Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
A British exit from the European Union would be a serious risk to global economic growth, Group of Seven leaders said in a summit declaration on Friday. “A UK exit from the EU would reverse the trend towards greater global trade and investment, and the jobs they create, and is a further serious risk to growth,” G7 leaders said, in the only reference to the vote in a 32-page declaration.
Axa says the sale of its UK Life & Savings businesses will generate a loss of €400 million (£305 million, $447.6 million). Bloomberg reports that the French insurer said Friday that it agreed to sell its UK investment, pensions and direct protection businesses to Phoenix Group Holdings, a transaction that it expects to complete in the second half of 2016.
Oil is back below $50 (£34.08) a barrel. After Brent broke through the psychologically important level on Wednesday, both key measures have dipped below it again on Friday. Brent oil is down 0.77% to $49.21 (£33.54) at the time of writing (6.35 a.m. BST/1.35 a.m. ET) and US West Texas Intermediate is down 0.75% to $49.11 (£33.47).
Microsoft and Facebook have agreed to jointly build a subsea cable across the Atlantic Ocean to meet growing demand for high-speed cloud and online services. The construction of the new “MAREA” cable will begin in August and it is expected to be completed in October 2017, the companies said in a statement on Thursday.
A top Apple executive raised the prospect of the iPhone maker buying Time Warner at a meeting with the owner of HBO, CNN, and Warner Brothers, according to three people who were briefed on it. The Financial Times reports that Eddy Cue, who oversees critical Apple businesses such as the iTunes store, Apple Music, and iCloud, broached the idea of a bid at a meeting at the end of last year with Olaf Olafsson, Time Warner’s head of corporate strategy, the people said.
Santander has launched a new app that lets people transfer money internationally using blockchain technology, the cutting-edge database protocol that underpins bitcoin. The main benefits of the new tech are speed and accuracy. The new app, which for the moment is just being trialed with staff, will let people transfer between £10 and £10,000.
Stock markets were quiet overnight. In Asia, China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite is up 0.05% at the time of writing (6.35 a.m. BST/1.35 a.m. ETC), the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 0.48%, and Japan’s Nikkei is up 0.36%. Stock markets in the US had similarly minor moves at the time of close.
US GDP numbers are coming. Preliminary growth figures for the first quarter will be published at 1.30 p.m. BST (8.30 a.m. ET). Economists are forecasting 0.7% growth on the previous quarter and 0.9% growth on an annualized basis.
Alibaba, which disclosed it is under investigation for its accounting practices, has emerged as one of the short-selling community’s favourite targets in the relatively short time it has been in the public market. Noted short-sellers Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates and John Hempton of Bronte Capital have been raising red flags since last year about the Chinese e-commerce giant’s accounting practices.
Goldman Sachs has discovered something important about its employees: They want more feedback on how they’re doing. The firm is overhauling the way it gives feedback following an internal survey that highlighted that desire.