Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Thursday.
1. US bond yields are surging, hitting fresh multi-year or multi-decade highs on Wednesday as strong US economic data fuelled expectations the US Federal Reserve will continue to lift official interest rates in the months ahead. The yield on benchmark 10-year notes jumped to 3.18%, surpassing the previous year-to-date high of 3.12%. It now sits at the highest level since 2011. Just over a year ago, benchmark yields sat just above 2%.
2. The Russian military intelligence agency accused of the attempted assassination of former spy Sergei Skripal has carried out a swathe of attacks in the UK and abroad on political institutions, financial systems, transport networks and the media, according to the British government. This secret international cyberwar has included the targeting of the US presidential elections which brought Donald Trump to power, according to a new report from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), as well the anti-doping watchdog in world sport.
3. It’s not just Russia. The US government on Wednesday warned that a hacking group widely known as cloudhopper, which Western cybersecurity firms have linked to the Chinese government, has launched attacks on technology service providers in a campaign to steal data from their clients. The Department of Homeland Security issued a technical alert for cloudhopper, which it said was engaged in cyber espionage and theft of intellectual property, after experts with two prominent US cybersecurity companies warned earlier this week that Chinese hacking activity has surged amid the escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing.
4. Oil traders have piled into wagers that US crude oil could surge to $US100 a barrel by next year. The imminent return of US sanctions on Iran and bottlenecks keeping US oil from getting to market have fuelled a rally that has taken benchmark oil prices to four-year highs. The number of open positions on $US100 December 2019 WTI call options has risen by 30% in the last week, according to CME data. Brent on Wednesday hit a four-year high of $US86.74 a barrel.
5. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s officials are planning to rush her Brexit deal through Parliament to stave off a rebellion from her own party, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. May’s team want the final withdrawal agreement ratified by lawmakers within two weeks of signing the terms of the divorce in Brussels, Bloomberg said, citing people familiar with the matter.
6. Democrats are zeroing in on The New York Times’ Tuesday investigation into President Donald Trump’s wealth, once again pushing to obtain the president’s tax returns. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, requested in a Wednesday letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig that he investigate the allegations laid out in The Times report.
7. China’s foreign ministry criticised the US for suggesting that Beijing was behind the cancellation of sensitive security talks planned for this month, underscoring the severity of trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies. China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement late on Wednesday suggestions made by a US official that China had delayed the talks “completely distorted the facts, had a hidden motive and were extremely irresponsible”.
8. Bookseller Barnes & Noble said on Wednesday it is exploring strategic options after several parties, including its chairman Leonard Riggio, expressed interest to buy the company. This comes nearly a month after investor Richard Schottenfeld disclosed a higher stake in the bookseller and said he had discussed with its founder a possible sale of the company. Shares of the company rose about 24% in extended trading following the news.
9. Brazil’s far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro maintained his lead over leftist Workers Party rival Fernando Haddad ahead of this weekend’s election, an Ibope poll showed on Wednesday. In a simulated first-round vote, the poll found Bolsonaro had 32% of voter support while Haddad had 23%. If no candidate wins a majority in Sunday’s vote, the top two vote winners will face each other in an October 28 runoff ballot.
10. The wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was charged with 17 offences, including money laundering, on Wednesday, as anti-graft agents investigate billions of dollars missing from state coffers. The charges against Rosmah Mansor were read out by prosecutors at a Kuala Lumpur court.
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