Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Thursday.
1. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is set to win the most seats in the Dutch parliament for the third time in a row, dealing a blow to populist leader Geert Wilders. In the early hours of Thursday, with over 95% of the votes counted, Rutte’s VVD is projected to win 33 seats, giving him a strong lead over Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) which is set to grab 20.
2. Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal on Wednesday launched an audacious raid to buy as much as 12% of Anglo American, the London-listed miner which is a larger rival to his Vedanta Resources, reports the FT. Working with bankers at JPMorgan, Mr Agarwal’s family trust was attempting to acquire as much as £2bn worth of Anglo shares from investors, which he plans to fund through a convertible bond.
3. The dollar nursed bitter losses in Asia on Thursday while sovereign bonds savoured their biggest rally in nine months after the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates by 0.25% to 1% as expected but signalled no pick up in the pace of tightening. Yields on two-year notes were down at 1.30%, having fallen 8 basis points overnight in the biggest daily rally since June last year. The Dow ended Wednesday with gains of 0.54%, while the S&P 500 added 0.84% and the Nasdaq 0.74%.
4. Gold prices, which were down as much as 0.1% to $US1,197.59 a troy ounce earlier on Wednesday, popped 1.3% to $US1,214.96 a troy ounce after the Federal Reserve held its rate forecast steady, reports the FT. The so-called dot plot of interest rate projections pointed to just two further rates rises this year, following Wednesday’s rise, in keeping with the December forecast. However, that disappointed some hawks that had expected the chart to signal four rate rises this year and proved bullish for gold, which offers no yield.
5. The Bank of England is set to keep interest rates on hold on Thursday as Britain prepares to trigger Article 50, reports the Press Association. In what will be the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting before Article 50 is triggered later this month, policymakers are expected to leave rates at 0.25% in the face of potential economic upset from Brexit negotiations.
6. The Queen is expected to give Royal Assent to the Brexit bill this morning, paving the way for Theresa May to trigger Article 50, reports Sky News. Officially known as the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, it passed the Parliamentary process following votes in the Commons and Lords on Monday.
7. Canary Wharf Group is in discussions to sell the 50% stake that it manages and owns in the Walkie Talkie, one of the City of London’s newer landmarks, for about £600 million, reports the Times. The group has approached agents about pitching for the mandate to sell the share in the building at 20 Fenchurch Street, at a level which would value the whole tower at about £1.2 billion.
8. Tinopolis, the company behind TV shows including Question Time and Crufts and producer of BT’s Premier League and Champion’s League coverage, is up for sale with a price tag of up to £300m, reports the Guardian. The Welsh-based international media company, which also owns sports production business Sunset + Vine, is the UK’s last remaining truly independent TV producer.
9. Unemployment in the UK fell for another month in February, hitting another record low, according to the latest data released by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday. Headline unemployment fell from 4.8% at the last reading, to 4.7%, according to the ONS, with 31,000 fewer people unemployed from the previous period.
10. The White House will propose large spending cuts on Thursday for the state department, public broadcasting and environmental programmes as part of its preliminary budget for the 2018 fiscal year, reports the FT. Administration aides call it an “America First” budget — with greater spending on defence, law enforcement and veteran affairs, as well as new education programmes that emphasise school choice. The last are a pet project of Betsy DeVos, Mr Trump’s education secretary.
More from Business Insider UK:
- FOX NEWS POLL: Bernie Sanders remains the most popular politician in the US
- DUTCH ELECTIONS: Prime Minister Mark Rutte set to win big victory over far-right leader Geert Wilders
- A startup cofounded by a 30-year-old just got $US38 million to revolutionise the way we transplant organs
- Elizabeth Warren: ‘Your Muslim ban is now 0-2 vs the Constitution’
- The author of the story that inspired Trump’s infamous wiretap tweet got the idea while washing the dishes