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Good morning. Virus count revisions are making it hard to gauge the scope of the outbreak, UBS has started to look for a new CEO and U.K. economic policy is in disarray following the cabinet reshuffle. Here’s what’s moving markets.
After a surge in reported cases of the new coronavirus on Thursday due to a new method for counting infections, China’s Hubei province said there were 4,823 additional cases on Friday, suggesting the earlier spike was a one-off. Asian equity markets were mixed on the reports as investors struggled to analyze the data. Still, there was good news for some passengers on the quarantined cruise boat in Japan: Those who test negative for the virus and are of advanced age can disembark the ship, the center of the biggest outbreak outside of China. Here’s more on what it feels like to catch the coronavirus.
It was a big week for European banking CEOs: Credit Suisse’s Tijdane Thiam presented his last results, Barclays Plc’s Jes Staley is under investigation by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority into his ties with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and UBS Group AG is searching for a successor to Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti, one of Europe’s longest-serving bank chiefs. As for Staley, he has the “full confidence” of the Barclays’ board, it said yesterday, and Thiam said he had no “major, major regret” on his tenure, which was rocked by a spying scandal.
An orderly reshuffle it was not. The economic policy of Boris Johnson’s government is in disarray after a battle for control of his Finance Ministry went awry and Sajid Javid quit his post as chancellor of the exchequer following a row with the prime minister. Johnson’s office can’t confirm that the budget presentation will go ahead as planned on March 11, or if the government will keep to fiscal rules announced by Javid. All eyes turn to Javid’s successor, Rishi Sunak, a former Goldman Sachs banker, with some wondering if a Trump-style stimulus is now in the cards. That already prompted the pound to rally Thursday.
Vivendi SA reversed course and announced it will sell part of its $33 billion hit machine, Universal Music Group, in an initial public offering. The plan is a reversal of a 2018 decision, when the company said such a move would be too complex. The group posted a 22% increase in subscription and streaming sales last year as it turned out hits from stars including Billie Eilish and Post Malone. Like rabid fans, however, investors will have to wait. The initial public offering will happen by early 2023.
U.S. and European futures are nudging higher. Renault SA is one of the biggest names to report earnings Friday and we’ll be watching chip stocks after Nvidia Corp. gave a strong revenue forecast in the U.S., sending its shares higher in extended trading. Earnings slow down next week, but we’re still looking to get updates from some big names including HSBC Holdings Plc and Deutsche Telekom AG.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
- Trump tweets make Barr’s job ‘impossible.’
- A puzzle made by sadists?
- The superyacht and the reef.
- The hottest January in 141 years.
- Penny stock surges after saying it will make masks.
- London luxury homes lure back bankers.
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