Good morning! Here are the 10 things you need to know in markets on Friday.
China’s leading stock markets are crashing. The Shanghai Composite is down 4.56% at time of writing (6.30 a.m. GMT/1.30 a.m. ET) and the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 1.97%. Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei is down 0.30%.
Japan on Friday published a string of mostly weak data, the first major figures since news that world’s number three economy had slipped back into recession. A key inflation gauge shows prices fell in October from a year ago, while spending by households also dropped in a double blow for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s high-profile growth blitz, dubbed Abenomics.
UK third quarter GDP figures are coming at 9.30 a.m. GMT (4.30 a.m. ET). Economists are expecting 0.5% growth on last quarter’s figure and 2.3% growth on the same quarter last year.
Today is Black Friday, the shopping bonanza that follows Thanksgiving and is now part of UK’s calendar too. The day sees shops and websites flooded with visitors hunting for the best bargains around and is quickly followed by Cyber Monday. Check out the best deals here.
Belgium lowered the security threat level in Brussels on Thursday after nearly a week on maximum alert following the Islamic State attacks in Paris, a government minister said. Confirming earlier reports, Kris Peeters, the economy minister, told public broadcaster VRT that the national threat assessment agency, made up of security experts and officials, had taken the decision. The government’s national security council was meeting to discuss concrete measures to be taken.
Barclays has been hit with a £72 million ($109 million) fine from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for failing to make sure a huge deal back in 2011 wasn’t being used to fund criminal activity or terrorism. Alongside the fine, the FCA has released a damning document setting out just what the case involved. Barclays comes off pretty badly.
South Korea’s LG Display said it will build a new plant to make panels using organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, with total investment expected to exceed 10 trillion won (£5.77 billion, $8.71 billion). The company said it will spend an initial 1.84 trillion won to begin building the plant in Paju, South Korea, which will make both large-size OLED TV panels and flexible OLED panels for smartwatches and auto displays, with production expected to begin in the first half of 2018.
German drugs and chemicals maker Merck is planning to sell its allergy business, Allergopharma, Bloomberg reported, citing sources. The sale, which could fetch about €600 million (£421.95 million, $636.42 million), is an attempt by the company to offload its debt after the Sigma Aldrich takeover.
Consumer goods maker Unilever plans to switch to using only renewable energy by 2030 and will stop using energy from coal by 2020, as businesses jostle to highlight their green credentials ahead of a global climate summit. Unilever was among 81 companies, along with rivals Nestle and Procter & Gamble, that have signed up to set emissions targets for their businesses with the aim of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
Four senior executives from the Belfast office of accountancy firm KPMG have been arrested in Belfast on alleged tax evasion charges. The four partners were visited by officials from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in the city on Wednesday, it emerged today.
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