Here's what you need to know in markets on Friday.
1. The EU has comprehensively rejected British proposals for avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland in a move which will cast serious doubt on the UK’s ability to leave the customs union, The Telegraph has learned. Senior EU diplomatic sources said that May’s plan for avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland was subjected to a "systematic and forensic annihilation" this week at a meeting between senior EU officials and Olly Robbins, the UK’s lead Brexit negotiator.
2. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney on Thursday dampened widespread expectations for an interest rate hike in May, pointing out there were also "other meetings" this year.Reuters reports that sterling dropped almost a cent against the US dollar to its lowest level since April 9 on the back of the comments, in which Carney highlighted "mixed" economic data.
3. Filings show Facebook shelled out a record amount on its European lobbying operations in 2017, doubling spend to $3 billion. The company faced multiple crises last year, including the spread of fake news, terrorist content, and election interference.
4. Asian shares slipped on Friday as a warning on smartphone demand from the world's largest contract chipmaker slugged the tech sector, while lofty oil prices stirred inflation fears and undermined sovereign bonds. Japan's Nikkei stock index closed down 0.09%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.72% at the time of writing (7.25 a.m. GMT/2.25 a.m. ET), and China's Shanghai Composite is down 1.44%.
5. Oil prices were firm on Friday near three-year highs reached earlier this week as ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts gradually drawn down excess supplies. Crude oil is down 0.15% at $68.19 at the time of writing (7.35 a.m. GMT/2.35 a.m.) and Brent oil is down 0.11% to $73.70.
6. British consumer goods maker Reckitt Benckiser reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales growth on Friday, Reuters reports, hurt by further weakness in its Scholl footcare business. The maker of Durex condoms, Lysol disinfectant and Mucinex cold medicine said like-for-like sales rose 2% in the first quarter. Analysts were expecting an increase of 2.6%, according to a company-supplied consensus.
7. The CEO of one of Britain's largest retail banks sees four big factors driving change across the financial services industry over the next few years — and ignoring them could risk becoming the next Blockbuster or Kodak. Lloyds CEO Antonio Horta Osorio gave a keynote speech entitled "The Bank of the Future" at Imperial University Business School's Future of Finance conference in London on Thursday.
8. JPMorgan has tested a new blockchain platform for issuing financial instruments with the National Bank of Canada and other large firms, they said on Friday, seeking to streamline origination, settlement, interest rate payments and other processes. The test on Wednesday mirrored the Canadian bank's $150 million offering on the same day of a one-year floating-rate Yankee certificate of deposit, they said in a statement.
9. London beat New York to reclaim its place as the world's leading financial centre, according to a report, but more than half of those surveyed believe London will lose its crown by 2023. This year's Global Regulatory Outlook report, which is published annually by corporate finance adviser Duff & Phelps, marks the first time that London has beaten New York in the ranking since 2013.
10. Jeff Bezos is pulling the curtain back on Prime. In his latest letter to shareholders, the Amazon CEO shared that Prime has more than 100 million subscribers globally.