Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Wednesday.
Seven of the world’s biggest banks have agreed to pay $324 million (£222.7 million) to settle a private US lawsuit accusing them of rigging an interest rate benchmark used in the $553 trillion (£380.2 million) derivatives market. The settlement made public on Tuesday resolves antitrust and other claims against Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Royal Bank of Scotland.
Pfizer has approached US cancer drug maker Medivation to express interest in an acquisition, raising the possibility of a bid rivaling the $9.3 billion (£6.3 billion) offer made by Sanofi, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. Pfizer’s approach comes less than a week after Sanofi went public with its $52.50 (£36.10) per share cash offer, complaining that Medivation refused to engage. Medivation subsequently rejected the offer as too low. Its shares closed on Tuesday at $57.52 (£39.55).
Federal prosecutors in Brazil have filed a 155 billion-real (£29.9 billion, $43.5 billion) civil lawsuit against iron miner Samarco and its owners Vale SA and BHP Billiton for a collapsed tailings dam in November that killed 19 people and polluted a major river. The lawsuit, which is also against the two states impacted by the spill and the federal government, is the result of a six-month investigation led by a task force set up after the disaster, prosecutors said in a statement.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s top brewer set to buy number two SABMiller, reported lower than expected earnings in the first three months after what it said was one of the most challenging quarters in Brazil in years. Reuters reports that first-quarter core profit (EBITDA) at the Budweiser and Corona brewer rose by 2.5% on a like-for-like basis to $3.46 billion (£2.4 billion), compared with the average forecast in a Reuters poll of $3.73 billion (£2.5 billion).
Business Secretary Sajid Javid has ordered the Insolvency Service to investigate the collapse of UK department store BHS. The BBC reports that the probe comes as Sir Philip Green signals he will appear before two Commons committees to answer questions about the collapse. Sir Philip sold BHS to Retail Acquisitions last year for £1, but has faced criticism about his role.
Societe Generale, France’s second-largest bank by market value, reported a surprise increase in first-quarter profit helped by consumer banking and announced plans to deepen cost cuts at its investment bank. Bloomberg reports that net income rose to €924 million ($1.06 billion, £730 million) from €868 million a year earlier, the Paris-based bank said on Wednesday, beating the €765 million average estimate of six analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
It’s PMI day in Europe. Service sector and composite growth readings for Europe’s major economies in April will be rolling in from 8.15 a.m. GMT (3.15 a.m. ET). The Eurozone’s composite growth figure for last month is forecast to come in at 53, flat on last month. Anything above 50 signals growth and anything below means contraction in activity.
Mining company Glencore is considering selling its Vasilkovskoye gold mine in Kazakhstan, sources close to the deal said on Tuesday, confirming an earlier report in the Financial Times. The sources said the assets were worth more than $2 billion (£1.38 billion). “A sale is one of the options,” one source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Stock markets around the world drifted lower overnight. In the US, all major indices were down at the close. Japan’s Nikkei is currently closed but at the time of writing (6.35 a.m. GMT/1.35 a.m. ET) China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite is up 0.77% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.96%.
The wife of billionaire tycoon Sir Philip Green has escaped an investigation into the collapse of BHS. Tina Green, who is a shareholder in the department store which went into administration last week, will not be called before MPs to explain her role, the Daily Mail reports. Instead, her husband has announced he will appear before a joint hearing of the work and pensions, and business, committees in June.