Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Thursday.
1. European Central Bank policymakers meet on Thursday at 12.45 p.m. BST (7.45 a.m. ET) amid speculation the central bank could wind down its bond-buying monetary stimulus programme soon. This year’s surge in the exchange rate complicates the decision, however.
2. Downing Street is asking Britain’s biggest companies to give public support to the Government’s approach to its Brexit negotiations, a move which has provoked fury in a string of blue-chip boardrooms, according to Sky News. Sky obtained a letter being circulated in FTSE 100 and other company boardrooms which praises ministers’ commitment to securing a transition period after the UK leaves the European Union (EU).
3. The chief executive of Deutsche Bank has issued a stark warning about the impact of technology, saying a “big number” of his staff will lose their jobs as robots take over, the Guardian reports. John Cryan told an audience in Frankfurt: “In our bank we have people doing work like robots. Tomorrow we will have robots behaving like people. It doesn’t matter if we as a bank will participate in these changes or not, it is going to happen.”
4. The Financial Conduct Authority is facing pressure from the Treasury select committee of MPs to publish the report in to Royal Bank of Scotland’s troubled business restructuring unit, the Guardian reports. Nicky Morgan, the Conservative MP who chairs the powerful committee, has called on the FCA to publish the report, which was completed last year, after it was leaked to the BBC last week.
5. Asda says a shake-up of its main office functions will result in the loss of 300 jobs, according to Sky. The retailer – one of the so-called big four supermarket chains in the UK – is in the middle of a transformation plan under new chief executive Sean Clarke, aimed at restoring sales which have lagged its major competitors’ performance.
6. Europe’s highest court has ordered a €1.06bn (£970m) fine for Intel to be re-examined in a major victory for the US microchip giant that could bolster Silicon Valley in its battles with Brussels, the Telegraph reports. Intel was fined by the European Commission in 2009 for abusing its monopoly of the computer processor market by bullying manufacturers into purchasing all their chips from Intel instead of rivals.
7. Four UK-registered companies are at the heart of a scheme that funnelled $US2.9 billion out of Azerbaijan’s state purse, according to a report. Their investigation alleges billions of dollars were channelled through four British companies controlled via offshore jurisdictions, between 2012 and 2014.
8. Neil Woodford, founding partner of Woodford Investment Management, has blamed credit growth in China as the main reason behind the recent poor performance of his most high-profile fund in an interview for his website, the Times reports. It’s tempting to think the underperformance is a product of company-specific problems. But for me it is a product much more of the rather odd characteristics of this bull run in the stock market,” he said.
9. Sports Direct’s under-fire chairman Keith Hellawell survived a tense shareholder vote today after narrowly clinching support for his re-election from the majority of independent shareholders, the Telegraph reports. Hellawell, who has been with the retailer since 2009, had promised to step down if minority shareholders rebelled against him, as they had done the year before.
10. Asian shares ticked up on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump and congressional leaders agreed to raise the government debt limit until December, eliminating the risk of a government shutdown for now. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.3% while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.6% in early trading.
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