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News

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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30 April – 04 May

30 April

Sterling began a tricky week on the back foot, sliding against the dollar and the euro amid fresh worries about UK government stability and economic data business.

A closely-watched leading indicator of the Swiss economy steadied in April after a bigger than previously thought decline in March.

Whatever happened to the law of large numbers? High-growth companies slow down as they get bigger: it’s as inevitable as gravity. If so, then someone forget to tell some of the big tech companies. Their growth is actually re-accelerating. Google parent Alphabet has just produced its strongest growth since 2013 – even though its quarterly revenues are now more than twice as big as they were back then.

Shares in Interserve plummeted 13 per cent on Monday after the struggling government contractor revealed widening losses.

01 May

It looks like the dollar is back in fashion. The index tracking the world’s reserve currency against six of its rivals is trading around some of its highest levels of the calendar year.

Inflation in Thailand has risen by more than 1 per cent for the first time in more than a year, after an official reading for April came in ahead of expectations.

The head of audit at the UK’s sixth-largest accounting firm has called for tighter restrictions on the range of services auditors can offer their clients amid growing concerns about conflicts of interest in the audit market.

Sony shares dipped as much as 6.1 per cent on Tuesday on return from a long holiday and after the company predicted a fall in operating profit for the 2019 fiscal year.

02 May

Apple sprayed more money at its shareholders in the first quarter of 2018 than any company in history — even before the new $100bn buyback programme and a 16 per cent increase in the dividend that it announced on Tuesday.

Growth in the eurozone hit its slowest pace for a year and a half in the first quarter of 2018, confirming fears of a slowdown in the single currency area after a stronger-than-expected 2017.

Mondelez, the company behind Oreo cookies and Sour Patch candy, beat sales and profit forecasts in the first three months of the year.

Mattel shares were in need of a Lightspeed Rescue on Tuesday as rival Hasbro announced a deal to buy Power Rangers and other media brands from Haim Saban in a $522m cash and stock deal.

03 May

The US dollar traded at its strongest level for this year minutes out from the Federal Reserve’s May policy meeting.

New signs of European economic weakness emerged on Wednesday as the eurozone recorded it slowest growth in 18 months, heightening fears the currency union’s post-crisis recovery is petering out.

Spotify shares dropped more than 7 per cent in after-hours trading, after the company reported revenues and user growth that were roughly in line with forecasts.

Higher costs and lower US demand saw Kraft Heinz’s organic sales drop yet again, as the food giant behind brands like Heinz ketchup and Jell-O tries to revive lacklustre growth.

04 May

Attacked by both left and right and under pressure from the markets, Mauricio Macri issued a plea for Argentina’s voters and investors to stick with his gradual approach to economic reform.

China opened trading in Dalian iron ore futures to overseas investors on Friday, aiming to increase its pricing influence over the commodity of which it is the world’s largest importer.

Shake Shack is expanding — and it’s not just the steady diet of burger and fries. The food chain saw its shares jump in after-hours trading on Thursday after it dished up better-than-expected earnings and lifted its guidance as it continues to add stores around the US and overseas.

Numis, the Aim-listed UK broker, posted double-digit growth in revenues and profits in its half-year results on Friday, despite “mixed” market conditions and pressure from new European markets rules.

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23 April – 27 April

23 April

Asia Pacific stocks had a mixed start to the week as geopolitical tensions eased and US Treasury yields hovered at a four-year high.

Growth in Japan’s manufacturing sector picked up in April, snapping two months of decline as output increased and business confidence strengthened, according to a preliminary industry gauge.

The wave of corporate earnings due out this week is expected to show robust first-quarter performances, but the strong euro is set to knock revenues for international companies in Europe.

Investors pulled a volte-face on Monday, wiping out early losses in Hasbro shares after the US toymaker blamed the Toys R Us liquidation for disappointing revenues and a quarterly loss but said that the figures did not reflect the health of its underlying business.

24 April

Rising US borrowing costs and the longest winning streak for the greenback this year have put emerging market assets under pressure, with equities and currencies down more than 1 per cent and on track for their biggest one-day drops in at least weeks.

In 25 years, the exchange-traded fund has become one of the most popular financial innovations of the modern era. In 2016, seven of the 10 most actively traded US securities were ETFs. But the sector is a regulatory backwater.

3M shares dropped in pre-market trading after the company tempered its sales growth outlook for the year despite a solid start to the first quarter.

Shire said on Tuesday that it had received a “revised proposal regarding a possible offer” from Takeda, which has been pursuing the company, but added that there was no certainty that a firm offer would be made.

25 April

Wall Street’s slide is gathering steam, as industrial heavyweight Caterpillar’s earlier post-earnings bounce shifted suddenly and fell sharply into reverse.

Chinese banks have embarked on a new round of capital raising, prompted by regulations on shadow banking that are forcing lenders to bring shadow loans back on to their balance sheets.

Altaba, formerly known as Yahoo, will pay $35m to settle charges it misled investors by failing to disclose a massive security breach, the US Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday.

Snapchat is testing a new version of its controversial redesign that now puts friends’ stories on the same screen as professional publisher content, despite Snap co-founder Evan Spiegel’s promise to “separate the social from the media”.

26 April

Turkey’s central bank raised one of its main interest rates on Wednesday for the first time this year, dismissing calls from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to keep credit cheap ahead of June’s snap elections.

Sweden’s currency fell to its lowest level since the end of the financial crisis in 2009 after the Riksbank once again pushed back its forecast for the first increase in interest rates since they were lowered more than three years ago.

Shares in Samsung Electronics rose as much as 3.2 per cent in Seoul after the company posted a 52 per cent increase in net profit for the first three months of the year.

Brazil’s Vale, the world’s largest iron ore producer, posted a 36 drop in net income in a “very complex” first quarter of the year.

27 April

Aluminium has returned to form after several days of heavy losses that followed a loosening of sanctions over Russian group Rusal by the US Treasury on Monday.

US private sector pay grew at the quickest pace since before the recovery started, adding to evidence that steady economic growth and falling unemployment are finally lifting incomes and potentially inflation.

Intel’s long-running efforts to carve out a future beyond its traditional PC chips business took a big step forward in the first quarter, as revenues from newer markets such as AI and driverless cars came within a whisker of overtaking sales of PC chips for the first time.

Shares in Chinese search engine Baidu jumped in after-hours trading after the company’s revenue and earnings growth sailed past Wall Street forecasts.

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16 April – 20 April

16 April

The FTSE 100 is down nearly 1 per cent today in reaction to a fall in oil prices and a strong pound.

Momentum in the global economy has peaked and risks ranging from higher inflation to trade disputes and debt appear likely to taint prospects for 2018, according to the tracking index compiled by the Brookings Institution think-tank and the Financial Times.

Lower taxes and higher interest rates have helped Bank of America reach an important threshold for profitability for the first time in seven years, the latest sign that the industry bellwether has put its post-crisis malaise behind it.

For more than 16 months, 21st Century Fox has been trying to buy the 61 per cent of Sky that it does not already own. Our bid reflects Fox’s proud history of investing in British creative industries and our financial support of Sky over the 28 years since we founded it. Together with Sky, we spent £700m on UK television and film production in 2016 alone.

17 April

China’s economy grew 6.8 per cent in the first quarter over the same period last year — above the government’s 6.5 per cent target — as a rebound in private investment compensated for a declining trade surplus.

Britain and the US have moved against one of China’s largest telecoms equipment makers, adding to a growing list of restrictions imposed by western governments on Chinese companies on national security grounds.

China has announced a five year timetable for easing foreign restrictions into certain manufacturing sectors. Foreign ownership caps in electric vehicle ventures, shipping and aircraft manufacturing will be abolished by the end of this year, according to China’s state planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, while restrictions on commercial vehicles will be removed by 2020.

Aluminium hit a near seven-year high on Tuesday as the aftershocks from the US sanctions against Russian producer Rusal continued to reverberate through the markets.

18 April

Bolstered by an improving economy and a wave of listings that has drawn money from big foreign investors, Vietnam equities have racked up the best gains in Asia in the year to date, making the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange one of the world’s best performing bourses.

Egypt’s finance minister said the government was committed to pushing ahead with painful economic reforms as it aimed to narrow its hefty fiscal deficit and reduce soaring debt levels.

Chinese asset manager Huarong halted trading of its Hong Kong-listed shares on Wednesday after its chairman was placed under investigation by the Chinese Communist party’s anti-corruption agency.

Shares of Continental dropped 4.5 per cent on Wednesday after the car parts supplier downgraded its full-year operating margins forecast as a result of “exchange rate and inventory valuation effects.”

19 April

Powered by a surge in the price of oil, shares in ExxonMobil seem poised for a comeback.

Oil prices hit their highest level since 2014 on Thursday, moving above $74 a barrel and lifting energy companies to the top of global stock indices.

Energy stocks glowed on Thursday in Asia after a bigger than expected fall in US supplies sparked a rally in oil prices overnight.

Facebook has taken the first steps towards designing its own chips, in the latest sign of how the rise of AI is shifting the focus of competition in the tech world.

20 April

The world economy will enjoy two years of abundance and it is all thanks to Donald Trump. That was the gist of this week’s forecasts from the IMF, dominated as they were by the US president’s tax cuts and their inevitable consequence: a big rise in the US current account deficit. The president who hates trade deficits is about to increase them massively. Managing the consequences will be a big challenge for the global economy.

The Trump administration is considering declaring a national economic emergency to impose new restrictions on Chinese investment as part of a trade crackdown on Beijing, a senior US Treasury official confirmed.

Qualcomm on Thursday disclosed that it was cutting 1,500 jobs across its California offices as part of a plan to reduce annual costs by $1bn.

A potential battle for control of Shire broke into the open on Thursday after the Irish drugmaker rejected a £42.4bn takeover offer from Japanese rival Takeda and Botox-maker Allergan disclosed it had considered a run at the company.

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09 April – 13 April

09 April

Russian stocks suffered their worst session in four years and the country’s bonds and currency plunged as the impact of new US sanctions against its economy and fears over increased conflict in Syria ravaged markets.

The US-China trade dispute continued to reverberate around international agricultural markets, with the soyabean meal price in Dalian rising to a 16 month high as investors and processors scrambled to to secure the key material for livestock feed.

Uber has joined the bike-sharing craze with the acquisition of New York-based Jump Bikes, as the Chinese surge in two-wheeled rentals threatens to disrupt parts of the car-hailing market in North America and Europe where the company is most entrenched.

A leading campaigner for women in academia has demanded that institutions collaborate to make their salary structures fairer after analysis of the gender pay gap at England’s top universities revealed vast variations.

10 April

Venezuela stopped paying bondholders in September, according to central bank data, contradicting statements by President Nicolás Maduro that the country would continue to honour its debts while negotiating a resettlement with its creditors.

Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Mail Save Save to myFT Katie Martin APRIL 10, 2018 Print this page Some slightly soft inflation readings from the Nordics to start the European day. In Norway, prices rose by 0.3 per cent in March, down from the 0.9 per cent gain in February and shy of the 0.5 per cent estimate logged in a Reuters poll of economists. The year-on-year rate was 2.2 per cent, in line with the previous month and again, a little behind forecasts.

Payments company Verifone Systems on Monday said it had agreed to be taken private by an investor group led by buyout group Francisco Partners in a $3.4bn deal that includes debt.

French insurer Axa is restructuring its Swiss business in the face of low interest rates and tougher regulation in the country. The Swiss unit, Axa said, will be revamped so it can hold less capital and adopt a riskier investment strategy that would enable it to offer clients better deals.

11 April

When Prospa launched in Australia in 2011, the online lender to small companies had an intimidating task before it: taking business from the country’s biggest banks. Small companies in search of working capital had long relied on traditional lenders, before the global financial crisis curtailed banks’ appetite for risk.

China is an emerging superpower. The US is the incumbent. The potential for destructive clashes between the two giants seems potentially unbounded. Yet the two are also intimately intertwined. If they fail to maintain reasonably co-operative relationships they have the capacity to wreak havoc not only upon each other, but upon the entire world.

Brent crude hit its highest levels in over three years as geopolitical concerns in the Middle East — coupled with easing US-China trade tension, a weaker dollar and a small decline in forecasts for US oil production — put the oil bulls firmly back in the driver’s seat on Tuesday.

Beijing has sped up the pace of ownership reforms for China’s banking, securities, futures, asset management and insurance sectors, shifting the timeline for implementation from years to just months after President Xi Jinping this week pledged further opening up of China’s economy to foreign investment.

12 April

British investors in emerging market funds are feeling the effects of rising diplomatic tension between Russia and the West and could be more exposed than they realise through the presence of Russian stocks in mainstream funds.

The Bank of Korea held its benchmark interest rate steady on Thursday, in line with economists’ expectations.  South Korea’s central bank kept its benchmark seven-day repurchase rate at 1.5 per cent, as forecast by economists polled by Reuters.

Tesco, the UK’s largest grocer, has staged a comeback with a sharp rise in annual profits that defied the wider gloom on the high street, three years after an accounting scandal that plunged the respected British company into the worst crisis in its history.

Mothercare, the struggling children’s goods retailer that abruptly replaced its chief executive this month, has reported a decline in quarterly sales as it continues to explore financing options and close shops

13 April

The business led by Rob Arnott, the entrepreneur known as the “godfather of smart beta”, is tapping into demand for investment products that address concerns over environment, social and governance issues.

China’s aluminium exports rose to a record in the first quarter of this year, and analysts said the country’s producers will benefit further now that the US sanctions against Russia’s Rusal are starting to bite.

Bed Bath & Beyond is getting battered on Thursday, with the home retailer’s shares plunging to their lowest point in nearly 10 years after its soft outlook underscored analysts’ fears about its ability to shore up sagging sales.

Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based tech investor, said revenues at key companies such as HelloFresh, the Global Fashion Group and Jumia rose 28 per cent last year, while losses had narrowed once again over the past 12 months.

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