- REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Wednesday.
1. The bosses of the data firm Cambridge Analytica were secretly filmed boasting about using shadowy online propaganda tools to help Donald Trump win the US presidential election in 2016. Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix was suspended late on Tuesday.
2. A Facebook shareholder is suing the social media giant for allegedly misleading investors in the Cambridge Analytica affair that’s currently rocking the social network. Meanwhile, GBH Insights analyst Dan Ives says roughly $4 billion (£2.8 billion) to $5 billion (£3.5 billion) of Facebook’s annual advertising revenue is at risk in this crisis.
3. A hush settled over financial markets on Wednesday as investors waited to hear how often the Federal Reserve might hike US rates this year, while the currencies of exporting nations were rattled by fears of a full-blown trade war. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.47%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 0.04% at the time of writing (6.35 a.m. GMT/2.35 a.m. ET), and China’s Shanghai Composite is down 0.40%.
4. New US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell is expected to raise interest rates in his first announcement since taking the post. Powell will hold a press conference alongside the announcement, due at 6.00 p.m. GMT (2.00 p.m. ET), and the Fed will publish a statement on its outlook on the US economy.
5. UK earnings and unemployment numbers are coming. The ONS will publish data for January at 9.30 a.m. GMT (5.30 a.m. ET). Average earnings growth is forecast to accelerate slightly to 2.6% and the unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 4.4%.
6. The European Commission will propose rules on Wednesday designed to make digital companies pay their fair share of tax. The Commission is expected to propose that companies with significant digital revenues in Europe such as Google and Facebook should pay a 3% tax on their turnover, according to a draft seen by Reuters last week.
7. Amazon became the second most valuable publicly listed US company on Tuesday, surpassing Google parent Alphabet for the first time. Amazon shares finished up 2.69% at $1,586.51, for a market capitalization of $768 billion (£548 billion), underscoring Wall Street’s confidence in its relentless expansion into cloud computing, groceries, and other new businesses.
8. Daniel Ek, the CEO and cofounder of streaming music leader Spotify, is eligible to sell up to 15.8 million shares of the company worth up to $2 billion (£1.4 billion) in its direct listing, the company disclosed in a filing on Tuesday. In an amended filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Spotify said it expected current shareholders to sell up to 55.7 million ordinary shares when the stock begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange on April 3.
9. Salesforce is buying a company called MuleSoft in a deal valued at about $6.5 billion (£4.6 billion). Shares of MuleSoft were briefly halted on Tuesday after Reuters reported that the company was in advanced talks to sell itself to Salesforce. By the end of the day, Salesforce announced the deal.
10. DocuSign has confidentially filed for an IPO, according to Tech Crunch’s Katie Roof. The company, which is known for taking electronic signatures mainstream, plans to go public in the next six months and will publicly share its prospectus in the weeks before the offering, according to the report.