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Look, let’s just say it hasn’t been a great day so far for big-name Asian conglomerates.
Shares in Samsung Electronics fell as much as 2 per cent on Friday after its parent group’s heir apparent Lee Jae-yong was arrested early in the morning for bribery, embezzlement and perjury in connection with a massive corruption scandal that has already resulted in the president’s impeachment.
Meanwhile Toshiba shares tumbled as much as 12.2 per cent after ratings agency S&P global said it was monitoring support for the company from creditors and would consider downgrading the conglomerate if that support includes any form of debt restructuring.
It has been a less-than-stellar day for Asian equities generally, with Tokyo’s Topix index down 0.6 per cent and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong off by as much. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index is down 0.2 per cent ahead of the close. Futures currently tip the FTSE 100 to open flat in London, while the S&P 500 is expected to do the same in New York.
And after an erratic, rambling press conference from President Donald Trump – whose top pick to replace national security adviser Michael Flynn has turned down the offer – Europe is set to enjoy its own encounter with an envoy from the embattled US administration. Mike Pence, vice-president, is due to top the bill at the Munich Security Conference, Europe’s leading defence forum, amid uncertainty about transatlantic relations after Mr Trump’s election.
Corporate earnings reports out today include Allianz, Segro, Essentra and M&C.
The economic calendar for Friday is reassuring in its regularity (all times London):
- 08.30: Sweden consumer inflation
- 09.00: Eurozone current account
- 09.30: UK retail sales
- 18.00: Eurozone construction output