Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Wednesday.
1. Britain’s energy companies were hacked on the day of the General Election by computer criminals believed to have been backed by Russia. The Telegraph reports that the Government’s electronic spy agency GCHQ said in an official report sent to the energy sector that companies “are likely to have been compromised” in the wake of the attack launched on June 8.
2. McCormick & Co will buy the food business of British consumer goods conglomerate Reckitt Benckiser Group for $4.2 billion (£3.2 billion). McCormick said it would integrate RB Foods into its consumer and industrial segments.
3. A sudden fall in the pound just before surprisingly weak inflation data has raised fresh concerns about leaks from the Office for National Statistics, only weeks after strict new rules on access were unveiled to address the threat. The Times reports that sterling sank half a cent against the dollar in the minutes before the consumer prices index was released yesterday, suggesting that some traders might have got wind of the highly price sensitive information, and another half a cent after traders could see the figures.
4. Europe’s top banking regulator is considering an investigation into Chinese conglomerate HNA’s purchase of a stake in Deutsche Bank that could further strain relations between the EU and Beijing. The Financial Times reports that the Single Supervision Mechanism, the banking watchdog that operates under the European Central Bank, is also considering a review of share purchases in Germany’s largest lender by Qatar’s royal family.
5. Peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter has been hit by £80 million of struggling loans in the first major setback for the nascent online lending sector. The Guardian reports that the company said it would use its own funds to prevent losses being taken by its 50,000 users, who are mostly small investors using the website in order to lend their savings to other individuals and benefit from higher interest rates than are available at high street banks.
6. US stocks ended Tuesday’s trading day mixed, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the way and the Dow Jones industrial average lagging. Financials slumped after concerning quarterly results from two major players, while Netflix soared after crushing subscriber expectations.
7. Asian stock markets are higher. Japan’s Nikkei is up 0.07% at the time of writing (6.40 a.m. BST/1.40 a.m. ET), while the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 0.45%, and China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.82%.
8. IBM is trying to transform itself into a cloud company, but its traditional businesses were a drag in the second quarter. The company’s earnings dropped by 7% and its overall sales fell by 5% in the period, as revenue declined in all five of IBM’s operating segments.
9. BP is considering spinning off certain US pipeline assets in the US Gulf and Midwest in an initial public offering, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. The potential IPO would structure the assets as a master-limited partnership (MLP), a frequently used corporate structure for pipeline companies.
10. Adtech company Rocket Fuel has been acquired by rival Sizmek for $125.5 million (£96.2 million). The deal appears to mark the end of an era for the ad tech industry, which has been characterized by a massive flood of funding, a proliferation of startups, several rocky IPOs, along with lots of layoffs, pivots, and consolidations over the past half dozen years or so.