- REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Thursday.
1. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the data scandal that has roiled the social media network this week. Zuckerberg said “I’m really sorry that this happened” in an interview with CNN, which aired hours after he and Facebook’s No. 2 exec, Sheryl Sandberg, issued their first statements about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
2. The US Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.50% to 1.75%. The Fed still expects to hike rates three times this year, but raised its projections for 2019 and 2020, citing a solid economic outlook.
3. The Bank of England is delivering its latest interest rates decision at 12.00 p.m. GMT (8.00 a.m. ET). Michael Hewson, the chief market analyst at CMC Markets, says: “While no changes in policy are expected, yesterday’s wages and unemployment data have shifted the calculus on a possible move on UK rates to the May meeting, when we get the next inflation report.”
4. Worries about a potential trade war between China and the United States kept gains in Asian shares in check. Japan’s Nikkei stock index closed up 0.92%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.43% at the time of writing (6.30 a.m. GMT/2.30 a.m. ET) and China’s Shanghai Composite is down 0.45%.
5. European PMIs are coming. IHS Markit will publish preliminary estimates for economic growth in France, Germany, and the Eurozone as a whole in March between 8.00 a.m. GMT (4.00 a.m. ET) and 9.00 a.m. GMT (5.00 a.m. ET).
6. UK Chancellor Philip Hammond will today announce a new task force looking at cryptocurrencies. The group will look at opportunities and risks around crypto and will include representatives from the Treasury, the Bank of England, and the Financial Conduct Authority.
7. Shares of China’s Tencent Holdings fell as much as 4.6% on Thursday after the internet giant’s results announced a day earlier showed that revenue missed estimates and it warned that planned investments may hurt margins. Tencent shares fell to as low as HK$441.4 in morning trading. The company posted on Wednesday a 98% jump in quarterly net profit, beating estimates, though revenue grew slower than expected at 51%.
8. Chinese drone-maker SZ DJI Technology is seeking at least $500 million (£353 million) at a valuation of about $15 billion (£10.6 billion) ahead of a planned stock market debut, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. DJI, the world’s largest maker of civilian drones, plans to obtain the fresh capital in a combination of new equity and debt, and wants to finalize the deal in the coming months, said the people, declining to be identified as the information was private.
9. Troubled retailer New Look has secured approval from 98% of its creditors for a deal to stem losses by closing 60 stores through a company voluntary arrangement that puts 980 jobs at risk. The Telegraph reports that the retailer initiated the CVA, a form of insolvency aimed at protecting a business from going bust entirely, earlier this month.
10. Michael Coates, Twitter’s chief information security officer, is leaving the company after three years in the role. Coates announced the move in a tweet on Wednesday, saying that he was leaving Twitter to cofound a security startup.