World Markets Live - May 22 - CNBC Live Events
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CNBC Live Events

World Markets Live - May 22

We’ll be updating you throughout the day with essential breaking news, data alerts, earnings reports and all the major market movements.

  • Good morning and welcome to a new week.
     
    Our top headlines this morning in London are as follows: 
     
    • Donald Trump heads to Israel after kicking off his first foreign trip in Saudi Arabia, where he signs $110 billion dollars in defense deals and tells Middle Eastern leaders they need to play their part in rooting out terrorism. 
     
    • Pressure on the president mounts at home as reports suggest President Trump told the Russians that firing James Comey would ease pressure from the investigation, while the probe reaches a current White House official. 
     
    • Who's in the driver seat at Ford? The automaker reportedly considers a major reshuffle of its leadership team following the slump in its stock price.
     
    • Clariant and Huntsman reportedly prepare to unveil an all-stock merger with headquarters in Switzerland but main operations in Texas. 
  • U.S. automaker Ford has reportedly fired its CEO Mark Fields and named former Steelcase chief executive Jim Hackett as his replacement. That's according to a number of media reports, citing sources. 

     

    Ford Motor Is Replacing Mark Fields as C.E.O.

    Ford Motor is replacing its chief executive, Mark Fields, the NYT reports.

     
    The management reshuffle comes days after reports surfaced that Ford is planning to cut 10 percent of its global workforce in a bid to increase profits and boost its stock price, which is currently drifting near a 5-year low. 
     
     
  • "A merger of equals"
     
    Huntsman and Clariant have just confirmed that they are to tie-up in to one giant chemical specialist group. The firm would be valued at about $20 billion market cap if taken at today's value.
     
    They want to tie up by the end of this year.
     
    The firm will be named Huntsman Clariant, so that's easy enough.
  • FOMC minutes and a U.S. GDP estimates are two big data drops for U.S. markets and investors this week.
     
    The Dow, S&P and NASDAQ ended the week down -0.38% or worse but on Friday checked losses 
    to an extent by closing higher on the session.
     
     
     
  • President Donald Trump's two-day visit to Israel has begun.
     
    The U.S. leader has landed at Tel Aviv's ben Gurion airport as he starts the second leg of his first trip abroad.
     
    Issues will include his apparent wavering over previous promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. Onlookers say Israel's once-clear support of the Trump administration is now less certain.
     
     
    Head to CNBC dot com for five key issues to watch on Donald Trump's visit to Israel:
     

    Trump's Israel Visit: 5 Key Issues

    Over the weekend President Trump urged Muslim leaders to do more to address terrorism and called on community leaders to "drive them out of this earth."

    In his key address during his visit to Saudi Arabia, Trump softened his campaign rhetoric, referring to Islam as "one of the world's great faiths." He also signed a new arms deal between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia worth $110  billion.
     
  •  
    We are back to real business and politics mixed. This is the industrial-military complex in action. And in the background, Blackstone has launched a new $40 billion infrastructure fund.
    Geoff highlighting the real purpose of the Trump visit to the Middle East as he signs off on a number of deals with Saudi Arabia.
     
    U.S. defense firm Raytheon is said to be the biggest winner, but the likes of Lockheed Martin and Boeing are also well in the mix with big contracts.
  • LafargeHolcim has announced Jan Jenisch as its new CEO, following the resignation of Eric Olsen.
    The 50 year old German national will officially take over from October.
     
    Jan Jenisch
     
    Jenisch has been the CEO of Swiss firm Sika since 2012 and has been with the company for over 20 years.
  •  
    At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Hanoi, the United States has indicated that its reluctance to get involved in multi-lateral trade deals does not mean it will turn its back on the region.
     
    The United States, as you say, pulled out of the TPP, and it is not going to change that decision. That does not mean we won't engage in this area. We very much expect to do that. We will continue to do that. We are still an enormous exporter to this area. We are an enormous importer from this area. We expect to engage with members here in many cases on a bilateral basis.
     
    The President has made the decision which I certainly agree with that negotiate, bilateral negotiations are better for the United States than multi-lateral negotiations, and after review, the TPP was not in the interest of the United States. But that by no mean means that we are turning our back on this area, perhaps exactly the opposite.
     
    - Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative
  •  
    Markets in Europe are seen opening higher this Monday as investors follow U.S. President Donald Trump’s first foreign visit and focus on corporate news.

    The FTSE is expected 24 points higher at 7,487, the German DAX is up by 6 points at 12,643 and the CAC is seen 13 points higher at 5,336.
     
    In international matters, President Trump is to visit Jerusalem where he is expected to explore ways to Israeli-Palestinian peace. Later this week, Trump will meet other NATO members in Brussels. According to the Wall Street Journal, the heads of state will back Trump’s call for higher spending on defense.

    In corporate news, Huntsman Corporation and Switzerland’s Clariant have announced a $20 billion merger deal and the manufacturing company Lafargeholcim has appointed Jan Jenisch as its new chief executive officer. 
  • French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni have promised to work on closer euro zone ties in their first official meeting in Paris.
     
    Gentiloni said Macron's election has been an "injection of trust and hope for Europe" and pushed for a common European migration policy. The French President called for a long-term roadmap to create a common euro zone budget and to strengthen the European institutions.
     
    Meanwhile, Macron also announced he is going to meet with trade unions tomorrow to discuss labour reforms. In an interview with the Journal du Dimanche,
     
    French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the Government wants to act quickly on the labour market but a reform will be introduced after talks with the unions.
     

    France will be able to take off again under Macron, says Publicis CEO

    CNBCThere is hope in Europe since the election of incoming French President Emmanuel Macron, says the boss of advertising firm, Publicis Groupe.
  • Brazilian President Michel Temer has moved to dismiss the validity of an audio file that allegedly recorded him supporting bribery payments.
     
    Temer has asked a Supreme Tribunal to suspend the investigation saying that the recordings have been manipulated. Protests and calls for his resignation have intensified since the story became public on Thursday, with financial markets also taking a hit.
     
    Marcos Casarin, Head of Latin America Macro Research at Oxford Economics is on set to talk Brazil. He says very few people believe Temer can survive his term until 2018 and impeachment or resignation seem more likely.
     
    He's getting weakened by the minute, and I think he will resign soon.
     
     
    Casarin says the removal of Temer is "100 percent" certain.
     
    He says the current uncertainty in Brazil has deflated some of the big rises in Brazilian assets and could prove another buying opportunity if a fresh administration can please investor thirst for reform.
  • Our top headlines this morning in London are as follows:
     
    • Donald Trump heads to Israel after kicking off his first foreign trip in Saudi Arabia, where he signs $110 billion dollars in defense deals and tells Middle Eastern leaders they need to play their part in rooting out terrorism.
     
    • Pressure on the president mounts at home as reports suggest President Trump told the Russians that firing James Comey would ease pressure from the investigation, while the probe reaches a current White House official.
     
    • Who's in the driver seat at Ford? The automaker reportedly considers a major reshuffle of its leadership team following the slump in its stock price.
     
    • Clariant and Huntsman reportedly prepare to unveil an all-stock merger with headquarters in Switzerland but main operations in Texas.
  •  
    European shares are seen opening higher.
     
     
     
    Swiss firm Clariant will be under the microscope after the chemicals specialist announced an all stock merger of equals with Texas-based Hunstman.
     
    The deal creates a combined company worth over 14 billion dollars. Talks between the two firms have faltered before, but in a bid to create a merger of equals, Hunstman's CEO will become Chief Executive of the new company, while Clariant's CEO will take the Chairman role. The headquarters will be in Switzerland, but the main operational centre will be located in Texas. 
     
    Alan Higgins, chief Investment officer at Coutts says his firm doesn't emphasize the chemicals sector but concedes the aggression from activists in the sector may justify some interest.
  • Saudi Arabia's oil minister Khalid Al Falih will travel to Iraq to discuss an extension of the output deal ahead of the formal OPEC meeting in Vienna on Thursday. Speaking over the weekend, the Saudi minister said"everyone I have spoken to supports a 9-month extension".
     
    OPEC have a number of options at this meeting. Members could choose to follow the lead of Saudi Arabia and Russia by extending the existing output deal by 6 or 9 months. Some OPEC watchers believe producers could be looking for a sharper price reaction, and opt to deepen the supply cuts to reduce inventories faster. A third scenario is that an OPEC member like Iraq chooses to opt out of the deal altogether, jeopardizing the group's ability to reach an agreement. 
     
     
    Helima Croft, Chief Commodities Strategist at RBC Capital Markets is on set.
     
    She says meeting in Iraq, the second largest OPEC producer, is significant because that is the country that is displaying a huge reluctance to commit to a supply cap.
     
    Iraq is one of the few countries that could in theory grow production so that is why it is so important to get them on board.
     
    Croft says oil prices should grind higher but questions do remain over how much higher OPEC can cut supply in f they are serious about forcing the cost of a barrel upwards.
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani secured a comfortable victory in Friday's election, defeating rival Ebrahim Raisi. A strong turnout of 70 percent helped the incumbent Rouhani, who received in excess of 23 million votes.
     
     
    The U.S. government consider Iran the regional menace. There is a risk that nuclear deal agreed with Iran could fall apart at some point.
    - Helima Croft, Chief Commodities Strategist, RBC Capital Markets 
  •  
    A slight move to the upside for the average of the top 600 European stocks.
     
     
  • RBS shareholders who are taking legal action over a 2008 rights issue have been offered over 80 pence a share according to Reuters sources. 
  • Here is how individual markets look after 7 minutes of trade.
     
     
  • The worst performing sector in Europe is Tech while Basic Resources are at the top of the list.
     
     
     
  • Swiss chemical company Clariant has announced an all-stock deal to merge with Texas-based Hunstman. The deal creates a combined company worth over 14 billion dollars.
     
    Talks between the two firms have faltered before, but in a bid to create a merger of equals, Huntsman's CEO will become Chief Executive of the new company, while Clariant's CEO will take the Chairman role. The headquarters will be in Switzerland, but the main operational center will be located in Texas. 
     
    Clariant shares spiking more than 6 percent.
     
     
  • A showdown in Amsterdam gets underway today as Akzo Nobel shareholders, including activist investor Elliot Advisers, begin court proceedings over the company's rejection of PPG's 26.3 billion euro deal. Akzo has argued that the tie-up would be bad for employees and the environment, as well as facing anti-trust concerns. 

    Elliot is hoping to convince judges to undergo a formal investigation into Akzo's board, accusing the firm of mismanagement. The war of words between the company and the activist investor has intensified over the last few months.
     
    On set, CNBC's Gemma Acton says Elliot are very aggressive and adopt a U.S. style of engagement with management teams. She says investors like it and moreover, in the last 30 years, Elliot has only ever had two loss-making years.
     
     
  • Aegon has announced it will sell its U.S. corporate and bank life insurance to Wilton Re.
     
    This in a bid to strengthen its financial muscle under the new European Solvency Regime for insurers. The Dutch company said it expected to book a loss on the transaction of about 270 million euros, but it added the move would improve solvency by 6 percent. 
     
     
  • Italian pharmaceutical company Recordati has sealed the European commercial rights to Astrazeneca's heart-failure drug Selokon.
     
    Recordati will pay $300 million dollars in a deal which will see the British company receive sales-related income through tiered royalties. 
     
     
     
     
  • Hadley Gamble is in Jerusalem covering the imminent arrival of U.S. leader Donald Trump. Trump, now done talking with Arab leaders, will now seek to maintain the slightly strained U.S. relationship with Israel.
     
    Hadley reporst from the Damascus Gate which for centuries has stood as the portal to the Old City of Jerusalem.
     
    Over the weekend Hadley spoke to Deutsche Bank MEA CEO, Jamal Al-Kishi, and asked him about the status of the U.S.-Saudi relationship:
     
     
    It is a new page that I think both parties are hoping to turn in the development of this long long standing relationship between two allies. Relationship between Saudi Arabia transcends administrations transcends monarchies, administrations and years. Along the way we're going to do things that both allies may not be in agreement on as each nation copes with challenges and developments and self-interest so to speak. If I were to look at the arc of this strategic alliance, I think it's a fairly good shape. Saudis and US hoping new administration will take different tack to betterment of this relationship. In terms of investments by US and Saudi into US, outlook is very positive, as Saudi Arabia is privatising as you know Hadley. Opportunity is US investors, strategic investors to come in and participate in very thoughtful effective way. We hope this is what will transpire. Saudi also investing abroad to bring in technology to open market for its own products. The US is a key market for Saudi Arabia.
     
  • A reminder of our top news stories:
     
    • A chemical reaction for Clariant and Huntsman which trade higher after unveiling a $20 billion dollar all-stock merger, creating a chemical giant with headquarters in Switzerland but main operations in Texas. 
     
    • A new CEO cheers LafargeHolcim investors, as the stock opens in the green on the announcement that Jan Jenisch will move to the helm from Sika. 
     
    • Donald Trump heads to Israel after kicking off his first foreign trip in Saudi Arabia, where he signs $110 billion dollars in defense deals and tells Middle Eastern leaders they need to play their part in rooting out terrorism. 
     
    • But pressure on the president mounts at home as reports suggest Trump told Russian officials firing James Comey would ease pressure from the investigation.
  • The Italian Statistics Bureau ISTAT has raised the growth forecast for Italy from 0.9 percent to 1.0 percent.
     
    Source: ISTAT
     
    Quarterly GDP growth, as represented above, has been tepid for Italy.
  • The United Kingdom is nearing a general election which current Prime Minister Theresa May believes will provide her with a strong mandate to carry out the country's withdrawal from Europe.
     
    Although her Conservative Party still commands a healthy lead, one telephone poll by the firm Survation has suggested that the level of comfort is dwindling fast.
     
    The latest poll put the Conservatives on 43 percent, down 5 percentage points from a poll on May 15.
     
    That still marks a robust 9 percent lead but is half of the 18 point advantage reported in Mid-May by the same pollster, using the same method.
     
    U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May
     
  • As we digest the weekend and morning news flow, the net result is rather marginal on the likely performance of U.S. stocks later today.
     
    In earnings news, Booz Allen Hamilton and Cheetah Mobile are expected to report before the bell, while Agilent and Nordson are set to report afterwards.
     
    No major data is expected to be released on Monday. 
     
    In the central bank sphere, a number of U.S. Federal Reserve members are expected to speak on Monday. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari is set to speak at the Opportunity for Inclusive Growth Institute Conference, with Fed Governor Lael Brainard also set to deliver remarks. 
     
    Elsewhere, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker will be in Philadelphia where he will be commenting on the “link between physical and economic wellbeing” at the Jefferson College of Health Professions and Jefferson College of Pharmacy Commencement Ceremony.
     
     
     
    Here in Europe, stocks have had a see saw open to the week but are around 0.22 percent higher at the last print.
     
    Basic resources stocks led the gains in early trading, up by more than 1 percent, as Chinese steel futures came close to a 6 percent jump on Monday.
     
     
  • Oil prices have risen in session, supported by reports that an OPEC-led supply cut would not only be extended but might also be deepened in order to prop up prices.
     
    The head of Iraq'a State Oil Market Organization (SOMO) is speaking at a London event this morning and has said Iraq has met its commitment to OPEC cuts.
     
    The Iraqi said that OPEC is making strong progress its bid to re-balance the oil markets.
     
    Iraq, OPEC's second biggest producer, is seen as a risk factor in the attempts to co-ordinate a cap to the flow of oil supply.
     
     
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland has attempted to stave off a potentially embarrassing court case by offering a group of investors an 80 pence a share payout.
     
    Thousands of RBS investors have taken the bank to court over allegations it falsely depicted its financial health in the lead up to the financial crisis of 2008.
     
    RBS, which remains more than 70 percent state-owned, denies any wrongdoing but has already settled with about 9 of 10 angry investors.
     
    The larger investors who are holding out for a better deal include U.S. bank Wells Fargo, the Boeing pension fund, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and local British council pension funds.
     
     
  • Euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will seek deal over Greek debt relief today that will allow crucial new loans to be pushed through to officials in Athens.

    According to Reuters, Greece needs to repay some 7.3 billion euros worth of maturing loans in July.
     
    German Finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said this morning that the euro zone governments are more comfortable with Greece's position than the IMF.
    He said the euro zone and IMF are still "at odds" on debt sustainability of Greece.
     
    Schaeuble said the reforms by Greece are "remarkable" but the aim of getting Greece competitive have not yet been met.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and U.S. President Trump embrace after Air Force One  touches down in Israel.
     
    He is due any minute to make remarks.
     
    In the meantime let's just check on European markets.
     
    The mining sector is helping to drive the FTSE higher.
     
  • He thanks his hosts and claims his recent visit to Saudi Arabia gives him fresh hope for peace and cooperation in the Middle East.
     
    He twice references the need to attack and defeat terrorism and then wraps up the short remarks.
     
    We love Israel, we respect Israel and I send the warmest greetings from the people of the United States of America.
  • U.S. stock markets are called cautiously higher for the market open at the start of the trading week, according to future values.
     
    Politics, speeches from the Fed and the OPEC meeting on oil production cuts are some of the things in focus for investors this week.
     
     
     
     
  •  
    The digital currency bitcoin is continuing to rally higher at the start of this week, after achieving record gains last week.
     
    Bitcoin broke above the $2,100 mark today, trading as high as $2,185.89, according to Coindesk data.
     
     
     
    Bitcoin priced in Japanese yen is in fact trading at a roughly $400 dollar premium, at around $2,500 per bitcoin.
     
    Charles Hayter, CEO & founder of CryptoCompare, says "bitcoin fever" is taking over Japanese markets, where the country's regulator recently recognised the bitcoin as a legitimate currency.
     
    The Japanese have caught the Bitcoin bug and inefficiencies across markets are being exposed. Irrational exuberance is taking hold as the Japanese stumble over each other to enter the Bitcoin market and drag up international prices.
     
    CNBC's Arjun Kharpal also reported on Bitcoin today. He says someone investing $100 in bitcoin 7 years ago would be a multi-millionaire today. You can read more here.
     

    If you bought $100 of bitcoin 7 years ago, you'd be sitting on $72.9 million now after new record high

    Bitcoin hit a fresh record high above $2,100 on Monday with the cryptocurrency continuing its strong rally.
  • Ford shares are trading more than 2 percent higher in premarket trade. 
     
    The company is reportedly planning to replace its current CEO Mark Fields. The former head of Steelcase, Jim Hackett, is expected to be chosen to replace Fields. 
     
     
     
     
  • Bitcoin remains near its record high at $2,165.08. The crytocurrency continues to rally higher on greater interest from Japan, as well as optimism concerning regulators in the U.S. and Russia.
     
    Mati Greenspan, senior markets analyst at eToro, says bitcoin loyalist have made a handsome return: the value of the digital currency has jumped more than $500 in around two weeks.
     
    One might have expected that the WannaCry cyber-attack – in which hackers asked for payment in Bitcoin – would have had a negative effect on the price, but it seems like not even a worldwide ransomware attack can prevent the rise of Bitcoin. 

    As more and more people become familiar with the technology and real-world uses are implemented in more sectors, we can only expect investors to place more trust in the asset, and for prices to rise.

    As Japan ups their volumes and with SEC announcements to come on an Ethereum ETF and Coin ETF, we may well see more volatility in cryptocurrencies. 
     
    Bitcoin is not the only digital currency trading at record levels. Ethereum is currently trading close to $190, having broken $100 for the first time on Thursday.
     
     
     
     
     
  • Bitcoin is hitting a fresh record today, above $2,100.
     
    Today is also the seventh year anniversary of "Bitcoin Pizza Day". In 2010, a bitcoin investor bought 2 pizza with 10,000 bitcoins. 
     
    The transaction at the time was worth roughly $40. Those 10,000 bitcoins are now worth around $20 million.
     
     
  • The U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May says no one will have to sell their family home to pay for care for the elderly. May say her government would consult on introducing a cap on the amount the elderly would have to pay for social care.
     
    This comes after the U.K.'s former finance minister, George Osborne, says the Prime Minister will change the policy on transferring the cost of domestic social care from the state to the elderly and drop it before the U.K. general election.
     
     
    Mrs May's Conservative manifesto suggested introducing charges for domestic social care for the elderly that would be paid out of the person's estate after their death, with their estate including the value of any property.
     
    The pledge has been met with criticism and been branded a "dementia tax" by opponents. The Conservative Party enjoyed a double digit lead in polls ahead of the announcement. They now lead by just 9 points in the polls.
  • Wilbur Ross, U.S. Commerce Secretary, is speaking live on CNBC now.
     
    He is discussing President Trump's trip to the Middle East. 
     
    He says Middle East countries are united with the U.S. and praises comments made by Trump regarding Islam. 
     
     
  • Wilbur Ross, U.S. Commerce Secretary, says there was a good mood during meetings between the U.S. and Saudi Arabian governments. Multi-billion dollar arms deals were signed with Middle East countries during the meeting.
  • The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says to expect first talks between the EU and U.K. in the week commencing June 19th.
     
    Barnier says he hops to see Britain at the negotiating table as soon as possible, according to Reuters reports.
     
    He adds that he hopes the EU and UK can discuss a future trade deal by the end of this year or early next year, and says that the sooner the two sides agree on the first phase of Brexit, the sooner they can discuss trade.
     
     
  • George Osborne, the former U.K. finance minister and now editor of the London Evening Standard newspaper, took to Twitter earlier today to say the U.K. government would make a U-turn on its policy for the elderly paying for their own social care.
     
    Later, the U.K. prime minister announced her party would consult on introducing a cap on social care costs.
     
    This from the Conservative Party, which traditionally believes in reducing the state's interference in the free market.
  • We're at the midday point, with only 4 hours left on trade in European markets.
     
    The pan-European Stoxx 600 is flat, down about 5 basis points. Here's how the individual bourses are performing.
     
     
  • Shares in chemical group Huntsman are trading sharply higher in premarket trade on news the company is merging with Clariant in a deal with $14 billion.
     
    Huntsman's CEO says he expects the merger to achieve cost savings of $400 million, with half of this achieved within the first 12 months.
     
    The CEO also does not rule out further large M&A deals of the same size as the one with Clariant, he told CNBC.
     
     
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