Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Thursday.
1. A Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn would renationalise the railways, Royal Mail, and parts of the energy industry, according to a draft of the party’s election manifesto leaked on Wednesday evening. In what is arguably the party’s most left-wing manifesto in decades, Labour leader Corbyn proposes a “transformative” agenda, including £6 billion for the NHS, £1.6 billion for social care, and the phased abolition of university tuition fees.
2. Snapchat’s user growth slowed to its lowest pace in years, as parent company Snap Inc. missed Wall Street expectations for its first quarterly earnings as a public company on Wednesday. Snap added 8 million new daily users in the first three months of the year, representing year-on-year growth of 36%. At this time last year, Snapchat was growing its DAUs by 52%. Shares plunged more than 20% in after-hours trading.
3. Diageo, the drinks company behind Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, and Guinness, is to pay HMRC £107 million under the “Google tax” crackdown aimed at multinationals. The Guardian reports that the FTSE 100 business said HMRC was preparing to demand additional tax and interest of £107 million for 2015 and 2016. The firm said it would challenge the assessments from HMRC when they are received in the next 30 days.
4. French bank Credit Agricole reported nearly a fourfold increase in first-quarter profit, as it moved on from a complex revamp of shareholding ties with its parent group and benefited from a surge in trading activity. Reuters reports that net income rose to €845 million (£710.4 million) from €227 million, while revenues increased 24% to €4.7 billion (£3.9 billion), due to a bumper quarter for market activities, stronger asset management inflows and a rebound in French retail banking.
5. It’s ‘Super Thursday’ at the Bank of England. The central bank will give an update on interest rates, inflation, its asset purchasing programme, and publish its latest minutes at 12.00 p.m. BST (7.00 a.m. ET). Economists expect the Bank to leave rates and forecasts unchanged.
6. Industrial and manufacturing figures are coming. Growth numbers from the Office for National Statistics for both sectors in March will be published at 9.30 a.m. BST (4.30 a.m. ET). Economists are expecting industrial production growth to be -0.2% compared to the prior month, a slight improvement on February’s -0.7% figure, and are pencilling in no monthly growth for manufacturing.
7. The winning party in June’s general election should prioritise a “bespoke” Brexit deal for financial services, promote British FinTech, and boost the UK’s financial services industry outside London, according to the country’s most powerful financial lobbying group. TheCityUK published its general election recommendations on Thursday, ahead of manifestos from all the major parties.
8. Abercrombie & Fitch shares soared by 14% to $US14.50 ahead of Wednesday’s opening bell after a Reuters report said the teen retailer hired an investment bank to assess takeover interest. Any potential suitor should be able to get a favourable price for the company, at least compared with a year ago. Abercrombie has plunged by 61% since reaching a 16-month high in March 2016.
9. US and Asian stocks were little changed on Wednesday and into Thursday as investors shrugged off President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. All three major US indices moved less than 0.2% as stocks stayed mired in a tight trading range. Japan’s Nikkei index is up 0.36% at the time of writing (6.30 a.m. BST/1.30 a.m. ET), while the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 0.27%, and China’s Shanghai Composite is down 1.08%.
10. Jes Staley, the chief executive of Barclays under fire for his attempts to unmask a whistleblower, has admitted to hundreds of shareholders that he made a mistake and has issued a personal apology for his behaviour. The Guardian reports that the American banker told 460 investors at Barclays’ AGM that he had made an error in trying to reveal the identity of the individual making allegations about the previous conduct of a newly hired executive in the US.
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