Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Thursday.
Asian stocks had a poor day. All of Asia’s biggest indexes ended the day in negative territory, with the Dow Jones Shanghai leading losses, off as much as 1.5%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was off by a similar margin, while Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.64%.
The price of oil is slipping on Thursday. At around 6:45 a.m. GMT (2:45 a.m. ET) both major oil benchmarks are in negative territory. Brent crude is trading at $ 40.18 per barrel, off around 0.7%, while WTI has fallen further. The US benchmark is down 1.13% to $ 39.34. Oil markets are waiting eagerly to hear the outcome of a major meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC members in April.
Wall Street is back in the darkest days of the crisis. Wall Street deal makers are having their worst quarter since the dark post-financial-crisis days of 2009. Investment banks have earned $ 12.8 billion to date in equity, debt, loan, and advisory fees, down 36% from the first quarter of 2015, and the lowest total since the first quarter of 2009.
China has lifted a ban on short-selling in its markets. According to a report from Reuters, citing Chinese state-run media, 35 domestic brokerages have been granted approval to resume the practice after it was banned in the midst of China’s stock market rout in August last year.
Two of Italy’s biggest banks are merging. The Financial Times reports that mutual banks Banca Popolare di Milano and Banco Popolare will merge to create the third largest bank in the country. The merger follows intervention from prime minister Matteo Renzi, who is encouraging mergers in Italy’s weak banking sector.
Activist investors are trying to remove the entirety of Yahoo’s board. Hedge fund Starboard Value, which is leading an investor revolt against Yahoo Inc’s management team, is seeking to remove the entire board of the struggling Internet company, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Pimco says the yuan is the biggest issue facing the markets in 2016. Bloomberg reports that the asset management firm called China’s currency “by far the single biggest risk for the global economy and markets this year,” and said that the yuan will fall at least 7% against the dollar over the next year.
London-based hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, who manages $ 11 billion in assets, said this is “no longer an investment market but a battlefield.” In Odey’s OEI Mac fund’s February investment update, Odey criticised central banks for lowering or not raising interest rates.
LIBOR manipulating trader Tom Hayes has been given a huge fine. The former star trader serving an 11-year jail sentence for manipulating LIBOR, was on Wednesday ordered to hand over £878,806 ($ 1.25 million). The amount was deemed as proceeds of crime by a London judge.
Iron ore production is one the rise once again. The recent rally in prices seen by the industrial metal — which included the biggest one day gain in history a few weeks ago — has allowed some “high-cost” producers to re-enter the market. Robert Rennie, Westpac’s global head of market strategy, says “The recent break higher in iron ore prices seems to be stimulating ‘other’ producers to return to market,” adding that this could lead to further price depressions in coming months.