Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Wednesday.
1. The Conservative Party could be in line to lose 20 seats and Labour gain nearly 30 in next week’s general election, according to new modelling by one of the country’s leading pollsters. The Times reports that YouGov’s first constituency-by-constituency estimate of the election result predicts that the Tories would fall short of an overall majority by 16 seats, leading to a hung parliament.
2. The pound dropped against the dollar and the euro when the Times report was released late on Tuesday night and the currency is still lower. Sterling is down 0.52% against the dollar to $US1.2791 at the time of writing (6.40 a.m. BST/1.40 a.m. ET) and down 0.35% against the euro to €1.1455.
3. The Federal Reserve on Tuesday said it had fined Deutsche Bank $US41 million (£32 million) for failing to ensure its systems would detect money laundering regulations and it said the lender agreed to increase its controls. The New York Fed found that the German bank had faulty systems to detect suspicious transactions between 2011 and 2015, the central bank said in its filing.
4. British consumer confidence edged up to a four-month high in May but households stayed downbeat about the economic outlook, with inflation since last year’s Brexit vote feeding into prices in stores, two surveys showed. Reuters reports that market research firm GfK’s measure of consumer morale rose to -5 from -7 in April, beating all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists, which had pointed to a fall to -8.
5. Activity levels across China’s manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors remained firm in May, hinting that a recent lift in borrowing costs has yet to have an impact on the broader economy. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the nation’s manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) came in unchanged at 51.2 in May, topping expectations for a decline to 51.0.
6. Japanese stocks dropped on Wednesday morning after weakness in US shares and a stronger yen hurt sentiment. The Nikkei is down 0.30% at the time of writing (6.25 a.m. BST/1.25 a.m. ET). Elsewhere in Asia, the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 0.03% and China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.17%. US stocks barely budged on Tuesday, but all three major indices closed slightly in the red.
7. European Union inflation and unemployment figures are coming. Preliminary estimates for annual inflation in April will be released by Eurostat at 10.00 a.m. BST (5.00 a.m. ET). Economists expect annual price growth of 1.5%. Unemployment figures for April will be delivered at the same time, with analysts forecasting a slight drop to 9.4%, from 9.5% in March.
8. Uber has fired Anthony Levandowski, the former head of its self-driving-car program, over his refusal to cooperate in its legal battle against Waymo. Uber’s firing of Levandowski, on Friday, was first reported Tuesday by The New York Times. Business Insider confirmed it with the company.
9. First Data has agreed to acquire smaller payments processing peer CardConnect in a deal worth around $US750 million (£585.9 million), the companies said on Tuesday. First Data will pay $US15.00 (£11.72) per share in cash for CardConnect, whose stock jumped to as much as $US15.15 (£11.84), indicating some investors expect a better offer.
10. Former hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, whose SAC Capital was shut down by the US government three and a half years ago, is planning a record-breaking comeback once his industry ban expires in 2018. The Wall Street Journal reports that Cohen’s goal is to amass $US20 billion (£15.6 billion) once he gets back in the business as early as next year, according to conversations he and his representatives have had with bankers, colleagues and potential investors.