Good morning! Here is what you need to know on Friday.
1. The Securities and Exchange Commission is suing Tesla CEO Elon Musk on charges that he made “false and misleading statements” and wants to bar him from helming a public company. The SEC says the charges stem from Musk’s tweets about taking his electric-car company private at $US420 a share, a claim he tweeted to his 22 million followers on August 7. Tesla shares fell as much as 11% in after-hours trading on the news.
2. The US Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court on Friday morning, after a day of contentious hearings during which Christine Blasey Ford testified about her claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, and Kavanaugh testified in his own defence. If the committee’s confirmation vote on Friday lands in Kavanaugh’s favour, then senators would move forward with a procedural vote on the Senate floor Saturday. That could potentially set up a final confirmation vote next week.
3. The dollar rose against peers, advancing to a nine-month high versus the yen, after data reinforced upbeat views about the US economy and backed the Federal Reserve’s signal for a steady course of rate increases over the next year. US gross domestic product grew at a 4.2% clip in the second quarter, the fastest in nearly four years, according to government data on Thursday.
4. Ryanair is bracing on Friday for another strike by staff as walkouts in six European countries, mainly cabin crew, force flight cancellations that will disrupt the plans of more than 40,000 travellers. Europe’s largest low-cost carrier has faced a string of strikes since it recognised trade unions for the first time in December, damaging bookings and forcing it to consider cutting short-term growth plans if labour unrest continues.
5. Streaming service Netflix plans to double its investments in France and produce 14 local shows, twice as many as previously planned, chief executive Reed Hastings said Friday. Hastings did not disclose how much Netflix would invest in France, though it would be “many millions of euros”, he told French radio station BFM Business.
6. Italy’s government on Thursday targeted the budget deficit at 2.4% of gross domestic product for the next three years, defying Brussels and marking a victory for party chiefs over economy minister Giovanni Tria, an unaffiliated technocrat. Tria had initially wanted a deficit set as low as 1.6% next year, hoping to respect European Union demands that Italy progressively cut the fiscal gap to rein in its high debt.
7. Global mergers and acquisitions dropped to $US783 billion in the third quarter, down 35% from the prior quarter, as the escalating trade dispute between the United States and China cast a shadow on the financial and regulatory prospects of some deals.
8. Britain’s biotechnology industry has raised a bumper £1.56 billion ($US2.05 billion) in the first eight months of this year, surpassing the £1.2 billion reached in the whole of 2017, despite anxiety in the sector about the fallout from Brexit. The increase has been fuelled by recent changes to venture capital tax incentives, according to UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) CEO Steve Bates, as well as global investor enthusiasm for drug discoveries emanating from biotech labs.
9. Macquarie Bank CEO Nicholas Moore has been implicated in a financial investigation by German authorities. The inquiry concerns a complex dividend trading scheme that is currently the subject of civil litigation. In a statement to the ASX this morning, Macquarie said the Cologne Prosecutor’s Office is expected to speak with at least 30 senior staff members involved in the deal.
10. Sword-wielding headhunter: A senior executive at one of Wall Street’s top recruiting firms was arrested for allegedly slashing a bride with a sword after a dispute broke out. Luckily, the bride suffered non-life threatening injuries to her arm. The man, however, now faces multiple charges and has been suspended without pay, pending the result of the investigation.
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