Good morning! Here's what you need to know in markets on Friday.
1. The Chinese government blasted President Donald Trump's announcement on Thursday that the US will impose new tariffs on imports from China and said they would introduce their own trade barriers in response. Trump's tariffs, which act as a tax on imports, will apply to goods worth about $50 billion (£35.4 billion) annually and hit industries from aerospace to pharmaceuticals.
2. The escalating US-China trade war has rattled global markets overnight and extended into Asian markets — it’s getting ugly.Japan's Nikkei stock index closed down 4.6%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 3.3% at the time of writing (6.15 a.m. GMT/2.15 a.m. ET), and the Shanghai Composite is down 4.1%.
3. China's Tencent saw its shares down 4.51% at the midday trading break on Friday after the internet firm's largest shareholder, Naspers, said it would lower its stake for the first time in 17 years. The Hong Kong-listed stock opened 7.8% lower at HK$405, its lowest opening price since February 9, before regaining ground to HK$419.6 by noon.
4. The Bank of England's quarterly bulletin is due at 12.00 p.m. GMT (8.00 a.m. ET). The report features commentary on the economy and the central bank's latest thinking around monetary policy.
5. There could be "a stable, flourishing cryptocurrency exchange in London" with the right regulation, according to City Minister John Glen. Speaking to journalists after the UK announced a cryptocurrency task force, Glen said cryptocurrencies don't pose a risk to the UK economy and any regulation of the sector will be "proportionate."
6. The CEO of $20 billion (£14.1 billion) data giant IHS Markit thinks blockchain technology has the potential to be "adopted in many marketplaces for many asset classes in the future."Lance Uggla told BI: "I think the technology with blockchain, it has the potential to be transformative, one of those leaps and bounds technological changes."
7. JPMorgan Chase & Co is considering a spin-off of its marquee blockchain project Quorum believing independence from the bank could increase the platform's appeal, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday. Blockchain first emerged as the software underpinning cryptocurrencies but is being adapted to build a variety of business applications.
8. Dropbox priced its initial public offering on Thursday at $21 a share, which was above its previously expected range. That price yields a valuation of $9.2 billion (£6.5 billion) — better than expected, but still below what it was worth in its last funding round, according to The Wall Street Journal.
9. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is planning a mainland listing via depositary receipts that could come as early as the middle of this year, Thomson Reuters unit IFR reported, citing a person with knowledge of the matter. China has been looking for ways to lure home its offshore-listed tech giants such as Alibaba, giving Chinese investors more access to the fast-growing firms that have traditionally opted to list overseas or in Hong Kong.
10. Nike reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecasts for earnings and revenue on Thursday. The footwear maker reported $0.68 in adjusted earnings per share excluding charges related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and $8.98 billion (£6.3 billion) in revenue.