10 things you need to know in markets today

Good morning! Here are the 10 things you need to know in markets on Wednesday.

Pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance, which owns Boots in the UK, has announced plans to buy rival chain Rite Aid for $US9 (£5.88) per share.That values Rite Aid at $US9.4 billion (£6.1 billion). The deal is worth $US17.2 billion (£11.2 billion), including debt.

The US Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy announcement is due at 6 p.m. GMT (2 p.m. EST) today. The Fed’s policy-setting committee (the Federal Open Markets Committee) is expected to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0%-0.25%.

Asian stock markets are mixed ahead of the Fed’s announcement. Japan’s Nikkei is up 0.67% at time of writing (6.25 a.m. GMT/2 a.m. EST), the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.53%, and the Shanghai Composite is down 1.06%.

Twitter shares crashed in after-hours trading in the US after the company reported another quarter of disappointing user growth and a weak revenue forecast for the last three months of the year. The microblogging site reported 320 million monthly active users, versus the 324 million expected by analysts, and compared to 316 million users in the second quarter.

Shell is taking a $US2 billion (£1.3 billion) writedown after cancelling its Carmon Creek project in the oil sands of western Canada, saying the decision was partly a result of a shortage of pipeline capacity in the region. The Financial Times reports that the oil giant will also write off 418 million barrels of oil from its reported proved reserves, about 3% of its worldwide total at the end of last year.

Apple delivered a solid earnings report overnight, with just about everything in its right place. For the September quarter, it earned $US1.96 (£1.28) per share on $US51.5 billion (£33.6 billion) in revenue. Its earnings were ahead of expectations, while revenue was roughly in line.

Credit Suisse has hired five new bankers for its Americas Healthcare group — and they all come from Barclays. Punit Mehta and Jordan Bliss join Credit Suisse as managing directors, while Thomas Burkly, Connie Chiang, and Naeem Merchant join as directors.

Volkswagen and Nissan are bullish on China. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said on Wednesday he was not worried about the longer-term potential of the Chinese economy, while Volkswagen brand CEO Herbert Diess told reporters at the Tokyo Motor Show he does not think demand for cars had peaked in China.

But Japanese carmaker Honda is more cautious about the market. Honda Motor CEO Takahiro Hachigo told Reuters he is confident it can achieve its 2015 sales target of 950,000 cars in China, but is cautious about increasing production in the world’s No.2 economy given the uncertain economic outlook.

A Canadian appeal court has ordered two major tobacco companies to set aside a combined C$984 million (£484.7 million, $US742 million) while they challenge billions of dollars in damages awarded to smokers in the province of Quebec. Imperial Tobacco Canada, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, must put aside C$758 million, and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, a subsidiary of Philip Morris International, must deposit C$226 million, the Quebec Court of Appeal said.

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