Midday Dispatch – Corporate and Financial News

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Good afternoon

These are some of the main stories from the corporate and financial world.

Maltese financial services sector registered a 9.5% growth – Business Today 

Oil prices hit a six-week high on Thursday as oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated ahead of a storm, while an incident with a British tanker in the Middle East highlighted tensions in the region. Reuters 

House prices, as measured by the House Price Index, rose by 4.0% in both the euro area and the EU in the first quarter of 2019 compared with the same quarter of the previous year. These figures come from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Eurostat

Ryanair’s Chief Operations Officer Peter Bellew is to step down at the end of the year, chief executive Michael O’Leary said in a memo to staff on Thursday seen by Reuters.

Norwegian Air’s CEO  Bjoern Kjos stepped down on Thursday as chief executive of the airline he co-founded and turned into Europe’s third-biggest budget carrier by passenger numbers. CD

Microsoft will open its first retail store in Europe on Thursday as the software giant looks to boost its physical presence and compete with other tech companies offering unique in-store experiences for customers. – CNBC

The US Department of Justice is investigating Deutsche Bank in connection with its work for 1MDB, the state investment fund at the centre of a multibillion-dollar money-laundering scandal, according to a person familiar with the matter. – Financial Times 

Bitcoin is sliding after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell poured cold water on Facebook’s plans to launch a cryptocurrency. – CNBC

The United States and France should find means other than threats to solve the problem of how to tax big tech firms, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday after Washington launched a probe into France’s planned digital tax. – Reuters

British banks hold enough capital to cope with a simultaneous disorderly no-deal Brexit and global trade war, the Bank of England said on Thursday as part of its half-yearly assessment of financial risks. – Reuters 

In an interview with the BBC, Branson said a hard Brexit would be “devastating for many Virgin companies,” and would force the group to move investment away from the U.K. CNBC 

As trade talks resume between China and the United States, President Donald Trump’s advisers are confident he can portray his stance against Beijing as a strength in the 2020 election, despite making concessions and having no deal in sight. Reuters 

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