Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Thursday.
1. Chinese stocks are cratering again. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, down 2.7% today, has fallen about 30% from late January, leaving it at the lowest level since November 2014. The Chinese yuan also hit the weakest level against the greenback since January 2017 after the US Treasury Department cleared China of being a currency manipulator.
2. Powerful Facebook investors co-filed a proposal to take down Mark Zuckerberg as chairman. A similar proposal in 2017 was popular among independent investors but crushed because of Zuckerberg’s voting power.
3. Spain’s Santander is the latest bank to be caught up in Germany’s biggest post-war fraud investigation involving a share-trading scheme that the authorities say cost taxpayers billions of euros. In June, prosecutors in Cologne opened a tax investigation into Santander, confidential documents relating to a state prosecutors’ investigation seen by Reuters and other European news organisations reveal for the first time. They are also looking at Australia’s Macquarie Bank and Germany’s Deutsche Bank, as part of the broader investigation.
4. Saudi Arabia paid the US $US100 million on the same day US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Riyadh to discuss Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance. US officials denied that the payment had anything to do with Pompeo’s visit or Khashoggi, though a source said the timing was “no coincidence.” Meanwhile, a top US Senate Democrat slammed Trump’s response to Khashoggi’s alleged killing. Sen. Chris Murphy said President Donald Trump has made the US look “weaker” than ever by kowtowing to Saudis.
5. Facebook has tentatively concluded that a recent hack that affected millions of accounts was perpetrated by spammers, and not a nation-state, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing sources.Facebook believes the attackers were spammers masquerading as a digital marketing company, the Journal reported.
6. White House counsel Don McGahn left the Trump administration on Wednesday, a source with knowledge of the situation said to Business Insider. McGahn was said to be on his way out of the White House, which was expected to happen after the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Here are all the top-level people who’ve either been fired or resigned from the administration, and why they left.
7. The US plans to turn up sanctions pressure on Venezuela but sees less need to immediately target its energy sector, given sagging production from the OPEC member’s state-run oil company, a senior U.S. administration official said on Wednesday. The US government has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Venezuelan military and political figures close to socialist President Nicolas Maduro, who it blames for trampling on human rights and triggering the country’s economic collapse.
8. Mobile telecom equipment maker Ericsson reported on Thursday a substantially higher third-quarter operating profit than expected and said it was tracking well towards its long-term targets.Germany’s SAP also reported earnings, saying that its cloud revenues grew by 41 per cent in the third quarter as its business transformation gathers pace, enabling management to raise guidance for revenues and profits this year.
9. EU lawmakers are expected to back a 35 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions from new trucks by 2030, EU sources said ahead of a vote on Thursday over new rules that seek to fight global warming without harming industry. The target will be the first CO2 standard for trucks in the EU, which currently has no limits on what accounts for almost one quarter of the bloc’s transport-related emissions.
10. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, head of the League party, was quoted as saying he may consider running for the presidency of the European Commission at the next elections.“It’s true, friends from several European countries are asking me to,” Salvini told la Repubblica daily in an interview. “May is still far away. We will see, I’ll think about it.” The next European elections are due May 23-26.
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