Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
1. Asian shares held steady after a nine-day losing streak, but sentiment was frail after Wall Street shares crumbled and expectations of market volatility shot up to an eight-month high. Worries about the economic impact of a China-US trade war, a spike in US bond yields and caution ahead of earnings seasons are all cited as potential reasons behind the selloff, the biggest market rout since February.
2. US stocks fell by another 2% overnight. Losses were led by energy and financial stocks, with smaller falls in the big tech companies. The S&P500 has now fallen below its 200-day moving average. Since Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average has shed more than 1,300 points. Gold surged higher on Thursday, after trading in a narrow trading range for the best part of two months, breaking the downtrend its been stuck in since mid-August this year.
3. Richard Branson and Virgin Group are severing their business relationships with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman following the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey last week. In a blog post on Virgin Group’s website, the company’s founder announced that Virgin Galatic and Virgin Orbit will suspend its discussions with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.
4. Kanye West called himself a “motherf-er” in the Oval Office and gave Trump a massive hug during his bizarre White House visit. He was at the White House to discuss prison reform, but instead he touched on a lot of topics during an enthusiastic, erratic 10-minute rant. West, who recently said he has changed his name to “Ye,” said the speech came from the “soul.”
5. Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump could meet in Paris on Nov. 11 if both leaders take part in the same event to commemorate the end of World War I, RIA news agency cited the Russian foreign ministry as saying on Friday. Russia is open to dialogue and would be ready to consider times and locations of a possible meeting between the two leaders if Washington were also interested, the ministry said.
6. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group fired over 200 staff for wrongdoing, including senior executives, due in part to issues raised at a public inquiry into financial sector misconduct, ANZ Chief Executive Shayne Elliott said on Friday. In his first public comments addressing criticism stemming from the quasi-judicial inquiry, Elliott said the country’s third-biggest bank would take a tougher approach to punishing bad conduct.
7. The German government is considering tougher sanctions against companies that foster criminal behavior in the wake of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, the country’s justice minister said. In an interview published in Friday’s edition of the Handelsblatt newspaper, Katarina Barley said she had seen a pattern by which companies try to blame individual managers for any wrongdoing.
8. The five nations in the world’s leading intelligence-sharing network have been exchanging classified information on China’s foreign activities with other like-minded countries since the start of the year, seven officials in four capitals said. The increased cooperation by the Five Eyes alliance – grouping Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States – with countries such as Germany and Japan is a sign of a broadening international front against Chinese influence operations and investments.
9. Pakistani officials met International Monetary Fund representatives this week in Bali and formally requested Islamabad’s 13th bailout since the late 1980s to give the economy breathing room, while they implement reforms aiming to end decades of boom and bust cycles. The bailout highlights the hard choices facing Pakistan and poses a major headache for populist new Prime Minister Imran Khan.
10. China reported on Friday an unexpected acceleration in export growth in September and a record trade surplus with the US, which could exacerbate an already-heated dispute between Beijing and Washington. September exports rose 14.5% from a year earlier, Chinese customs data showed. That blew past forecasts for an 8.9% increase in a Reuters poll and was well above August’s 9.8% gain.