10 things you need to know in markets today

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

Facebook grew its revenue by 49% during the first three months of the year, blowing past Wall Street’s revenue and profit targets on the back of strong mobile ad growth. The world’s largest social network continued to grow its audience during the first quarter, coming just shy of the 2 billion mark with 1.93 billion users. Shares of Facebook were down roughly 2% in after-hours trading, despite the solid results.

French banking giant Société Générale saw net profit decline by almost 20% during the first quarter of 2017, dragged lower by having to set aside cash for a dispute between the bank and Libyan Investment Authority. The bank reported a net profit of €747m in the three months ended March 31, down 19.2% from a year earlier and below analysts’ forecasts of €863m. “Once again, Societe Generale has demonstrated the quality of its diversified and integrated banking model, with a good performance in all its businesses,” CEO Frédéric Oudéa said.

Chinese government bond yields have surged to their highest level in almost two years as tighter financial regulations rattle investors. The 10-year government bond yield soared to 3.536%, the highest since late 2015. The nation’s banking, insurance and securities trading regulators last month issued directives aimed at curbing everything from excessive borrowing to speculation in stock markets.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party holds a 19-point lead over opposition Labour Party ahead of a national election on June 8, according to a YouGov poll for The Times. The poll showed support for Conservatives at 48%, up four points from a YouGov poll conducted last week, Labour at 29%, down two points, Liberal Democrats at 10% and UKIP at 5%.

The European Union on Wednesday published its official guidelines for negotiating Brexit with the United Kingdom, setting out its aims for the two years of talks that lie ahead. “The main objective of the Agreement is to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and from the European Atomic Energy Community,” a European Commission paper says.

Standard Chartered is in talks with regulators about making Frankfurt its European base to secure market access to the European Union when Britain leaves the bloc. “We are looking at setting up a subsidiary in the EU to ensure we are prepared,” Chairman Jose Vinals said on Wednesday at the Asia-focused bank’s annual shareholder meeting in London. “The choice of Frankfurt is very natural as we have a branch there and we do euro clearing there,” he said.

Crude oil lost ground on Thursday, falling for a third out of four sessions and trading near its lowest since late March after data showed a lower than expected decline in U.S. inventories. U.S. crude stockpiles fell less than expected last week, while gasoline inventories grew as demand remained weak, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, keeping concerns about global supply on a simmer.

RBS investors advised to vote against pay policy. Investor advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services has advised shareholders in Royal Bank of Scotland to vote against its remuneration policy next week because it is unclear how bonuses will be paid out to senior directors.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the iPhone maker plans to create a $US1 billion fund to invest in advanced manufacturing companies in the United States. Speaking on CNBC, Cook said the Cupertino, California company will announce the first company it plans to invest in later in May.

EU figures are deliberately trying to swing the general election against the Conservatives, Theresa May said in an extraordinary speech outside Downing Street. The prime minister claimed that European politicians and officials had launched a deliberate campaign to swing the result of the election on June 8th. “Britain’s negotiating position has been misrepresented in the continental press,” May said.

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