10 things you need to know in markets today

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

1.Corporate credit levels and quality are top risks to the economy but the outlook remains solid and rates are “just below” a neutral level, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday. Stocks gained on Wall Street and the dollar fell after the comments, taken by investors as a tip that the rate hike cycle was nearing its end.

2. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday that he was examining all available tools to raise US tariffs on Chinese vehicles to the 40% duties that China is now charging on US-produced vehicles.

3. Saudi Arabia will buy Lockheed Martin’s $US15 billion missile defence system, a US Department of State spokesman said on Wednesday, after aggressive lobbying by the administration to close the deal that included a personal call between President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman.

4. Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever said its CEO Paul Polman was retiring and would be replaced by Alan Jope, head of its beauty unit, from January 1.Polman has been at the helm of Unilever, which makes Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, for 10 years.

5.Safran unveiled ambitions to become the world’s leading aerospace supplier in 15 years, overtaking United Technologies, as it pledged a research and development spending drive while increasing cash returns to shareholders.

6.Volkswagen is deciding where to locate a new factory in North America to build electric vehicles for the US market, the German automaker’s new head for the Americas said on Wednesday.

7. The US Army said on Wednesday that it has awarded Microsoft Corp a $US479.2 million contract to supply prototypes for the Army’s augmented reality systems helping soldiers in training and combat missions.

8. Two Ukrainian Azov Sea ports, Berdyansk and Mariupol, are effectively under blockade by Russia as vessels are being barred from leaving and entering, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said on Thursday.

9. The US Senate has voted in favour of ending US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.A resolution, which called on the president to remove most US troops stationed in Yemen, passed by almost 2 to 1.

10. You may have missed the most explosive comments from Facebook’s grilling at Westminster. We did not.

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