10 things you need to know in markets today

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

1. Apple is holding its annual keynote event on Wednesday, where the company is expected to announce a new lineup of iPhones, Apple Watches, and more. Business Insider will be attending and live-blogging the announcements, and the event will be live-streamed on Apple’s website.

2. Asian stocks were pinned near 14-month lows on Wednesday, as investor confidence was chilled by the latest round of verbal threats in an intensifying US-China trade conflict.Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.24%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.01% at the time of writing (7.12 a.m. GMT/2.12 a.m. ET), and the Shanghai Composite is down 0.15% at the same time.

3. Oil prices rose on Wednesday after a report of falling crude inventories and the looming sanctions against Iran fuelled expectations of a tightening market. Brent oil is up 0.45% to $US79.42 at the time of writing (7.13 a.m. GMT/2.13 a.m. ET), while US West Texas Intermediate is up 1% to $US69.94.

4. A group of about 50 lawmakers in British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government who oppose her proposals for a post-Brexit deal with the European Union have met to discuss how and when they could force her out of her job, the BBC reported on Wednesday. The lawmakers, part of the European Research Group (ERG), an anti-EU grouping in May’s Conservative party, met on Tuesday night and openly discussed May’s future as leader, the BBC said citing an unnamed source.

5. SSE, the “big six” UK energy firm, has issued a profit warning amid the looming price cap on the industry’s default tariffs dubbed a “rip-off” by Theresa May. Sky News reports the company said earnings at its household supply business for the year to 31 March would be expected to be “significantly lower” if Ofgem implements its curbs on standard variable tariffs (SVTs) as expected in January.

6. Executives from JPMorgan, Citi, and Barclays Ireland gave evidence to UK MPs on Tuesday about the impact of Brexit on their industry. All three said their banks expect just 150 roles to be moved out of London in the immediate aftermath of Brexit – much lower than previous estimates.

7. HSBC aims to increase its Asia private banking headcount by two-thirds in five years and double client assets in eight as it eyes a bigger share of the business in the world’s fastest-growing wealth market, top executives said.The lender’s private banking expansion plan in Asia, which accounted for 75% of group-level profit last year, comes as the unit that caters to the rich is focusing once more on growth after years of painful restructuring.

8. Tesco will unveil its new discount chain Jack’s next week as the UK’s biggest supermarket throws down the gauntlet to the German discounters Aldi and Lidl. The first of the stores, named after the Tesco founder Jack Cohen, will be unveiled by the supermarket’s chief executive Dave Lewis in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, on Wednesday.

9. Mike Ashley, the billionaire founder and majority owner of Sports Direct, faces a potential shareholder revolt at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday, though he will not be present to hear any protests. Sports Direct last month said that its board had agreed that CEO Ashley, who owns 61% of the sportswear retailer, would not be required to attend the meeting in central London because of “overriding demands for his time”.

10. US securities law can be used to prosecute fraud cases over cryptocurrency offerings, a New York federal judge ruled on Tuesday, in what appeared to be the first court decision to address the issue. The ruling from US District Judge Raymond Dearie in Brooklyn allows federal prosecutors to pursue their case against Maksim Zaslavskiy, a Brooklyn resident who was arrested in November on charges that he defrauded investors in two cryptocurrencies.

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