10 things you need to know in markets today

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

1. The dollar stood near a one-month high against its peers on Wednesday as concerns as political wrangling over Italy’s budget plan rattled market sentiment and weighed on the euro. Investors remained jittery even as a new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement appeared to ease global trade tensions. The Dow gained 0.5 per cent to close at a fresh record high. China’s financial markets are closed for the National Day holiday and will resume trade on Oct. 8.

2. The New York Times reported in an extensive investigation published Tuesday that President Donald Trump engaged in what it described as “dubious tax schemes” in the 1990s. The “schemes” mentioned even included “instances of outright fraud” that enhanced the fortune that his parents – mainly his father – passed on to him. What The Times reported runs counter to Trump’s oft-repeated narrative: that he is a self-made billionaire who built his own empire.

3. A federal judge has ruled that Tesla must defend itself at a trial over allegations it knew foreign workers at one of its facilities were threatened with deportation if they reported an injury and worked long shifts that violated forced labour laws. US District Judge Lucy Koh, in San Jose, California, rejected on Monday Tesla’s request for an early dismissal of the lawsuit, paving the way for the plaintiffs to seek documents and witnesses to build their case.

4. The CEO of a Vancouver-based company pleaded guilty on Tuesday to facilitating international narcotics traffic by supplying drug cartels with encrypted communications devices. Secure communications devices supplied by Vincent Ramos, CEO of Phantom Secure, and four co-conspirators helped traffickers distribute cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine in the United States, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Thailand and Europe, the US Justice Department said in a statement.

5. China’s hopes of negotiating a free trade pact with Canada or Mexico were dealt a sharp setback by a provision deep in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement that aims to forbid such deals with “non-market” countries, trade experts said on Tuesday. The provision specifies that if one of the current North American Free Trade Agreement partners enters a free trade deal with a “non-market” country such as China, the others can quit in six months and form their own bilateral trade pact.

6. The US is expected to announce in the coming days that it will use offensive and defensive cyber capabilities on behalf of NATO if asked, a senior Pentagon official said, amid concerns about Russia’s increasingly assertive use of its cyber capabilities. The 29-nation NATO alliance recognised cyber as a domain of warfare, along with land, air and sea, in 2014, but has not outlined in detail what that entails.

7. Hilton Worldwide Holdings plans to more than double its hotels in Africa in the next five years by mainly striking deals with existing hotels for conversion into its brand, its chief executive said.International chains, including Marriott International and Hyatt Hotels, have been increasing their investments in Africa, which has some of the world’s fastest growing economies and a rising middle class.

8. Several people with information related to allegations of sexual misconduct against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh say they have tried in vain to speak with the FBI, which is expected to wrap up its investigation this week. Under pressure, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the FBI investigation following a dramatic Senate hearing last week in which university professor Christine Blasey Ford detailed a sexual assault she says was carried out by Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, at a high school party in 1982.

9. A Texas woman, claiming that she was raped, beaten and sex trafficked at the age of 15 by a pimp who posed as a Facebook “friend,” has filed suit against the social network, alleging its executives knew minors were being lured into the sex trade on their platform. The woman, identified only as Jane Doe in court papers filed in Harris County District Court in Houston on Monday, also named as defendants the now-shuttered classified ads website Backpage.com and its founders.

10. Tropical storm Leslie is likely to strengthen to a hurricane on Wednesday. The storm is generating swells that will continue to affect portions of the southeastern coast of the United States, Bermuda and the Bahamas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

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