Good morning! Here are the 10 most important stories in markets this Thursday morning.
Drugmakers Pfizer and Allergan are considering combining in what could be the biggest merger in the healthcare industry in an already busy year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Pfizer recently approached botox-maker Allergan about a deal, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
US stock markets enjoyed a bumpy session but ended up with gains after the US Federal Reserve held interest rates unchanged as expected. The Dow closed up 1.13%, the S&P 500 ended 1.18% higher, and the Nasdaq closed up 1.30%.
Asian stock markets are mixed. Japan’s Nikkei is 0.17% higher at time of writing (6.25 a.m. BST/2.25 a.m. EST), Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.43%, and the Shanghai Composite is up 0.60%.
The United States is not keen on pursuing a separate free trade deal with Britain if it leaves the European Union, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Wednesday. “I think it’s absolutely clear that Britain has a greater voice at the trade table being part of the EU, being part of a larger economic entity,” Froman told Reuters in an interview, adding that EU membership gives Britain more leverage in negotiations.
Germany’s Deutsche Bank will not pay dividends in 2015 and 2016 as it seeks to cut costs as part of a major business and management restructuring. The Frankfurt-based lender said it hoped to resume paying dividends in 2017. It has paid a dividend every year since Germany’s postwar reconstruction, including throughout the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Crude futures rallied by up to 5% and climbed to as high as $US45.25 (£29.67) per barrel overnight in New York. It came as the US Energy Information Administration reported US crude oil inventories rose by 3.38 million barrels last week, less than the expected.
Nintendo shares dived more than 10% after it pushed back the launch of its video game service for smartphones to March 2016. The company had previously planned to introduce its first smartphone games by the end of the year.
China has signed a contract to buy 100 A320 aircraft from European manufacturer Airbus, worth $US9.7 billion (£6.4 billion) at list prices. The deal, signed as German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Beijing on Thursday, also includes the confirmation of 30 previously announced options for twin-aisle A330s, a spokesman told AFP.
Samsung on Thursday posted its first year-on-year profit gain in eight quarters, buoyed by strong chip sales and a modest pickup for its smartphone business. The world’s No.1 memory chip and smartphone maker said third-quarter operating profit leapt 82% to 7.4 trillion won (£4.24 billion/$US6.46 billion), compared with its guidance for 7.3 trillion won in early October and 4.1 trillion won a year earlier. Revenue rose 8.9 per cent to 51.7 trillion won.
General Motors has promised the United Auto Workers union it will invest an additional $US1.9 billion (£1.25 billion) in its US factories to secure 3,300 union jobs, and pay higher wages and bonuses under a proposed four-year contract. GM will also pay bonuses of up to $US8,000 (£5,244) to nearly 53,000 UAW workers once they ratify the agreement, according to details of the GM-UAW contract released Wednesday.