Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day
Good morning. Stocks in Asia traded mixed overnight, Facebook Inc. was the highlight of U.S. earnings, the dollar continued to shine and it’s judgment day for a U.K. grocery merger. Here’s what’s moving markets.
All of your Instagram stories are benefiting the app’s owner, Facebook, whose shares jumped about 8 percent after the company posted sturdy quarterly sales growth and noted the popularity of its Stories feature, a Snapchat copycat. The social media giant wasn’t the only tech heavyweight whose numbers impressed, with Microsoft Corp. and chip-equipment maker Lam Research Corp. also gaining following quarterly profits that beat analyst estimates. Tesla Inc.’s update was less impressive.
The dollar continued to march higher against most major currencies after the European close, defying predictions that its rally could lose steam this year. An index tracking the greenback hit a year-to-date high as the Bank of Japan said it would keep interest rates extremely low through at least around spring 2020, and as South Korea’s won fell after the country’s gross domestic product shrank the most in a decade. Sterling was steady as lawmakers in Theresa May’s Conservative Party urged the U.K. prime minister to provide a clear timetable for her departure.
Need a Miracle
Today’s a big day for Mike Coupe, the the J Sainsbury Plc chief executive who announced a grand plan to tackle the rise of German discounters Aldi and Lidl, almost a year ago to the day. The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority will say whether Sainsbury should be allowed to move forward with its 7.3 billion-pound ($9.4 billion) deal to buy Walmart Inc.’s Asda. Coupe might need a miracle after the CMA attached harsher-than-expected conditions to the pact in February. Bloomberg reported late Wednesday that the two companies were ready to accept defeat.
Oil continued to pare this week’s gain after U.S. crude inventories rose by more than expected, stymieing a rally driven by the prospect of tighter supplies due to American sanctions on Iran. Crude’s rise spurred a jump in shares of European oil companies earlier this week, but that gain has now been almost entirely erased. Fans of the sector will also be keeping an eye an M&A bidding war that’s emerged in the U.S.
Barclays Plc continues this week’s run of bank earnings after UBS Group AG’s quarterly profit beat estimates earlier. Others on today’s lengthy corporate update schedule include Hermes International, the French maker of luxury handbags and scarves, and miner Anglo American Plc. We’ll aslo get interest rate decisions from Turkey and Sweden, and will keep an eye on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who’s in Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
- Billionaire occasionally delivers food on a bike.
- Microsoft Paint lives to fight another day.
- Now Spain wants to build a wall.
- The Rothschilds are having a yard sale.
- Wanted: central banker. Salary: £480,000 per annum.
- Netflix bear accused of seeking fame.
- Ex-UBS executive shared giant champagne bottles at trader’s club.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.