Deutsche shares drop, investors ‘like’ Facebook, the art of political persuasion

Litigation charges and restructuring costs hit German lender’s earnings

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Executives at Deutsche Bank could be forgiven for wanting to forget 2016. But on Thursday they got a sharp reminder of the year in which the bank was marred by a mixture of litigation charges and restructuring costs. Shares dropped almost 6 per cent after Germany’s biggest lender said it had made a net loss of €1.9bn in the final three months of 2016. This included €1.6bn of litigation charges, the bulk of which were linked to Deutsche’s $7.2bn mortgage mis-selling settlement with the US Department of Justice.

Chief executive John Cryan put a brave face on the figures. He acknowledged that 2016 had been a “particularly tough year” but said the bank had proved its resilience and that it had a “promising” start to 2017, pointing out that its capital and liquidity ratios had improved markedly in the final three months of the year. (FT)

In the news

Australia ‘the worst call by far’ It was supposed to be a congenial phone conversation with one of America’s staunchest allies. Instead, Donald Trump told Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull that he had spoken with four other leaders that day and this one was his least favourite. Then the conversation got worse, and a subsequent tweet by the US president escalated confusion over whether a refugee agreement would be honoured. (WaPo, The Australian)

Temer’s reforms Brazil’s president says he will double down on his economic reform programme after the economy suffered its second year of deep recession in 2016, shrinking at a rate of more than 3 per cent. Growth is expected to be 0.5 per cent this year but President Michel Temer warned of the dangers posed to the region by a possible trade war between the US and Mexico. (FT)

© Nacho Doce

Nato referendum in Ukraine Ukraine is to hold a referendum on Nato membership after polls showed that about 54 per cent of Ukrainians were in favour of joining the alliance — up from just 16 per cent four years ago. The news came amid a surge in violence in Eastern Ukraine and indications that Donald Trump could remove sanctions on Russia that were imposed after it annexed Crimea in 2014. (Politico)

Investors hit ‘like’ on Facebook The world’s largest social network reported soaring revenue and earnings in the fourth quarter despite investors concerns that sales will slow as self-imposed limits to ads on its news feed come into effect. The company estimates that between its messenger apps, Instagram and the Facebook network, it reaches more than 2bn individuals users, more than one quarter of the world’s population. Oh, and it’s hiring. (FT)

Romanian minister resigns Florin Jianu, Romania's minister of business, trade and entrepreneurship, has resigned over a decree that decriminalises a number of graft offences. The decree, which would pardon dozens of officials jailed for corruption, was hastily adopted by the cabinet. It prompted at least 250,000 Romanians to come out in the largest anti-corruption demonstrations since the fall of communism in the country in 1989. (Reuters)

It’s a big day for

US-Asia relations James Mattis, the new secretary of defence, is the first major Trump adviser to venture abroad, visiting Japan and South Korea. He has a delicate task ahead of him. (Politico)

Angela Merkel The German chancellor is in Turkey to meet Recep Tayyip Erdogan. She is trying to maintain the EU-Turkey deal, under which Ankara has blocked migrants from entering the bloc, with criticism of Mr Erdogan’s human rights record. (FT)

Food for thought

China’s chilling message for the wealthy The seizure of Chinese billionaire Xiao Jianhua — one of the country’s most politically connected and wealthy men — from Hong Kong has shaken the territory to its core. “Most Chinese billionaires are like geese — they get fat on their political connections and close ties to party leaders, but at some point the emperor decides he wants to eat foie gras.” (FT)

Japan’s robot chefs A Japanese amusement park has taken a leap of faith by creating a restaurant with more robots than human workers. They are part of a government-funded project to examine which kitchen and food processes should be automated and which left to humans as Japan bets on robotic innovation to revive the country’s struggling services industry in time for the 2020 Olympics. (FT)

The art of political persuasion With political polarisation taking hold of the US and Europe, how do you get your opponents to see your point of view? “Moral reframing” could provide an answer. (The Atlantic) 

The long arm of Myanmar’s military Lifting economic sanctions on the country was seen as a boon for American companies seeking to tap a big market where many had feared to tread. But the move also had a darker side: it freed up the sprawling commercial interests of a military that ruled for almost 50 years and there is reputational risk for foreign investors and the Aung San Suu Kyi administration. (FT)

Forget Atlantis Scientists have uncovered evidence of an ancient “lost continent” beneath the Indian Ocean. Geologists call the continent — which probably sank beneath the sea 84m years ago — “Mauritia” and it formed part of what is today Madagascar and India. (USA Today)

Video of the day

SAP weights heavily on European indexes The FT’s Jonathan Eley discusses the large weight of SAP in European technology indexes. 

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