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5 things you need to know today

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Published on: Friday, May 19, 2017

  • Solid economic data in the US helped buoy investor sentiment yesterday, following a strong sell down on political uncertainty (read Peter Switzer's article today for more on the "Trump slump" and its implications). Initial jobless claims in the US fell by 4,000 to a rate of 232,000 (seasonally adjusted) – the lowest levels since 1973 (CommSec). The Dow Jones rose by 56 points or 0.3%. The S&P 500 index rose by 0.4% while the Nasdaq rose by 44 points or 0.7%.
  • Fairfax shares jumped 6.9% yesterday to a six-year high of $1.24 after TPG Capital’s takeover proposal was upped by rival Hellman & Friedman. According to The Australian, TPG Capital will “vow to protect editorial independence at Fairfax Media” following their trumped bid by a second private equity player. TPG country head Joel Thickens will reportedly appear before a Senate inquiry today into public interest journalism. The TPG proposal valued Fairfax at around $2.76bn, compared to Hellman & Freidman’s bid which valued the company at between $2.82bn and $2.87bn.
  • The proposed merger between APN Outdoor and oOh!Media has been ditched, following concerns flagged by the competition watchdog. In a statement to the ASX, APO and OML said they both disagreed with the ACCC’s views that the merger would “likely result in a substantial lessening of competition in the supply of out-of-home advertising services”. APO and OML said “the nature and extend of ACCC’s indicative intervention now represents an unacceptable risk to a successful merger”. “…Offering the material concessions to the ACCC which are likely to be required to ultimately allow the proposed merger to proceed would adversely compromise the overall merits of the transaction.” 
  • The oil price rose on Thursday on hopes of supply cut extensions from the world’s key producers. The market is becoming increasingly confident that OPEC and other oil producers will extend their output cuts of around 1.8 million barrels per day until the end of March, 2018 (AAP). Brent crude rose US30 cents or 0.6% to US$52.51 a barrel, while US Nymex rose US28 cents or 0.6% to US$49.35 a barrel.
  • At 0700 AEST on Friday, the local share price futures index was down 3 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 5,727.

New on Switzer

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