10 things you need to know in markets today

Good morning! Here are the 10 things you need to know in markets on Monday.

Saudi Arabia has executed a prominent Shi’ite Muslim cleric, spurring regional anger, sparking geopolitical tensions, and sending markets into tailspin. Asian markets are diving, with Japan’s Nikkei down 3% at time of writing (6.22 a.m. GMT/1.22 a.m. ET) and the Hong Kong Hang Seng down 3.3%.

But oil is jumping. Saudi Arabia has cut off diplomatic ties with Iran, sending the price of benchmark Brent crude jumping as much as 3% overnight amid uncertainty of supply. Brent is up 0.90% at $37.95 (£25.75) at time of writing (6.22 a.m. GMT/1.22 a.m. ET). US West Texas Intermediate is up 1.77% at $37.70 (£25.58).

China’s factory activity shrank for a 10th straight month in December as surveys across Asia showed industry struggling with slack demand. The Caixin/Markit China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) slipped to 48.2 in December, below market forecasts of 49.0 and down from November’s 48.6. Anything below 50 signals contraction.

Trading on China’s Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets was halted for the day on Monday after shares fell 7%. The drop in the CSI300 index, which covers both bourses, for the first time triggered an automatic early closure under a new system to curb volatility, after an earlier 15-minute trading halt failed to stem the declines.

It’s manufacturing PMI day in Europe. December growth figures are due for Italy, France, Germany, Greece, the UK, and the Eurozone as a whole from 8.45 a.m. GMT (3.45 a.m. ET) onwards.

FTSE 100 drug maker Shire is close to agreeing a $32 billion (£21.6 billion) takeover of Baxalta after pursuing the US rare disease specialist for more than six months. The Telegraph reports that a deal could be announced within days after Shire indicated it could increase a bid first made in July.

A rise in Iran’s crude oil exports once sanctions are lifted depends on future global oil demand and should not further weaken oil prices, a senior Iranian oil official is quoted as saying. Oil prices are likely to come under further pressure this year, when international sanctions on Iran are removed under a nuclear deal reached in July.

David Cameron will today announce plans to revive Docklands-style housebuilding on public land, with the government directly commissioning thousands of affordable new homes. The Financial Times reports that the Prime Minister will claim the policy, inspired by Michael Heseltine’s state-backed development of the former docks of east London, represents “a huge shift in policy”.

Samsung says it expects a difficult business environment in 2016 due to weak global economic conditions and heightened competition in key businesses including memory chips and smartphones. Chief Executive Kwon Oh-hyun told employees in a New Year’s address that low global growth will persist this year, with greater uncertainty stemming from issues such as financial risks for emerging countries.

Things will only get worse for Brazil, Russia, India, and China — otherwise known as the BRIC countries — in 2016. That is the year-end thought of Brian Kelly, founder of Brian Kelly Capital, a Connecticut-based investment firm. Kelly sent BI a chart illustrating his theory and you can see it here.

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