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The pound is getting smoked. The British currency fell following news Sunday that London Mayor Boris Johnson will campaign for Britain to leave the European Union. This adds to uncertainty over the country’s future in the bloc. One in three voters in the UK consider Johnson’s position as “important” in deciding which way to vote, according to a recent Evening Standard poll. An agreement was reached Friday that included several reforms demanded by British prime minister David Cameron, including a temporary halt on in-work benefits for migrants, and guarantees that London will be shielded from euro-zone financial regulation. The pound fell as much as 1.9% to $1.4129 against the dollar, the biggest decline since 2010.
Global markets are surging. US futures were up more than 1%, following the best week of the year, as major global indexes also rallied sharply at the start of the week. West Texas Intermediate crude futures in New York rallied 4% to $33 per barrel.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating HSBC. A footnote in the bank’s earnings statement disclosed that the SEC is looking into its hiring practices of candidates with ties to government officials in Asia. The SEC opened an investigation into JPMorgan in 2013 on the hiring of ‘princelings’, or, the relatives of China’s politicians and elite. “It would be inappropriate to comment further,” HSBC spokesperson Gareth Hewett told Reuters. HSBC swung to a loss totaling $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter.
Deutsche Bank is firing 75 people in its global markets division, split between New York and London. Higher regulatory costs, competition from US banks, and volatile markets have made traditional investment banking business models less profitable. The cuts are in the bank’s fixed-income trading unit, which deals with products like bonds and interest-rate swaps. “We are restructuring our FICC business to make it more suited to future market demands,” a spokesman said. Deutsche Bank previously announced a loss of $7.4 billion for 2015.
The FBI does not think unlocking the San Bernardino iPhone will create a precedent. Director James Comey blogged Sunday, without mentioning Apple, that the agency doesn’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set loose a master key to devices like the iPhone. He added that the case was “quite narrow” and not intended to set a precedent. “It is about the victims and justice,” he wrote.
More Takata airbag recalls may be on the way. According to Reuters, citing sources in the know, auto safety regulators are checking whether 70 million more airbag inflators should be recalled because they put drivers at risk. If this happens, it would quadruple the 29 million inflators already recalled and linked to nine deaths in the US.
Yahoo could start reaching out to potential buyers for its core business today. A source familiar with the situation told Bloomberg that Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T are interested parties, and also private equity buyers like Bain Capital, KKR, and TPG. Yahoo’s board announced Friday that it had created an independent committee to start looking for “strategic alternatives” to spinning off its core business, which includes search, mail, and news.
Facebook created a new team to double down on Virtual Reality. The Social VR team would focus entirely on figuring out ways that virtual reality can help people connect, according to a company blog post. CEO Mark Zuckerberg was on hand at Samsung’s Galaxy S7 launch event at the Mobile World Congress Sunday, to talk up both companies plans in VR. Samsung in 2014 announced a new VR headset in partnership with Oculus VR, which is owned by Facebook.
Lumber Liquidators’ flooring has a three times higher risk of causing cancer. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement Sunday that its earlier report incorrectly stated ceiling heights and understated the formaldehyde concentration. The company has been under scrutiny since a “60 Minutes” report last year said that flooring sourced from China contained excessive formaldehyde levels. Shares were down as much as 22% pre-market.
In earnings, Allergan reports results before the opening bell. Fitbit and Motorola are due after the market close.
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