Here’s what’s been happening on Wall Street overnight

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AT&T and Time Warner’s court victory was the final hurdle to clear before an M&A explosion

When AT&T and Time Warner finally received approval for their blockbuster $US85 billion merger on Tuesday, everyone involved in the deal rejoiced. After a hard-fought battle with regulators, they were able to enjoy the fruits of their labour at long last.

But the impact of the court ruling will stretch far beyond AT&T and Time Warner, and even the media industry at large. It will likely continue to reverberate through the corporate ecosystem for months, giving hope to the handfuls of other deals currently suspended in regulatory purgatory.

Getting the biggest boost will be so-called vertical mergers, which involve the combination of companies occupying different parts of the supply chain, rather than direct competitors.

Morgan Stanley spending billions on tech

Morgan Stanley is spending around $US4 billion annually to invest in technology, CEO James Gorman said on Tuesday.

That’s around 40% of the firm’s $US10.3 billion expense budget excluding compensation costs in 2017. Still, it’s not clear if the figure Gorman mentioned includes compensation for tech employees. As a percentage of overall expenses,Morgan Stanley could be devoting twice the amount to tech spend as rival Citi.

Robinhood’s lesser known business thrives

When most people think about Robinhood, free stock trading and its red-hot crypto feature typically come to mind.

But Robinhood also has a lesser-known options trading business, which it launched in late 2017, and is growing fast.

The firm has clocked-in over $US2 billion in options volumes, making it one of the largest platforms offering exposure to the market, said Chris O’Neil, a product manager at Robinhood responsible for the firm’s options business.

Robinhood is now rolling out multi-leg options, which allow traders to engage in more advanced strategies tied to options.

Droves of Wall Streeters abandon work during big World Cup games

Don’t be shy about switching one of the financial-TV screens to a sports channel during the World Cup – chances are that trader colleagues around the world are doing the same.

At least that’s what happened during the last two tournaments. During big games in the 2014 World Cup, trading volumes on major international stock-market exchanges plummeted by more than comparable periods in the prior years, according to data provided by Thomson Reuters. Traders were especially distracted whenever Brazil, the host nation, and Germany, the eventual champion, were playing.

Citigroup says trading has slowed down in the second quarter

The trading environment has slowed down in the second quarter this year, an expected drop-off from the hyperactive first three months of the year that saw some banks post record results, Citigroup CFO John Gerspach said.

Gerspach, speaking at a financials conference on Wednesday, said that his firm was pacing toward flat results in its trading business compared with the second quarter of 2017, with equities showing strength and the fixed income business showing struggles.

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