witness in a court case over the deal on Thursday.