Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
Chinese new home prices continued to accelerate in February, heightening fears that a new property bubble is forming in some larger Chinese centres. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), new home price grew by 3.6% over the past 12 months, the fastest acceleration seen since June 2014. Nationally, prices jumped by 0.6% in February alone.
Asian markets are mixed. The Nikkei closed down 1.25%, but the benchmark Chinese Shanghai Composite is up 1.49% at the time of writing (6.25 a.m. GMT/2.25 a.m. ET) and the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 0.45%.
US oil futures flirted with new highs for 2016 on Friday, adding to strong gains the previous session as optimism grew that major producers would strike a deal to freeze output. US crude rose as high as $40.55 (£28.04) overnight — its highest so far this year. US crude is up 0.10% at $40.24 (£27.83) at the time of writing (6.40 a.m. GMT/2.40 a.m. ET) and British crude is up 0.02% at $41.55 (£28.73).
The Bank of England’s quarterly bulletin is coming. The central bank will update on monetary policy and market developments, as well as deliver new research, at 12.00 p.m. GMT (8.00 a.m. ET).
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is trying to sell Boston Dynamics, the robotics company it bought in late 2013, according to Bloomberg. Among the potential buyers are the Japanese automaker Toyota and Amazon, which has a robotics division focused on automation in its warehouses.
London-based hedge fund manager Crispin Odey is having a disastrous year. His $3.9 billion (£2.7 billion) Odey European fund fell more than 22% in the first two weeks of March, bringing the fund’s losses down around 25% year-to-date, Bloomberg News reports citing unnamed sources.
More hedge funds closed their doors in 2015 than at any time since the financial crisis, according to new research, as turbulent markets dragged down the industry’s performance. The Financial Times reports that last year was the worst year for liquidations since 2009, with 979 funds closing, up from 864 in 2014, according to data from Hedge Fund Research. The fourth quarter of 2015 also saw the fewest new hedge funds starting up since 2009, with just 183 openings compared with 269 in the third quarter.
Spotify has reached a deal with the National Music Publisher’s Association (NMPA) that resolves a dispute over unpaid royalties. The deal includes roughly $16 million (£11 million) in unpaid royalties, plus a $5 million (£3.4 million) “bonus” split between those who opt-in to the program, according to a person familiar with the matter. The total is about $21 million (£14.5 million).
Lord Adair Turner, the former chairman of the UK’s Financial Services Authority, thinks that the rise of political extremism in Europe and the US is an “inevitable consequence” of a breakdown in capitalism. Turner said the political gains for far-right parties in Europe, and Donald Trump’s surprise success in the Republican primaries, spring from voter anger on being overlooked by the free-market.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, the biggest US bank by assets, said it will repurchase up to $1.88 billion (£1.3 billion) in common shares through the end of the second quarter. The repurchase under the bank’s 2015 capital plan is in addition to the $6.4 billion (£4.4 billion) of shares authorised for repurchase by the board last year.