Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Monday.
Asian shares hit two-month highs on Monday, extending their sharp gains in the previous four sessions, following upbeat US jobs data and rebound in oil commodity prices. Investors also look to Chinese markets’ reaction to Beijing’s new economic plans, which include a cut in the economic growth target to a range of 6.5%, and a moderate increase in the fiscal deficit to 3% of GDP.
Oil prices opened strongly on Monday after rallying in the previous session, supported by tightening supply and strengthening sentiment around a market recovery. Front-month Brent crude futures were trading at $39.20 (£27.60) per barrel at 8.27 p.m. ET (1.27 a.m. GMT), up almost half a dollar and over a percentage point from their last settlement.
The CFO of French energy giant EDF has resigned over a disagreement about the feasibility of an ambitious project to build Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in decades, according to reports. “The chief financial officer presented his resignation last week to Jean-Bernard Levy (CEO) because of a disagreement over Hinkley Point,” a source told AFP. EDF — Electricite de France (EDF) — is 84.5% owned by the French state.
Financial giant Old Mutual is finalising secret plans to break itself apart after receiving a takeover approach for its wealth management arm. The Sunday Times reports that buyout firms Cinven and Warburg Pincus are said to have tabled a bid worth several billion pounds for Old Mutual Wealth. The division includes investment manager Quilter Cheviot and its funds business, which is home to renowned stock picker Richard Buxton.
British American Tobacco has hired a team of heavyweight bankers that handled its recent purchase of a $5 billion (£3.52 billion) stake in Reynolds American, the FTSE 100’s transatlantic partner, fuelling speculation it is mulling a full takeover of the US company. The Telegraph reports that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes is understood to have added boutique investment bank Centerview to its team of advisers, sparking rumours the British company is considering a $50 billion-plus move for the 58% of Reynolds it doesn’t already own.
A fragile calm in global financial markets has given way to all-out turbulence, the Bank of International Settlements has said, warning of a “gathering storm” which has long been brewing. The Guardian reports that in its latest quarterly report, watched closely by investors, the BIS — which is known as the central bank of central banks — also warned that investors were concerned governments around the world were running out of policy options.
Energy firm Npower is to cut up to 2,500 jobs, more than a fifth of its UK workforce, with an announcement to staff expected this week. Npower, which is owned by the German energy giant RWE, employs 11,500 people in the UK and is one of the country’s big six gas and electricity suppliers. The BBC understands sales and marketing roles will be the worst hit.
Jefferies will merge its junk-rated loans and bonds business with the junk debt unit of its joint venture with MassMutual Financial Group, according to people familiar with the matter. As a result, Kevin Lockhart, global head of leveraged finance, and Adam Sokoloff, global head of sponsors, have left Jefferies, the sources said, asking not to be identified as the moves have not been announced.
Volkswagen’s current chairman and chief executive were alerted by the carmaker’s former CEO to the use of illicit emissions-control software in the United States two weeks before the carmaker disclosed the scale of its manipulations, Bild am Sonntag reported, without citing the source of the information. Martin Winterkorn, who resigned within a week of Volkswagen’s (VW) biggest-ever corporate scandal becoming public on September 18, briefed VW’s executive board on September 8 that the carmaker had admitted the use of “defeat devices” to US authorities, the newspaper said.
Staff at the international subsidiaries of collapsed London payments unicorn Powa Technologies are trapped “in limbo” without pay or clarity around their future, according to a US employee who got in touch with Business Insider. Powa Technologies, which makes payment apps, online shops, and payment terminals, was once valued at $2.7 billion (£1.8 billion) and raised at least $220 million from investors over the last three years. But the company collapsed into administration last month after running out of money.
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