Stock markets have retreated again over worries of further US interest rate rises after the Federal Reserve defied Donald Trump to increase rates for the fourth time this year.

The EU has confirmed it is “actively investigating” a potential breach of its diplomatic communications network, following reports that secret cables had been stolen by hackers.

The Bank of England has welcomed a “crucial and positive” move by the EU to help keep a key part of the financial system functioning in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

A handful of banks will be forced to write multimillion pound cheques to buy shares in the construction giant Kier Group after some of its biggest investors snubbed the chance to take part in a £250m fundraising.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to merge its consumer healthcare unit with that of rival Pfizer, to create a new market leader with almost £10bn in annual sales.

 

Santander has been fined more than £30m for “serious failings” in processing the accounts of dead customers, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says.

TECHNOLOGY TOP STORIES

London remains top destination for European tech funding

London-remains-GBO

The UK’s financial capital remained the top destination in Europe for technology investment in 2018, with nearly double the amount being ploughed into it than nearest rival Berlin, according to data

Technology companies in London attracted $2.29 bn in venture capital funding, which was 72% of the total $3.18bn raised by UK tech businesses, according to data from funding database PitchBook on behalf of the Mayor of London.

Eileen Burbidge, a partner at venture capital firm Passion Capital, stated that London was the leading hub for financial technology thanks to its position as one of the world’s biggest financial centres, while its universities helped to create companies offering Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“We get a lot of calls and inquiries from investors in the U.S. and Asia looking for fintech opportunities,” she told Reuters.

“In fintech, AI and a few other sectors such as life sciences and robotics, London genuinely leads the world.” She added.

London mayor Sadiq Khan however, has warned that Britain’s departure from the European Union could damage its appeal. Burbridge however, stated that there was no sign of this happening yet, beyond companies asking a lot of questions when looking to hire from abroad.

PitchBook data showed that both Berlin and Paris gained ground against London in the race for funds across Europe, and that London failed to match the record levels it attracted in 2017, despite the gap remaining significant.

Berlin attracted $1.19bn worth of investment in 2018, almost double the previous year’s total, while $1.01mn went to tech groups in Paris as President Emmanuel Macron stepped up his promotion of the country.

In Britain as a whole, investment in AI rose 47% to $937mn while $1.52bn went into the booming fintech sector and companies such as digital banks Revolut and Monzo.

Total venture capital funding in European tech slipped slightly in 2018, with $13.30bn raised, against $13.33bn in 2017.

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