Good morning! Here is what you need to know on Thursday.
1. Asian shares held firm on Thursday, outperforming sagging Wall Street shares, and US bond yields fell after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates as expected, sticking to its script of gradual policy tightening. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3%, with South Korea’s Kospi hitting three-month highs. European equity futures suggested a weaker opening as investors weigh prospects of additional Fed rate increases.
2. SoftBank plans to create a new $100 billion fund every two to three years, its CEO Masayoshi Son told Bloomberg Businessweek in an interview published on Thursday. Son has attracted more than $93 billion to his Vision Fund technology investment vehicle and has flagged his intention to raise further financing.
3. British Prime Minister Theresa May is losing cabinet support for her plan to revert to a ‘no-deal’ Brexit if Europe rejects the Chequers proposals, The Times newspaper reported, citing sources. Cabinet ministers including Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, environment secretary Michael Gove and interior minister Sajid Javid are looking to prevent May from locking Britain into a no-deal Brexit, the report said.
4. Italy’s new government plans to present its first budget targets on Thursday, ending a drawn-out tussle which has pitted the coalition parties against Economy Minister Giovanni Tria. The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League have been pushing Tria, an academic not affiliated to either party, to ramp up the fiscal deficit to finance their promises of tax cuts and higher welfare spending.
5. Swiss startup SEBA Crypto has raised 100 million Swiss francs ($103 million) to build a bank offering cryptocurrency services to companies and investors while extending traditional banking services to firms in the new industry. Headed by former UBS managers Guido Buehler as chief executive and Andreas Amschwand as chairman, the group said on Thursday it is seeking a banking and securities dealer license to manage cryptocurrency trading and investments for banks and qualified investors.
6. Comcast, the victor in the $40 billion auction for Sky, said it had acquired 38% of the British pay-TV group’s shares and did not intend to make any further market purchases for now. Comcast beat Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox in a rare auction held last weekend. Fox said on Wednesday it would sell its 39% stake in Sky to Comcast in a move that helps the US group to complete the deal.
7. Oil prices rallied up to 1% on Thursday as investors focused on the prospect of tighter markets due to US sanctions against major crude exporter Iran, which are set to be implemented in November. Front-month Brent crude futures reached $82.17 per barrel.
8. Payments startup Stripe said on Wednesday it has raised $245 million in funding, better positioning the company to expand to new markets globally and attract bigger customers. The new funding round values San Francisco-based Stripe, whose products make it easier for companies to accept online payments and bill customers, at $20.25 billion, a dramatic surge from its most recent $9.2 billion valuation in 2016.
9. Air France KLM’s new CEO Benjamin Smith said the French state is prepared to sell its 14% stake in the airline, according to the Financial Times. Smith said French President Emmanuel Macron was prepared to sell the 14% stake — even though “there are some people in Air France that believe that this is something they can have as an insurance”, the FT reported.
10. Taiwan said on Thursday its relationship with the Vatican is stable and it would be closely watching developments between China and the Vatican after a landmark deal between the two on the appointment of bishops on the mainland. The Vatican on Saturday signed an agreement giving it a long-desired say in the appointment of bishops in China, triggering worries among some officials in Taiwan that the Vatican could switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing.