Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
1. Britain’s government said on Thursday it would use legislation to fix the time and date of the country’s European Union exit, addressing concerns of Brexiteers who fear slow negotiations and opposition to the divorce could cause delays. Reuters reports that the government said it was proposing a change to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill currently making its way through parliament to set the exit for 2300 GMT on March 29, 2019.
2. Industrial production, manufacturing, and trade balance figures are coming. The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) will report figures for all three in September at 9.30 a.m. GMT (4.30 a.m. ET). Industrial production is forecast to accelerate slightly, manufacturing growth is expected to slow slightly, and Britain’s trade balance is predicted to have shrunk by around £1 billion.
3. One of the London Stock Exchange’s major shareholders has called an emergency meeting in a bid to block the surprise departure of its chief executive, Xavier Rolet, and oust its chairman instead. The Guardian reports that the Children’s Investment Fund (TCI), which owns 5% of the LSE, requisitioned an emergency meeting calling for the removal of the LSE chairman, Donald Brydon, and an end to the search for a new chief executive.
4. Shares of Disney fell 4% Thursday after the company reported Q4 2017 earnings that missed Wall Street expectations. The company reported earnings of $US1.07 per share, short of the expected $US1.34 expected, on revenues of $US12.78 billion (£9.6 billion), below the expected $US13.32 billion (£10.1 billion).
5. Nvidia released its third-quarter earnings after the bell Thursday. The company reported earnings of $US1.33 per share on revenues of $US2.64 billion (£1.9 billion). Wall Street was expecting adjusted earnings of $US1.07 per share on revenue of $US2.362 billion (£1.75).
6. US stocks slid on Thursday amid worries that the GOP tax plan might be delayed. They reversed some of their earlier losses over the course of the day, but all three major indices still closed in the red.
7. Japan’s Nikkei share average fell sharply on Friday morning hit by drops in tech shares after their US counterparts languished overnight, while Toshiba Corp stumbled on dilution fears after media reported it will issue new shares to raise funds. The Nikkei index closed down 0.87%. Elsewhere in Asia, the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.12% at the time of writing (6.20 a.m. GMT/1.20 a.m. ET), and China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.01%.
8. Toshiba, desperate for cash to avoid a possible delisting, has started to look into specific plans to raise about 600 billion yen ($US5.3 billion, £4 billion) by offering new shares, possibly by year-end, public broadcaster NHK reported on Friday. Citing unnamed sources, NHK said Toshiba was discussing the plan, centred on a third-party allotment of new shares and a public offering, with its main creditors.
9. National Grid is training the focus of its multi-billion pound investment effort on the US as political scrutiny in the UK mounts. The Telegraph reports that the FTSE 100 operator of Britain’s pipes and wires is pouring more than half of its spending into projects in the North East of the US where regulators are encouraging billions of dollars in low carbon investments.
10. China has announced plans to relax foreign ownership restrictions on Chinese banks. Authorities will also move to lift the ceiling on foreign ownership limits for securities funds and joint ventures to 51%.