Shares retreat in Europe, Asia … Facebook expects $5 billion fine … Deutsche Bank halts talks with Commerzbank
TOKYO (AP) – Shares retreated in Europe and Asia today, with Chinese benchmarks down sharply as the central bank signaled it would opt for caution on stimulus measures. France’s CAC 40 fell 0.2% in early trading. Germany’s DAX slipped nearly 0.2%, while Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.5%. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite index lost 2.4%, while in the smaller bourse in Shenzhen, the benchmark sank 3.4%. U.S. shares are set to meander with Dow futures slipping 0.1%. S&P 500 futures edged 0.6 points higher.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Facebook’s revelation that it could face a $5 billion federal privacy fine is the latest sign of U.S. moves toward tighter regulation of the technology industry, which has enjoyed years of nearly unrestricted growth with little oversight. Facebook said Wednesday it’s planning for a fine between $3 billion and $5 billion and formally set aside $3 billion for the FTC, which is investigating whether the social network violated its users’ privacy.
BERLIN (AP) – Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are halting talks on a possible merger that would have created Germany’s biggest financial institution. Deutsche Bank says that “after careful analysis” its management board has concluded that a combination with its rival “would not have created sufficient benefits to offset the additional execution risks, restructuring costs and capital requirements associated with such a large-scale integration.”
LONDON (AP) – British competition regulators have blocked J. Sainsbury Plc’s 7.3 billion-pound ($9.4 billion) purchase of Walmart’s Asda unit, which would have created the U.K.’s biggest supermarket chain. The Competition and Markets Authority says the deal would have increased prices and reduced the quality and range of products available to shoppers. Stuart McIntosh, who led the agency’s review of the deal, says, “we have concluded that there is no effective way of addressing our concerns, other than to block the merger.”
LONDON (AP) – Britain’s digital minister says the government has not yet decided whether to allow China’s Huawei (WAH’-way) to supply parts for the U.K.’s new 5G wireless network. Jeremy Wright says government officials and U.K. intelligence agencies are still carrying out a review on how best to strike the “difficult balance between security and prosperity.” The United States has been lobbying allies to exclude Huawei from all 5G networks, noting that the Chinese government can force the company to give it backdoor access to data.