Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
1. Theresa May’s poll lead has fallen to five points a fortnight before the general election — the smallest margin over Labour since she came to power, the Times reports. A YouGov poll for The Times puts Labour on 38 per cent of the vote, up three points since the end of last week and the party’s best performance since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in September 2015.
2. US President Donald Trump will attend a G7 summit with leaders of the world’s major economies — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US — in Sicily, Italy, on the last leg of his first foreign trip today, the BBC reports. A tough debate is expected on issues including trade and climate change.
3. China’s structural reforms will not be enough to arrest its rising debt, and another credit rating downgrade for the country is possible unless it gets its ballooning credit in check, two officials at Moody’s ratings agency said on Friday. The comments came days after Moody’s Investors Service downgraded China’s sovereign ratings on Wednesday by one notch to A1, saying it expects the financial strength of the world’s second-largest economy will erode in coming years as growth slows and debt continues to rise.
4. London Metal Exchange copper hovered near its highest in three weeks on Friday, supported by supply concerns after news of further disruption at Indonesia’s Grasberg, one of world’s biggest copper mines, Reuters reports. London Metal Exchange copper traded little changed at £4,438 ($US5,718) a tonne, easing 0.1% by 2.43 a.m BST, to trim a small gain from the previous session. Prices on Thursday tipped the highest since May 3 at £4477.3 ($US5,768.50).
5. The chairman of Lloyds Banking Group has dismissed a warning made by his counterpart at HSBC that the City could collapse like a Jenga tower following Brexit and predicted that financial services firms would cope if the UK left the EU without a deal, the Telegraph reports.
6. Oil markets remained weak on Friday after tumbling in the previous session when OPEC and allied producers extended output cuts but disappointed investors betting on longer or larger supply curbs. Crude oil plunged 5% following the announcement, and held its losses early on Friday.
7. Japan’s Nikkei share average remained solidly on track for a winning week on Friday, underpinned by record closing highs on Wall Street even as a firmer yen put a damper on sentiment, Reuters reports. The Nikkei was down 0.3% at 19,753.42 in morning trade, but was still up 0.8% for the week.
8. A group of “diehard” shareholders determined to see former Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Executive Fred Goodwin in court are refusing to accept a settlement in their £700 million ($US904.89 million) legal claim against the bank, the Guardian reports. The state-backed lender has offered about £200m, or 82p per share held by investors, in an attempt to avoid a case that would see Goodwin take the stand on either 8 or 9 June.
9. Aviva, the 321-year-old British insurance giant, wants to become a financial technology company. CEO Mark Wilson declared at a press conference on Wednesday: “We want to turn Aviva into a fintech.”
10. Charles Rolls, co-founder and non-executive deputy chairman of upmarket Fever Tree tonic water brand, has made £73 million ($US95 million) by selling 3.9% of the shares in the company. Rolls sold 4.5 million shares at a price of £16.25. He had originally only planned to sell 2.5 million shares, but sold more “due to significant institutional demand.”
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