News

16 July – 20 July

16 July

Sibanye-Stillwater, the South African gold and platinum miner, has raised $500m through a streaming deal with Wheaton Precious Metals in an effort to reduce its debt following a string of acquisitions.

China’s premier Li Keqiang has extended an olive branch to the US in the midst of Beijing’s efforts to rally international support against new trade tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.

UK property group British Land said on Tuesday that the tough retail climate had hit its rental income after hundreds of shops closed in the early months of the year.

Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Share Save Save to myFT Song Jung-a in Seoul JULY 17, 2018 Print this page Shares of Asiana Airlines shot up more than 20 per cent on Tuesday morning on a media report that SK Group is considering buying the troubled airline – a claim the conglomerate later denied.

17 July

US stock futures tip Wall Street for a modestly lower open on Tuesday as investors digest a fresh slate of earnings and await Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell’s testimony.

Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports grew at a slower pace than forecast in June with the picture unlikely to improve as the US-China trade war disrupts regional supply chains, economists said.

Netflix tussled with Walt Disney for the crown as the world’s most valuable media group after disappointing subscriber growth prompted a share price slide at the Silicon Valley video streaming service.

US homebuilder confidence held steady in July, as growing demand for housing offset concerns about rising construction costs.

18 July

The gatekeepers of the UK’s £1.6tn pension fund industry have avoided a forced break-up of their businesses after the UK’s antitrust body stopped short of recommending an overhaul of the investment consultancy sector. But they face increased regulation and mandatory tendering.

The yen slipped past the ¥113 mark on Wednesday for the first time since January as it continued its slide against the dollar despite a plethora of tense geopolitical issues.

Welcome to the $900bn market-cap club Amazon. The e-commerce giant briefly became only the second company after Apple to cross this market value milestone on Wednesday after its shares rose as much as 0.8 per cent at a record $1,858.88.

Brussels has hit Google with a record €4.3bn fine for abusing the dominant market position of its Android operating system for mobile phones.

19 July

Dollar earners such as Johnson Matthey and Ashtead were the top performers as a 10-month low for sterling helped propel the FTSE 100 higher.

The US Department of Commerce has begun an investigation into whether the country’s imports of uranium are a threat to national security, opening a new front in its escalating series of disputes over international trade.

Philip Morris International’s bet on a smoke-free future has hit a snag. The world’s biggest listed tobacco company sharply lowered full-year earnings guidance on Thursday as efforts to win customers for its smokeless devices struggled to gain traction

Retail sales volumes unexpectedly dropped in June, but after two strong months of growth sales for the quarter grew at their fastest rate since 2015.

20 July

Russia is already enjoying a World Cup windfall of positive international PR and a surge in national pride after staging a widely praised tournament and seeing its team defy rock-bottom expectations. The event also gave its economy a welcome shot in the arm, the country’s top bank said on Thursday.

Inflows into technology-focused funds have surpassed the $20bn mark for the year so far, despite rising concerns among some fund managers that the “ tech trade” is overextended.

Agriculture chemicals group UPL agreed to purchase a unit of Platform Specialty Products for $4.2bn on Friday, in a deal that will bolster the company’s offerings of pesticides for farmers.

“Dating” at Lego is not about people, but pieces. The Danish toymaker, which uses 20 different materials in the 75bn parts a year that go into its construction sets, is on a quest to swap all the oil-based plastics it uses for more sustainable materials by 2030. The ambitious push will change the make-up of just about everything it produces, from dragon’s heads to miniature car tyres.

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09 July – 13 July

09 July

Dump tech, buy defensive. That’s the message from analysts at Morgan Stanley on Monday. The bank is bracing for a turn lower in the stock market and is recommending clients to shift away from the technology stocks that have helped drive US equities higher and move into more defensive sectors such as consumer staples, telecoms and utilities.

China is retreating from a policy that has channelled about $1tn in subsidies to homebuyers since 2016, a reversal that has sent tremors through the country’s residential property market amid broader concerns about a housing bubble.

Sportradar, a European sport technology group backed by US billionaire Mark Cuban and former basketball star Michael Jordan, has been valued at $2.4bn, in a deal with new investors designed to expand its reach in the US.

Tesla, the electric-vehicle company, has become one of the first US casualties in a mounting tariff war with China.

10 July

Just two years after telecoms consolidation appeared stymied by Brussels’ steely competition watchdog, European executives are again talking up the chances of mergers seen in the industry as key to investment in next generation mobile networks.

Fitch has upgraded Mongolia’s long-term debt rating in a sign the central Asian nation is getting to grips with its debt burden, just under two years after it went to the International Monetary Fund for a rescue loan.

Grab is opening up its platform to third-party developers and peers as part of efforts by the south-east Asian start-up to pivot from a ride-hailing app to a “one-stop shop”.

Online grocer Ocado has forecast higher costs and renewed losses as it ploughs money into its business of building robot-operated warehouses for other retailers.

11 July

Despite an upbeat trading day for stocks, futures were hit after the closing bell on Tuesday by a report that the US is preparing to release its list of an additional $200bn in Chinese goods it will hit with tariffs.

Turkish equities, bonds and the lira took a blow on Wednesday after a report that showed the country’s current account deficit rose for the third month in a row, underscoring growing imbalances in its economy.

Morgan Stanley is no stranger to bitter power struggles. One of the most dramatic regime changes ever seen on Wall Street took place at the bank in 2005 when John Mack seized the helm. It followed a bruising battle over the leadership of Phil Purcell, who had forced Mr Mack out four years earlier.

Pfizer has postponed price increases on 100 products following an extensive discussion with President Donald Trump, who had said the company should be “ashamed” of the move.

12 July

Asia-Pacific equities rose on Thursday after declining in the previous session on the latest development in the US-China trade spat, while oil prices steadied following the biggest one-day tumble in more than two years.

Donald Trump’s escalating trade war with China shook investors on Wednesday, as US multinationals warned its impact would outweigh the benefits of tax cuts and some Republicans voiced fears about the political fallout.

Weeks of unseasonably warm weather prompted a decline in footfall to the UK high street as consumers swapped shops for the beach, homewares retailers DFS Furniture and Dunelm warned on Thursday, compounding already challenging trading conditions.

Asos, the Aim-listed online fashion retailer whose market value now exceeds that of Marks and Spencer, said full year sales growth would be “towards the lower end” of a 25-30 per cent range.

13 July

Tech stocks were the winners on Thursday, with some of the market’s best-known names powering Wall Street higher and pushing the Nasdaq Composite to a record high close.

Iran has touted $50bn worth of potential Russian investments in its oil and gas sector as it seeks to deepen its relationship with Moscow, amid mounting pressure from the US to curb the country’s energy exports and diplomatically isolate Tehran.

McDonald’s shares fell on Thursday evening after two states said they were investigating whether the fast-food chain’s salads were linked to dozens of cases of foodborne illness.

MasterCard has apologised after an outage at the credit card company blocked payments for customers using its cards around the world only weeks after its main rival Visa was hit by technical problems.

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02 July – 06 July

02 July

No fewer than three Bank of England policymakers publicly discussed the UK’s poor productivity performance last week, but, while all focused on different aspects of the problem, their interventions showed that a consensus is emerging about its source.

Eurozone manufacturers battled a sharp increase in costs in June as global trade tensions pushed up prices of steel and other metals.

The latest exchange of cross-Channel gunfire about the City of London’s post-Brexit status has started in earnest.

Debt at UK listed companies has soared to hit a record high of £390bn as companies have scrambled to maintain dividend payouts in response to shareholder demand despite weak profitability.

03 July

China’s renminbi pushed past the Rmb6.7 per dollar mark for the first time in nearly eleven months as downward pressure seen during a record monthly drop in June showed no sign of dissipating in July.

Sweden’s krona has popped higher after the central bank kept interest rates on hold but bumped up its inflation forecasts.

Micro Focus will sell one of its highest-growth divisions to the Swedish private equity fund EQT for $2.5bn in cash, locking in a large gain on its 2014 acquisition of the business, known as Suse.

US casino stocks took a tumble after data showed slower-than-expected monthly revenue growth in Macau, the world’s largest gambling centre.

04 July

Major tech stocks remain among the biggest winners of the year so far, despite the looming threat of trade disputes showing signs of weighing on the sector.

China’s services sector growth rose markedly in June, according to an independent industry gauge.

Uber is in early-stage talks about a deal with Middle Eastern ride-hailing rival Careem that could include taking a majority stake or acquiring the company outright, according to two people familiar with the matter.

A deteriorating print advertising market weighed on Telegraph Media Group’s annual results, with operating profit at the owner of the Telegraph newspaper and website falling more than 32 per cent.

05 July

Global markets are bracing themselves as the deadline nears for the Trump administration to start charging tariffs on $34bn of imports from China, in what will mark the first shots fired in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Ireland’s central bank has directed the country’s commercial banks raise their capital buffers to guard against any shock as the economy booms.

Mobike, one of the world’s biggest smart bike-sharing companies, said it would refund all its Chinese users’ deposits — Rmb1bn ($150m), according to an industry insider — heightening competition with rival ofo.

HNA Group, the debt-laden Chinese conglomerate whose founder fell to his death while sightseeing in southern France on Tuesday, will sell its warehouse properties in Singapore for S$730m ($534m).

06 July

Aegean Marine Petroleum, the New York-listed Greek shipping fuel company, has reached a financing agreement with energy trading group Mercuria as part of a sweeping overhaul of operations launched by US activist hedge fund managers appointed to its board

The Federal Reserve has detected rising concern among US business about the potentially harmful impact of tariffs as growing trade tensions prompt some executives to freeze investment plans.

Shares of Embraer, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, fell sharply after the company announced an agreement that would hand 80 per cent of its commercial jet operation to Boeing of the US.

Southern Rail cancelled or delayed almost three-quarters of its trains today after a major power failure.

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25 June – 29 June

25 June

Stocks were broadly lower in Asia-Pacific trading after the latest signs of trade hostility between China and the US.

The Trump administration has decided to restrict Chinese investment in US companies and start-ups in sectors from aerospace to robotics as it prepares to deploy its latest weapon in the escalating trade war with Beijing.

Japan is facing international pressure to reduce its 47-tonne stockpile of plutonium, ahead of the expiry of a civil nuclear treatywith the US.

AT&T is stepping up its effort to challenge its big tech rivals with the acquisition of AppNexus, an advertising technology company that will allow the US telecom and media giant to win a bigger slice of the global online advertising market.

26 June

Andreessen Horowitz has become the first venture capital firm to raise a large fund focused on cryptocurrencies, as start-up investors search for ways to join a boom that has threatened to pass the traditional VC world by.

The US drugs regulator has approved the first cannabis-derived medicine for the American market.

The pharmaceutical industry has failed to seriously commit to the fight against drug-resistant superbugs, Jim O’Neill said on Tuesday, as he called for a new tax on drug sales.

One of China’s leading stock indices has slipped into bear market territory, underlining the pressure that escalating trade tensions and a slowing economy are exerting on the country’s biggest companies.

27 June

Wall Street bounced on Tuesday as a rally in crude prices helped bolster energy shares and offset trade concerns that had pushed the S&P and Nasdaq to their worst day in more than two months on Monday.

Emerging market assets sustained a fresh blow on Wednesday, with mounting concern over the escalation in the Washington-led global trade battle.

General Electric shares were on course for their best day in more than three years on Tuesday after the industrial conglomerate said it will spin off its healthcare division and its stake in oil services company Baker Hughes.

Uber will be able to continue to operate in London, its biggest European market, after a court granted the ride-hailing app a new 15-month licence

28 June

India’s economic vulnerabilities have been brought to the fore, as higher oil prices and the threat of a global trade war have sent the rupee tumbling to its lowest ever level against the dollar.

The collapse of the Argentine peso and the government’s struggle to tackle soaring inflation are causing disquiet among companies developing Vaca Muerta, one of the world’s largest deposits of shale oil and gas.

British car production rose 1.3 per cent in May as rising demand at home offset a small drop in exports.

Chipotle executives warned investors of some short-term hiccups — including the closure of up to 60 underperforming stores and a restructuring charge of as much as $135m — as the fast-casual burrito chain tries to transform into a leaner, meaner company under its new chief executive, Brian Niccol.

29 June

The “Albiceleste”, as the Argentine national football team is known, might have advanced to the next stage of the World Cup, but the scorecard is not looking good for the Argentine peso.

The rally for US crude prices is showing no signs of letting up, with a key benchmark touching its highest point since November 2014 on Thursday.

US buyout firm Carlyle is in exclusive talks to acquire a majority stake in Codorníu, Spain’s oldest maker of sparkling wine, in a deal that values the family-controlled company at €390m ($452m), two people familiar with the negotiations said.

Bird Rides has closed a $300m funding round led by Silicon Valley investors including Sequoia and Accel, as the electric scooter start-up seeks to fuel its expansion outside the US.

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18 June – 22 June

18 June

Drops across European bourses accelerated in mid-afternoon action on Monday, with investors increasingly nervous over deepening trade disputes.

The UK is set for its weakest year of economic growth since the financial crisis because of lacklustre consumer spending, business investment and trade, the British Chambers of Commerce has said.

Amazon is rolling out its Prime subscription service in Australia just weeks ahead of a policy change that will block customers in the country from shopping on its overseas websites in response to a new tax law.

Shares in Nexans, the French cable maker, fell sharply on Monday after a profit warning spooked investors already concerned by the departure of the company’s chief executive.

19 June

Wall Street trimmed its gains by late morning in New York as a rally in crude prices boosted the energy sector, helping to partly offset escalating fears of a US-China trade war.

Emerging-markets currencies are feeling the heat from the latest wave of nerves about a global trade war that has hit stock markets and boosted the appeal of haven assets.

British department store group Debenhams has issued its third profit warning of 2018, adding to the deep sense of gloom on UK high streets.

German energy company Eon will raise British dual fuel prices by 4.8 per cent from August following a “significant rise in the cost of wholesale energy,” it said on Tuesday.

20 June

Europol is meeting more than a dozen major cryptocurrency exchanges this week to assess ways to crack down on the use of digital assets for money laundering, as concern mounts over the criminal exploitation of the nascent technology.

German producer inflation climbed in May at the quickest pace since October 2017 on the back of sharp jumps in petroleum and electricity prices, according to data released on Wednesday.

One of the more eye-popping slides in Mary Meeker’s annual deck shows the world’s top 20 internet companies, ranked by market value. From just two places five years ago, Chinese players now take up nine slots.

Package delivery company FedEx on Tuesday posted upbeat quarterly results buoyed by higher base package shipping rates as online shopping boosts deliveries.

21 June

Asia-Pacific markets edged higher on Thursday as investors continued to mull the likely impacts from the simmering trade war between the US and China.

The Swiss National Bank is not amused by the political shockwaves in Italy that have put pressure on the euro and pumped up the franc.

Walt Disney sought to shut down the nascent bidding war for the majority of 21st Century Fox by upping its offer for Rupert Murdoch’s movie studio and cable channels by nearly $20bn to $71.3bn, significantly outstripping a rival offer from Comcast.

Xiaomi will sell shares at between HK$17 and HK$22 a share, raising up to $6.1bn in its Hong Kong initial public offering.

22 June

Oil prices extended their gains on Friday as Saudi Arabia won a deal to lead Opec in a roughly 1m barrel a day output boost as it seeks to cool the rally in crude.

France’s economy grew at a slower pace in the first three months of 2018 on sluggish household spending and a fall in exports, final figures from the country’s statistics office showed.

Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs of 20 per cent on imports of cars from the European Union, in a further escalation of trade hostilities with key partners that hit shares of major automakers.

Saudi Arabia has won a deal to lead Opec in a production increase as the cartel and its allies bid to cool oil’s rally to the highest price level since 2014.

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04 June – 08 June

04 June

Australian retail sales rose in April with unusually hot weather boosting spending at cafes and restaurants across the country.

The UK government should encourage the publicly owned British Business Bank to invest in start-ups to offset the impact that Brexit will have on funding for the tech sector, according to a think-tank.

Hedge funds appear to be falling out of love with oil, having reined in a record-breaking bet on higher prices, as Opec and Russia discuss raising production ahead of their meeting this month.

Accor, Europe’s largest hotelier by room numbers, is considering taking a minority stake in Air France-KLM in a move that would create a leader on the continent in the travel industry.

05 June

South Africa’s economy contracted at the sharpest rate in almost a decade in the first three months of the year, according to official statistics, underlining the challenge confronting President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid to revive growth.

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella on Monday unveiled his biggest bet yet on rebuilding the company around open-source software, with the $7.5bn acquisition of online code-sharing platform GitHub.

Italy’s state-controlled energy group Enel, snapped up 73 per cent of the shares of Brazil’s power company Eletropaulo for R$5.52bn ($1.48bn) on Monday, formally ending a heated bidding war with Spain’s Iberdrola. The deal would make it the largest electricity generator of Latin America’s largest country.

Twitter shares climbed in pre-market action in New York on Tuesday on news the social media company will be added to the benchmark S&P 500 index.

06 June

The EU has confirmed plans to target €2.8bn of US products with extra tariffs as it prepares its retaliation against Donald Trump’s move to hit European steel and aluminium with punitive duties.

WH Smith’s shift from the high street to travel hubs has helped it keep sales on track, boosting shares at the start of trading on Wednesday.

Uber plans to launch is new e-bike rentals service across Europe this year, as it steps up its investment in the increasingly competitive market for alternatives to cars for getting around cities.

Asia-Pacific stocks mostly edged higher in early trading after a rally for tech stocks on Wall Street overnight helped to offset investor caution over the simmering US-China trade dispute.

07 June

Australia posted an eleventh-consecutive trade surplus in April but one economist has warned exports will not provide as much support to gross domestic product growth in the second quarter.

European packaging producer RPC insisted that its investors had nothing to fear from government crackdowns on plastic, even as the company’s share price dropped as much as 15 per cent on Wednesday amid rising concerns over its cash conversion.

Volvo Cars plans to double sales and raise profit margins by 50 per cent by the middle of the next decade through an expansion of its subscription service and selling more vehicles to ride-hailing fleets.

For equity investors, Japan’s demographics present an endlessly foggy vista punctuated with fleeting moments of clarity. The past few weeks have provided one such: buy bread, sell marriage.

08 June

Exports from the Philippines shrank at a still faster pace in April as growth in electronics shipments failed to offset losses elsewhere.

Energy stocks were muted in early Asia-Pacific trading on Friday despite a jump in the price of crude overnight.

An eventful start to the year for Broadcom — which saw its efforts to take over rival Qualcomm rebuffed and ultimately blocked, even as it moved back to the US — did not seem to weigh on its quarterly sales, which rose 20 per cent year-over-year.

Infineon raised its revenue outlook on Friday and said it plans to increase manufacturing investments to keep up with growth in high-tech industries.

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28 May – 01 June

28 May

Opec and Russia are set to boost oil supply in an effort to cool prices, but questions remain over how the increase will work.

Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil producer, has reported a 75 per cent jump in first-quarter net profit, as a recent surge in global crude prices to near four-year highs helped push up revenue and margins.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has been accused by prominent environmentalists of failing to disclose environmental transgressions by a supplier, which could impact the company’s upcoming $10bn public offering, said investors.

The euro firmed on Monday after Italy’s populists parties droppedtheir bid to form a government following the Italian president’s block on the nomination of a Eurosceptic finance minister.

29 May

Italy’s political crisis, now almost sure to send the country back to the polls in the autumn, is dramatic yet strange. Dramatic because it has pitched two anti-establishment parties which won a combined 50 per cent of the votes in March’s election against the constitutional right of a head of state to reject a proposed minister.

The euro on Tuesday slipped below the $1.16 level for the first time since November 2017 after a sell-off in the Italian debt market ricocheted into forex trade.

China’s Alibaba is doubling down on logistics by taking a stake in courier firm ZTO Express.

Royal Bank of Scotland has become the latest bank to stop financing environmentally damaging energy and mining projects, as investors ramp up pressure on lenders to do more to tackle climate change.

30 May

An index of major Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong was threatening to close at its worst level in 2018 on Wednesday as the Italian political crisis continued to worry investors and after the US and China trade war returned to focus.

It is not a good time to be making toys in China. Before President Trump ignited talk of a US-China trade war, the world’s biggest toy-exporting nation already faced thin profit margins, accelerated product cycles and rising wages. And that was before Chinese factories were hit by the bankruptcy of American retailer Toys ‘R’ Us last year.

Shares in UK engineering business Smiths Group touched an all-time high on Tuesday after it confirmed to investors that it had held preliminary talks about the possible merger of its medical business with a US rival.

Gold climbed on Tuesday as developments in Italian politics sparked widespread investor anxiety.

31 May

UK consumer borrowing recovered in April, in a sign that the economy is regaining momentum after a dismal first quarter.

Warren Buffett and Uber held talks about a potential $3bn investment by Berkshire Hathaway in the ride-hailing company but the two sides could not reach an agreement on terms, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Box cut its full-year earnings outlook in a move that overshadowed record quarterly revenue for the cloud storage company and sent its shares down more than 4 per cent in after-hours trade.

Hopes that Italy might manage to avoid a new election underpinned a rebound for the country’s stock and government bond markets following steep losses over the past few sessions.

01 June

Executives at Spanish factories reported a slowdown last month in the rate of growth in output and new orders, pressuring a key gauge of the country’s manufacturing sector to the lowest level since August 2017.

Samsonite shares jumped as much as 15.2 per cent in morning trading in Hong Kong after the company’s chief executive resigned in the wake of a critical report from a short seller.

An underwhelming forecast for the current quarter took some of the shine off of stronger than expected earnings for Ulta, sending its shares lower in after-hours trading.

Shares in Deutsche Bank were up 1.7 per cent in early trade on Friday, in a partial recovery following a turbulent Thursday that dragged them down more than 7 per cent.

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21 – 25 May

21 May

The dollar continued its ascent on Monday after the US and China backed down from a full-on trade war, climbing to its highest level this year against other major currencies.

A $10bn fundraising by Ant Financial has confirmed a valuation on the dominant provider of online finance in China of more than $150bn, according to people involved in the transaction.

Pre-tax profits halved at Aston Martin for the period between January and March as the company increased spending on new models and suffered unfavourable currency shifts in an expected cooler quarter.

On a grim day for emerging-market currencies and assets, Turkey stands out for the wrong reasons. The lira is the worst performing currency on Monday by a distance, with the dollar shooting up more than 2 per cent to buy around 4.90 lira, yet another record low for the Turkish currency. The lira’s decline since mid-April is above 12 per cent, and amounts to 17 per cent for the year.

22 May

France has warned that a trade deal between the US and China must not harm the EU, as the bloc seeks exemption from Washington’s planned tariffs on aluminium and steel next month.

Rio Tinto has warned Mongolia not to tamper with the contracts that underpin its investment in a giant copper mine in the Gobi desert if it wants to attract more foreign capital to the country.

Sony has agreed to buy a controlling stake in EMI Music Publishing for $2.3bn, a move the Japanese company said would strengthen its content portfolio.

After a wobbly start, Italian government bond prices have begun to pick up, sending 10-year yields down by 5 basis points on the day to 2.282 per cent. Yields fall when prices rise.

23 May

Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, has unveiled a “strategic growth plan” to be implemented after the country exits the current €86bn bailout programme in August.

Great Portland Estates has swung back to a full-year profit after the impact of the Brexit vote turned out to be less immediately damaging than it had feared, though the West End property developer is still mindful of a potential drag from messy UK politics.

Shares in Santos slumped as much as 9.6 per cent on Wednesday after the oil producer rejected a $10.9bn takeover bid by Harbour Energy.

Asia-Pacific stocks tracked Wall Street lower on Wednesday as concerns over US-China trade lingered.

24 May

South Korea’s central bank kept interest rates on hold for a sixth consecutive month on Thursday, as expected by economists.

Uber trimmed its losses in the first quarter and announced a tender offer that values the car-booking company at $62bn, as it pushes ahead with efforts to improve its financial outlook ahead of an initial public offering expected next year.

The worldwide market for gas-fired turbines for power generation was likely to be weak over the next couple of years as a result of competition from renewables, energy efficiency and increasingly battery storage, the chief executive of General Electric warned.
Bitcoin shed another 4 per cent of its value after a media report that the US justice department had begun criminal investigations into potential price manipulation of several cryptocurrencies, taking its losses for the week so far to 14 per cent.

25 May

Mexico is still hopeful that a fully updated North American Free Trade Agreement can be agreed before US midterm elections in November and the government will continue to negotiate despite “fireworks” over the US threat of invoking “obsolete” national security protection rules to apply tariffs against the auto sector, economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo said.

France’s Total has agreed to take a 10 per cent stake in Arctic LNG 2, a liquefied natural gas project being developed by Russia’s Novatek in the Siberian arctic.

Spotify has scored a victory in a legal dispute with songwriters, after a US federal judge approved a $113m settlement it had agreed with two litigants over royalty payments.

Asia-Pacific equities started Friday in negative territory after Donald Trump cancelled a June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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14 – 18 May

14 May

Eurozone investment spending has still not recovered to pre-crisis levels, a decade after the market turmoil hit, according to data from Eurostat published on Monday.

Shares in global oil and gas companies have surged during the current quarter, boosted by rising oil prices, improving earnings and promises of hefty cash returns to shareholders.

Rolls-Royce expects to be producing solely electric cars by 2040, as the British marque pledges to ditch the internal combustion engine that is synonymous with its ultra-luxury vehicles.

UK consumer spending is still declining despite the recent pick-up in wage growth, according to an analysis of credit and debit card payments that suggests the arrival of spring weather has not brought much let-up for Britain’s battered retail sector.

15 May

Europe’s economy is facing a string a threats to growth, the International Monetary Fund has warned — including from the new populist coalition government in Italy and Brexit.

Miners were among laggards in London on Tuesday as the oil price continued its ascent to a three-and-half-year high above $78 a barrel.

Shares in Energias de Portugal jumped more than 9 per cent on Monday, the first day of trading after China Three Gorges launched a €9bn offer to take full control of the power utility.

A plethora of upstart consumer brands, such as Dollar Shave Club razors and Halo-Top ice cream, have given big consumer companies a headache by eating into their business.

16 May

Indonesia’s currency dipped to its weakest level against the dollar since late 2015 on Wednesday as the greenback strengthened and ahead of the Bank of Indonesia’s interest rate decision set for Thursday.

Asia Pacific stocks dipped on Wednesday after North Korea pulled out of high-level talks with Seoul and as US Treasury yields rose to the highest level in seven years overnight.

Blockbusters including Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, which have enjoyed record box office sales, have boosted revenues at Cineworld in 2018.

Burberry has said it will buy back another £150m of shares after the British luxury brand ended its financial year with more than £800m of net cash and reported profits ahead of expectations.

17 May

Australia’s unemployment rate edged up to a 9-month high in April, despite an increase in the number of full-time roles.

Large US technology companies are investing far more in their businesses as a percentage of revenues than many non-tech peers in spite of spending billions of dollars on share buybacks at the same time.

Finnish mobile gaming company Rovio increased profitability in the first quarter by 88 per cent after the sequel to its popular Angry Birds game generated record revenues and it continued to make money from the Angry Birds movie.

Struggling children’s goods retailer Mothercare has become the latest UK chain to agree a lifeline deal with creditors, as the consumer downturn and the rise of online commerce piles pressure on high street shops.

18 May

Prices for industrial products in Germany picked up at a surprisingly rapid pace in April, in a potential indication that the dip in growth and inflation at the start of this year may prove to be a blip.

Investors put more money into bank loan funds in the past week than at any time in more than a year, as rising interest rates increased the attraction of floating-rate assets over traditional bonds.

PayPal is paying $2.2bn to buy iZettle, snapping up the Swedish payments start-up just before it was set to become the biggest fintech in Europe to list.

Two smartphones adorn the dashboard of Ganesh Medar’s white Maruti Suzuki hatchback as he eases through the noisy traffic of south Mumbai.

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07 – 11 May

07 May

Each of Alfonso Rossi’s pesos was worth a dollar 16 years ago. After the Argentine currency’s stumble over the past fortnight, each is now worth less than 5 cents.

The euro slipped against the US dollar on Monday, hitting its lowest level of 2018, with analysts focused on a slate of patchy economic data that have contrasted with the more robust readings from America.

Nissan is to phase out diesel from its cars in Europe, becoming the latest carmaker to shun the scandal-tainted fuel source.

Elliott Management, Paul Singer’s activist hedge fund, has made an offer to acquire Athenahealth, an American electronic medical records company, for about $7bn in one of its largest attempted takeovers to date.

08 May

Chinese exports rebounded in April with imports coming in higher than forecast as talks to avert a trade war between Beijing and Washington continue.

Italian assets are being hit by a brisk sell-off, with the growing prospect of a second general election within months leaving Milan stocks looking distinctly out of fashion with investors and the country’s bond yields rising.

Add Tyson Foods to the list of American companies struggling with rising cost pressures.

Shire’s board has unanimously recommended its shareholders accept a takeover offer from Japanese group Takeda that values the company’s equity at about £46bn and adds to a wave of acquisitions in the pharma industry.

09 May

Japan’s wage data for March came in well ahead of expectations on Wednesday with the strongest increase in earnings since 2003.

Oil prices trimmed earlier losses after President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the landmark nuclear deal with Iran, vowing to re-impose sanctions on Tehran and defying pleas from allies for the agreement to be preserved.

Perhaps Mike Coupe’s now famous rendition of “We’re in the Money” was a prediction, rather than a reaction. Four days after announcing a proposed takeover of Asda that sent the group’s stock price soaring, the Sainsbury’s chief executive and colleagues exercised option awards over £4.5m worth of shares.

Japanese human resource company Recruit Holdings said on Wednesday it had agreed to buy San Francisco-based employer review website Glassdoor for $1.2bn in cash.

10 May

Britain’s building and manufacturing sectors both contracted in March, according to official statistics, providing more evidence that the economy has made a weak start to 2018.

China credit spreads hit their widest level in nearly two years this week following new regulations that undermined long-held assumptions about implicit guarantees on debt linked to local governments.

Citadel, a $28bn hedge fund titan, last year traded enough natural gas to meet more than a month of US residential demand, becoming an unusual force in a market dominated by merchants, energy producers and utilities.

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox said its revenues fell less than feared in its fiscal third quarter despite strength in its cable network programming, as attention remains focused on the company’s deal with Walt Disney.

11 May

The investor withdrawal from emerging markets accelerated over the past week, with equity funds suffering their worst outflows in nearly a year and bond funds losing money for a third week running — the longest streak of withdrawals since late 2016.

Asia-Pacific equities were mostly buoyant on Friday, tracking a positive lead from Wall Street and following the announcement that a summit between the US president and the North Korean leader will take place in Singapore in June.

Apple has scrapped plans to build an €850m data centre in Ireland in a blow to the country’s efforts to attract global tech investment.

The UK is suffering from a “pothole epidemic”, with cavities in the road causing a boom in insurance claims. According to the AA, there were about 4,200 pothole-related insurance claims between January and April, a 171 per cent increase on the same period last year. At an average of £1,000 per claim, that adds up to a £4.2m bill for insurers.

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