Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Wednesday.
1. British and EU negotiators have reached a deal over the so-called Brexit bill, opening the door to a potential breakthrough in the talks this December, the Telegraph reports. Sources on both sides confirmed that an agreement-in-principle has now been reached over the EU’s demand for a €60 billion financial settlement ahead of a crucial lunch meeting next Monday between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president.
2. London Stock Exchange (LSE) CEO Xavier Rolet’s exit from the business has been sped up by a year after a battle between shareholders and the board over his tenure. LSE announced in October that Rolet would leave the business by December 2018 but the company said in a statement on Wednesday that he would now leave “with immediate effect.” Chief Financial Officer David Warren will take over as interim CEO until a successor can be found.
3. Shortly before the announcement, governor of the Bank of England has waded into the boardroom row at the London Stock Exchange by signalling that Rolet should go quietly, the Times reports. Mark Carney said that Mr Rolet had “made an extraordinary contribution as head of the LSE over the last nine years,” but he added: “I can’t envision a circumstance where the CEO stays on beyond the agreed period.”
4. Grocery and tobacco wholesaler Palmer & Harvey has gone into administration with 2,500 immediate redundancies and a further 900 jobs at risk, the Guardian reports. The group, which delivers goods to 90,000 grocery and convenience stores, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Costcutter chain, has been scrambling to shore up its finances since the spring.
5. Thames Water has cancelled dividend payments worth £100 million a year to its mainly international shareholders as it seeks to plug its leakage problem and reimburse customers for its poor services. Thames will pay no dividends in the present financial year as it seeks to get on track to reduce the amount of water it wastes through leaks. Thames is pouring away 677 million litres a day, 7% more than its leakage reduction target.
6. Ofcom has launched a review of children’s television programmes that could lead to the media regulator demanding that ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 spend more on young audiences, the Guardian reports. The regulator said it would review the “range and quality of children’s programmes” and highlight areas of concern.
7. Cineworld, the UK cinema chain, is in talks with Tennessee-based peer Regal Entertainment about a potential takeover, the US group confirmed on Tuesday evening, the Telegraph reports. Regal released a statement confirming the pair were “currently engaged in discussions”, although said there was no certainty the talks would lead to a deal.
8. Facebook and Twitter have said they will assist the UK’s inquiries into Russian interference in the EU referendum, Sky reports. The businesses received written requests from the Electoral Commission for information relating to campaign activity during the regulated period for the Brexit referendum.
9. Theresa May has embarked on a visit to the Middle East hoping to bolster links with the region post-Brexit, Sky reports. During a three-day tour, Mrs May will hold talks in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, in a continuing effort to forge stronger ties with countries she visited earlier this year.
10. Japanese stocks rose on Wednesday as banks and financial shares tracked their U.S. counterparts higher, shrugging off another North Korean missile launch. The Nikkei share average ended 0.5% higher at 22,597.20, while the broader Topix advanced 0.8% to 1,786.15.