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Trump turns on allies in latest tariff threat, Bitcoin manipulation is focus of U.S. probe, and Deutsche Bank swings the ax. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Auto-threat

President Donald Trump is pushing for new tariffs on cars and trucks imported to the U.S., a move which will serve to aggravate the country’s closest international allies. An additional duty of up to 25 percent is under consideration, a person familiar with the matter said. The statement has drawn sharp criticism from Japan and South Korea, with China’s Ministry of Commerce saying the move risked disrupting the “normal trade order.” Some observers say Trump’s call is merely a tactic to goad Canada and Mexico into accepting an overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement

Bitcon?

The Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into whether the prices of Bitcoin and other digital currencies are being manipulated by traders, in a significant ratcheting up of scrutiny of the cryptocurrency market. Federal prosecutors are working with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the regulator which oversees derivatives tied to Bitcoin. This is further bad news for the leading digital currency that’s dropped by more than 20 percent from its recent peak on May 4. 

Sewing cuts

Deutsche Bank will reduce the number of employees by 7,000, cutting a quarter of equities jobs as Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing seeks to slash costs and boost profitability. The move comes as the bank continues to refocus on its European home market, reversing a two-decade effort to compete on the global stage with Wall Street’s biggest banks. Shares in the lender were trading 0.8 percent lower in Frankfurt by 5:40 a.m. Eastern Time. 

Markets mixed

Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.2 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.2 percent lower as automakers were hit following Trump’s move on tariffs. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.3 percent higher by 5:40 a.m. as markets bounced back from yesterday’s selloff, led by tech stocks, while the region’s auto sector was also under pressure. S&P 500 futures pointed to a small gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 3.008 percent and gold advanced. 

Coming up…

Today’s weekly initial jobless claims is expected to be in line with last week’s 222,000 figure when the data is released at 8:30 a.m. Existing home sales for April is released at 10:00 a.m. Following publication of yesterday’s minutes, there will be interest in comments from Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker’s at a conference in Dallas today. At 1:00 p.m., the Treasury sells $30 billion of seven-year notes. 

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