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.

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Trump eager for trade deal with China to boost stock market

Trump-eager- for -trade-GBO

The US president is increasingly eager to strike a deal with China soon, in order to perk up financial markets that have slumped on concerns over the trade war, according to insiders

Talks between mid-level US and Chinese officials in Beijing were extended for a third day, adding to optimism fuelled by tweets from Trump that the two sides were making progress towards an agreement.

The US delegation were seen carrying their luggage with them as they left their hotel for the negotiations on Wednesday morning.

Some key economic advisers are campaigning for a quick resolution to the trade conflict to help soothe battered markets. The S&P 500 Index has fallen about 8% since Trump and Jinping agreed on a 90-day truce at a December 1 meeting in Argentina.

“Talks with China are going very well!” tweeted Trump,in a series of upbeat messages from him on the negotiations since both his meeting with Mr Xi and the December market turmoil.

US stock-index futures climbed during the Asia trading day, with March contracts on the S&P 500 Index gaining as much as 0.5%.

According to insiders, Trump’s willingness to cut a deal with Beijing is driven in large part by his desire for markets to rally. He’s publicly stated that he’s eager to make a deal that benefits both sides while also stressing that China’s slowing economy and falling stock market signal the country is more desperate than the US for a speedy outcome.

Still, talks between the world’s two biggest economies have repeatedly yielded no breakthroughs since they started in May, and Beijing has repeatedly said it won’t cave to US demands.

The US Trade Representative’s press office declined to comment.

The two countries have until March 1 before US tariffs on some $200 bn in Chinese goods are set to rise from 10% to 25%.

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