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10 things you need to know in markets today

Will Martin
A man uses an ATM outside a branch of Lloyds Bank in London, Britain in this October 28, 2014 file photo.

REUTERS/Andrew Winning/Files

Good morning! Here's what you need to know in markets on Wednesday.

1. It's jobs day in the UK. The Office for National Statistics will later on Wednesday release its latest data on the state of the UK's job market, including stats on the unemployment rate, and on wage growth. The figures will be released at 9.30 a.m. GMT.

2. Lloyds Bank is set to return another £1 billion to investors through a new share buyback when it releases its annual results on Wednesday. According to Sky News, Lloyds "will unveil the move alongside annual results and a new three-year strategy that will take it to the end of the decade."

3. Dozens of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs have written to Theresa May to lay out a list of demands for their vision of Brexit. On Friday, 62 members of the European Research Group, a group of anti-EU MPs, sent a letter to the Prime Minister calling for the UK to leave the single market and laying out a series of "suggestions" for the terms on which Britain should exit the European Union.

4. President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday that Venezuela had received $735 million in the first day of a pre-sale of the country's "petro" cryptocurrency, aimed at pulling the country out of an economic tailspin. Maduro is hoping the petro will allow the ailing OPEC member to skirt U.S. sanctions as the bolivar currency plunges to record lows and it struggles with hyperinflation and a collapsing socialist economy.

5. South Korea's market regulator said it hopes cryptocurrency moves toward self-regulation. The government considered banning local cryptocurrency exchanges in January.

6. A U.S. judge on Tuesday rejected billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen's request to temporarily seal a lawsuit accusing his hedge fund firm Point72 Asset Management LP of sexism toward women. U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan said Point72 failed to overcome the presumption under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment that the complaint by Lauren Bonner, its head of talent analytics, should be accessible to the public.

7. A former commodities trader-turned-bitcoin fund manager says that so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs) "offer a richness that you’ll never get in a regular IPO." Danny Masters, who ran JPMorgan's commodities trading business in New York in the 1990s, told Business Insider: "I’ve never seen a better process for the formation of capital than this.

8. The risk of the US slipping into a recession is 'material and rising,' according to economists at Swiss lender UBS. "The risk of a hard landing has risen notably," said a UBS economics group led by Seth Carpenter, a former Fed economist. "The Fed began raising rates in 2015 — long before there were hints of any inflation — to avoid an abrupt slowing in the economy that would risk a recession," the group said.

9. Wall Street is not impressed by the Snapchat redesign. Analysts at Citi bank are the latest to downgrade Snap Inc.'s stock rating, going to "Sell" from "Neutral" in a note to investors on Thursday morning. Raymond James similarly downgraded the stock to "Underperform" in January.

10. Carmaker Volkswagen and labor union IG Metall reached a wage agreement for more than 120,000 workers in Germany in a fourth round of talks, the union said on Wednesday. The union had threatened earlier this month to cripple vehicle production at Volkswagen, incensed by an offer from management to raise pay for staff at western German plants by no more than 2.2 percent over 12 months, about a third of the 6 percent it was seeking.

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