- REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
1. North Korea conducted a new missile launch, less than two weeks after its suspected hydrogen bomb test, South Korean defense officials said, according to Yonhap News. The missile was fired from an airfield near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang at 6:57 a.m. local time and headed eastward, South Korean military officials said.
2. Asian markets have reacted calmly to the missile test despite escalating regional tensions. Japan’s Nikkei stock market is up 0.57% at the time of writing (6.10 a.m. BST/1.10 a.m. ET), while the Hong Kong Hang Seng index is up 0.27%, and China’s Shanghai Composite is down 0.31%.
3. US stocks fell from a record highs reached earlier this week as traders reacted to escalating North Korean tensions and oil prices declined. The S&P 500 lost 0.1%. Meanwhile, the Dow rose 0.2% and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq decreased 0.5%.
4. The Bank of England’s quarterly bulletin is due at 12.00 p.m. BST (7.00 a.m. ET). The paper provides regular commentary on market developments and UK market policy. It follows the bank’s decision to leave interest rates unchanged on Thursday.
5. Bitcoin is attempting a recovery after suffering its longest losing streak in a year as Chinese regulators crack down on cryptocurrencies. The Financial Times reports that the crytpocurrency tumbled 16% to $3,227.90 on Thursday after BTCChina, one of the country’s largest bitcoin exchanges, said it plans to halt trading at the end of this month. Bitcoin is up 1% against the dollar to $3.259.60 at 6.43 a.m. BST (1.43 a.m. ET).
6. Nestlé is dropping up to $500 million (£372.9 million) to take a majority stake in the hip coffee brand Blue Bottle Coffee. The Swiss company is taking a 68% stake in Blue Bottle, the Financial Times reported Thursday. The deal values the coffee chain and roastery at more than $700 million (£522 million).
7. Softbank is in talks with Uber about a massive $10 billion (£7.4 billion) investment in the company, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. The deal could give Japan’s Softbank as much as a 22% stake in the ride-hailing company if it is able to carry out the full investment, which would entail purchasing shares directly from the company as well as from existing shareholders looking to cash out, the report said.
8. Google parent company Alphabet is in talks to invest around $1 billion (£750 million) in Lyft, according to published reports. The talks are being driven by top officials at Alphabet, according to Axios. The potential investment could come from either Google or from CapitalG, Alphabet’s investment division, Bloomberg reported.
9. Until this week, Facebook enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.'” After ProPublica contacted Facebook, it removed the anti-Semitic categories – which were created by an algorithm rather than by people – and said it would explore ways to fix the problem, such as limiting the number of categories available or scrutinizing them before they are displayed to buyers.
10. Samsung Electronics is starting to focus on a different kind of mobile technology. The South Korean company, known for its Galaxy smartphones, is launching a new unit dedicated to automotive tech. It’s also setting up a $300 million (£223.7 million) fund to invest in startups in the field.