Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
1. Snap Inc. surged in its debut as a publicly traded company Thursday in New York, after raising a greater than expected $US3.4 billion (£2.7 billion) in an initial public offering. Shares of Snapchat’s parent company opened for trading at $US24 (£19.50), up about 41% from the IPO price of $US17 (£13.87) apiece. At the opening price, Snap had a valuation of about $US33 billion (£26.9 billion).
2. But shares of Snap Inc. got slapped with a “sell” rating as they made their trading debut. Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group, placed a price target of $US10 (£8.16) on the stock, or 58% lower than its opening price.
3. The major US equity indexes closed lower on Thursday, retreating after logging the strongest performance of 2017 on Wednesday. Asian stock markets are dipping too. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.54%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.49% at the time of writing (6.15 a.m. GMT/1.15 a.m. ET), and China’s Shanghai Composite is down 0.39% at the same time.
4. It’s PMI day. Markit will deliver estimates for February growth in France, Germany, and the eurozone as a whole, as well as growth in the service sectors of Spain, Italy, and the UK, from 8.15 a.m. GMT (3.15 a.m. ET). The UK’s service sector is expected to show a slight deceleration in momentum.
5. Xi Jinping has signalled out a looming transformation in the Chinese economy. China’s President gave a speech about the death of highly indebted industrial state-owned enterprises, saying they will make room for new more privately owned service industry companies.
6. High-end lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur has been snapped up by retail tycoon Mike Ashley, owner of Sports Direct. Alix Partners were appointed as administrators as part of a pre-pack deal and Ashley bought the business out of administration.
7. The price of one Bitcoin climbed above the price of one ounce of gold for the first time ever on Thursday. It’s still there — at 6.15 a.m. GMT (1.15 a.m. ET), gold is trading at $US1,232.00 (£1,004.81) and cryptocurrency bitcoin is at $US1,263.09 (£1,030.17).
8. Spotify said on Thursday it has reached 50 million paid subscribers, growing 25% in less than six months and extending the Swedish music streaming service’s lead over its closest rival, Apple Music. Spotify, which has not yet shown a profit as it spends to grow internationally, is considering a potential US stock market listing, according to a February TechCrunch report.
9. The government’s industrial strategy lacks cohesion and ambition and does not constitute a strategy, a powerful committee of MPs has concluded. The Times reports that the withering commentary on the government’s green paper, published in January, was delivered by the business, energy and industrial strategy select committee. Business bodies lined up to back the MPs’ criticism.
10. Leaving the European Union without an agreement on future trade measures will be “not only wrong but irresponsible,” a British business leader has warned. The Daily Mail reports that CBI President Paul Drechsler said that if the UK is left to fall back on World Trade Organisation rules after Brexit it will open up a “Pandora’s Box” of unexpected concerns for the economy.
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