10 things you need to know in markets today

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.

1. China will open its market to US credit rating agencies and credit card companies as well as resume imports of US beef, as part of a package hailed by the Trump administration as the first step in redefining the trade relationship between the world’s two largest economies. The Financial Times reports that the 10-point package revealed on Friday was billed as an “early harvest” from the 100-day plan to reset the trade relationship that Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Donald Trump agreed to pursue when they met in April.

2. SoftBank Group is leading a $US502 million (£389.5 million) investment in Improbable Worlds, a London-based virtual reality startup, in one of the UK’s largest venture capital deals. Bloomberg reports that the valuation wasn’t disclosed but SoftBank is buying a non-controlling stake, which would mean Improbable is worth at least $US1.04 billion (£810 million).

3. The UK financial watchdog has had to delay a decision on its investigation into Barclays’ arrangements with Qatar at the height of the financial crisis after the bank belatedly turned over thousands of “significant” documents. The Financial Times reports that the Financial Conduct Authority has this week written to the bank and individuals caught up in the probe to explain that the huge cache of previously undisclosed evidence has pushed back the watchdog’s decision, according to people familiar with the decision.

4. Barclays reshuffled its senior global investment bank management on Thursday and is seeking to hire between 50 to 100 people to boost the division under new chief Tim Throsby, according to sources with direct knowledge of the plans. Throsby will become interim head of the bank’s markets division while Joe Corcoran, who previously held the role, will move to the newly created position of vice chairman of markets, the sources said as the bank looks to take on Wall Street rivals.

5. Goldman Sachs will launch a new private stock-trading venue, known as a “dark pool,” on Friday, that is run by exchange operator Nasdaq, according to a note to clients obtained by Reuters. Goldman has been refreshing its trading technology to become more competitive in its electronic stock execution business and hired Nasdaq last year to revamp its dark pool, known as Sigma X.

6. Emirates, the Middle East’s largest airline, reported a drop in annual profit on Thursday for the first time in five years and criticised President Donald Trump’s restrictions on some US flights as “destabilising” for travel. The Dubai-based company said net profit at its airline business plunged 82% to 1.3 billion dirhams (£274.7 million, $US354 million) in the year to March 31.

7. Department store chain House of Fraser has defended its decision to hire a new chief executive with zero retail experience by highlighting the company’s increasing focus on leisure. The Telegraph reports that the retailer has named Alex Williamson as its new chief executive. Williamson has spent the last nine years at Goodwood, the group behind the Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed.

8. Japanese shares slipped from a 1-and-a-1/2-year high on Friday as the market took a breather from its rally since mid-April. The Nikkei is down 0.48% at the time of writing (6.22 a.m. BST/1.22 a.m. ET), while elsewhere in Asia the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 0.18%, and China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.62%.

9. US stocks slid on Thursday after an earnings miss from Macy’s rippled through the retail sector and raised questions about US consumer growth. All three major indices slid less than 0.3% as stocks stayed mired in a tight trading range.

10. Bitcoin hit another record high on Thursday. The cryptocurrency broke through $US1,800 per coin, up 4.59% at $US1,853.55 after Ulmart, Russia’s largest online retailer, said it would begin accepting bitcoin, Cryptocoin News says.

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