Asian-Pacific stock markets mostly fell or remained flat amid modest volume Tuesday, with Chinese exchanges still closed for Lunar New Year. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 1%; Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 0.8%; Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was flat; South Korea's Kospi gave up 1.1%; and India's Sensex was down 0.2%
HSBC plans to raise as much as $7 billion in capital in the first half of this year. The news came as the bank reported a 2017 pretax profit of $17.2 billion, well ahead of 2016's $7.1 billion.
Officials of Saudi Arabia's government, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, are reaching out to investors to convince them that a crackdown on corruption has largely been completed and that the kingdom provides a safe environment to conduct business. Some businessmen have been rattled by the way government officials, high-ranking princes and businessmen were rounded up in secrecy in an effort that might have been at least partly motivated by politics.
Sovereign-wealth funds are concerned about the ruling of a court in Belgium that froze $22.6 billion of assets of a Kazakhstan SWF. Traditionally, SWFs have been protected from legal action because they are viewed as arms of sovereign states, but the Belgian ruling did not.
Eugene Scalia, a lawyer acting on behalf of industry bodies against the US Labor Department's fiduciary rule, has criticized charges against brokerage firm Scottrade that allege violation of the rule's impartial-conduct standard. Scalia has told an appeals court the case brought by Massachusetts securities regulator William Galvin lacks merit and could encourage private plaintiffs to concoct allegations against brokerages.
Mirae Asset Global Investments has agreed to take over Global X Management, a New York company that sponsors exchange-traded funds. Mirae will pay $488 million for 100% ownership.
The UK Financial Conduct Authority and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission are partnering on financial-technology initiatives. "We believe that by collaborating with the best-in-class FCA fintech team, the CFTC can contribute to the growing awareness of the critical role of regulators in 21st-century digital markets," said CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo.
London Stock Exchange Group's CurveGlobal plans to debut a three-month Sterling Overnight Index Average futures contract during the second quarter. The contract will compete with a one-month SONIA-referencing futures contract from ICE Futures Europe.
Technology moves faster than regulators' ability to keep up, so it might be best if regulators stay out of the way and let service providers work out kinks in innovation such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, says Cinnober CEO Veronica Augustsson. Finalization of Europe's revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive took 10 years, indicating it would be "impossible to regulate technology in an effective way," Augustsson says.
Temenos, a Swiss banking-software supplier, is in advanced negotiations to acquire Fidessa. The transaction would value the UK firm at more than £1.3 billion.