AT&T has been told by the US Department of Justice that it needs to sell CNN, Time Warner’s cable news channel, to get its $84.5bn acquisition of the media company approved, according to three people with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

The sale of Turner Broadcasting and its crown jewel CNN, which President Donald Trump has fiercely criticised as a broadcaster of “fake news”, is one of two potential options put forward by the US antitrust authority in order to sign off on the deal, those involved in the talks said.

AT&T is opposed to selling the TV network, two people familiar with its thinking said, and is preparing to take the Trump administration to court to argue the deal with Time Warner does not pose any threat to competition.

On Wall Street overnight, gains for technology stocks helped push the S&P 500 to a record closing high, even as mounting concern about hurdles facing US tax reform weighed on financials, while the energy sector was hurt by a further retreat for oil prices.

In Asia Pacific equities, futures tip Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index to rise 0.2 per cent at the open, Tokyo’s Topix is set to gain 0.2 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is expected to shed o.1 per cent when trading begins.

Corporate earnings reports out today include SingTel, Bridgestone, Tata Motors, Secom, Shiseido and Toshiba Corp.

The economic calendar for Thursday is a veritable smörgåsbord of statistics (all times Hong Kong):

  • 07.50: Japan core machine orders, current account balance, trade balance
  • 08.30: Australia home loans
  • 09.30: China consumer and producer price indices
  • 12.00: Malaysia industrial production
  • 15.00: Malaysia interest rates decision
  • 16.00: Philippines interest rates decision

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