Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
1. Lyft has secured $US1 billion (£760 million) in a funding round led by Alphabet’s investment arm, CapitalG, giving it a post-money valuation of $US11 billion (£8.4 billion). Ride-hailing app Lyft has been growing its cash cushion to take on Uber. The $US1 billion Lyft secured in funding on Thursday follows a $US600 million (£457 million) funding round in April.
2. German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered one of her most positive assessments of Brexit talks in months on Thursday, saying she believed negotiations between the EU and Britain were moving forward and dismissing the prospect of a breakdown. Reuters reports that Merkel made her comments after the first day of a European Union summit at which British Prime Minister Theresa May appealed to her fellow leaders to help her silence critics at home and break a deadlock in the talks.
3. SoftBank plans to invest roughly $US880 billion (£671.1 billion) in tech companies through at least three more iterations of its Vision Fund, CEO Masayoshi Son recently told Nikkei. The Japanese conglomerate already commands the world’s biggest private equity fund with the $US100 billion (£76.2 billion) it raised for the first Vision Fund this year. But the colossal amount of capital is just “the first step,” according to Son, who said he is already working to establish a second Vision Fund in the next two or three years.
4. Asian shares inched slightly higher on Friday but grappled for firmer leads as speculation about who the next US central bank chief will be kept global investors wary. Japan’s Nikkei is up 0.03% at the time of writing (6.30 a.m. BST/1.30 a.m. ET), while the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 0.95%, and China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.12%.
5. Bank of England Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe said on Thursday it was not clear that interest rates needed to rise soon, showing at least two of the central bank’s nine policymakers are unlikely to vote for a hike in November. Reuters reports that Cunliffe told BBC radio he did not see signs of sustained upward inflation pressure.
6. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein spelled out the bank’s post-Brexit plans for Europe in a Tweet. “Just left Frankfurt,” he tweeted. “Great meetings, great weather, really enjoyed it. Good, because I’ll be spending a lot more time there. #Brexit.”
7. Interserve appeared to be fighting for its survival last night as the company crashed through its banking covenants, sending shares in the construction and cleaning group plunging to new lows. The Times reports that Interserve stock closed nearly 30% lower at 65½p after its latest profit warning that underlying earnings would more than halve while debts continue to soar.
8. UK borrowing numbers are coming. Public sector net borrowing figures for September will be released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) at 9.30 a.m. BST (4.30 a.m. ET). Economists are forecasting a rise in borrowing to £5.7 billion, up from £5 billion previously.
9. Closely-watched German fintech startup N26 is recruiting a country manager to spearhead its launch into the UK. A job listing on N26’s website says it is looking for someone to take “charge of the market entry of N26 in the UK.”
10. Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly decided that the time has come for a national cryptocurrency called the CryptoRuble. Last week, Russian authorities discussed heavily regulating Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, even going so far as planning the closure of all websites that sell them.