10 things you need to know in markets today

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets Song Tao, the head of the China's Communist Party's International Department who led a Chinese art troupe to North Korea for the April Spring Friendship Art Festival.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets Song Tao, the head of the China’s Communist Party’s International Department who led a Chinese art troupe to North Korea for the April Spring Friendship Art Festival.
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KCNA/via REUTERS

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Monday.

1. WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell announced Saturday he was stepping down from the advertising company in the wake of an investigation into allegations of improper behaviour and misuse of assets. He said in a letter to staff that the “current disruption” was “putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business,” Reuters reported.

2. Some share markets started firmer in Asia on Monday amid relief that US-led strikes on Syria looked like being a one-off event that avoided a direct confrontation with Russia. Japan’s Nikkei share index closed up 0.29%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 1.58% at the time of writing (7.06 a.m. GMT/2.06 a.m. ET), and China’s Shanghai Composite is down 1.66% at the same time.

3. Oil prices fell on Monday as markets opened the week cautiously following western air strikes in Syria over the weekend, and as American drilling for new production continued to rise. US West Texas Intermediate futures are down 0.82% to $66.84 at the time of writing (7.12 a.m. GMT/2.12 a.m. ET), while Brent futures are down 0.95% to $71.89.

4. Deutsche Bank has been asked by European Central Bank supervisors to calculate the potential costs of winding down its investment banking operations, a source told Reuters on Sunday. Germany’s biggest lender has been calculating the financial effects of a potential move to quit investment banking for some time, and the move is not related to the switch in Deutsche Bank’s top management position last Sunday when retail banking expert Christian Sewing was appointed to replace chief executive John Cryan.

5. Russian aluminium producer Rusal tumbled as much as 21% on Monday morning in Hong Kong after the US promised further sanctions against Moscow for supporting the Syrian government. The Financial Times reports that the Trump administration vowed on Sunday to impose more sanctions against Russia for supporting the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons in the wake of US-led military strikes on Syria on Saturday.

6. Goldman Sachs bought Clarity Money, a personal finance startup, to bolster its Marcus online lending business, it said Sunday. Buying Clarity Money, a free app that helps consumers manage their personal finances, is expected to add over 1 million customers to the financial service firm’s Marcus business.

7. Barclays has set up a new venture capital-style unit with the aim of adding billions of pounds to its annual revenues by 2025, in an effort to find new areas of growth after years of restructuring. The Financial Times reports that Barclays UK Ventures will be led by Ben Davey, formerly the bank’s head of strategy.

8. A unit of US activist hedge fund Elliott Management now holds the largest stake in Whitbread, making it the second activist in recent months to draw attention to Britain’s biggest hotel and coffee-shop operator. Elliott Advisors now has over a 6% stake in FTSE 100-listed Whitbread, the hedge fund said in a statement on Saturday. It did not mention the reason for increasing its stake.

9. Topshop tycoon Sir Philip Green has given his first interview with the press since the collapse of his former business BHS in 2016. Green told the Mail on Sunday that attacks on him are fuelled by jealousy of his wealth and success but admitted that selling BHS to Dominic Chappell for £1 was the worst mistake of his life.

10. Prudential is boosting technology investment in Asia as part of its plans to double earnings in the region in coming years. Bloomberg reports that the UK insurer will raise annual spending by 20% to £300 million ($427 million) from this year in areas such as automation and online sales and support to attract younger customers who are increasingly expecting instant service.