Friday, December 8, 2017

Theresa May has reached a Brexit divorce deal after all-night talks with the EU

Theresa May has reached a Brexit divorce deal after all-night talks with the EU

theresa may brexit deal claude junckerTheresa May reached a Brexit divorce deal. Reuters
  • Theresa May has reached a Brexit divorce deal.
  • The European Commission's president, Jean-Claude Juncker, said "sufficient progress" had been made in talks.
  • Juncker will now recommend that talks can progress to Britain's future relationship with the European Union.
  • Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party welcomed "substantial changes" to the deal, but the party remains concerned about proposals for the Irish border.

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May has agreed to the text of a Brexit divorce deal after all-night talks with the European Commission's president, Jean-Claude Juncker; Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party; and the Irish government.
May made a series of calls to the Irish taoiseach, or prime minister, Leo Varadkar, and the leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster, before finally agreeing on a compromise position on the Northern Ireland border.
She then travelled with Brexit Secretary David Davis to Brussels for early-morning talks with the commission before the deal was made and published by the European Union.
"I believe we have now made the breakthrough we needed," Juncker said in a joint press conference with May, saying "sufficient progress" had been made on Northern Ireland, Britain's divorce deal, and EU citizens to allow the next stage of talks on Britain's future relationship with the EU to begin.
He said May had negotiated in a "generous" manner and made "significant commitments" on all three of the main issues that were up for negotiation.
He added that he would "always be sad" about Brexit but said "we must now start looking to the future."
May said the talks had been "difficult" for both sides.
"Getting to this point has required give-and-take on both sides," May said.
She added: "I very much welcome the prospect of moving ahead to the next phase to talk about trade and security and to discuss the positive and ambitious future relationship that is in all of our interests."
May said there would be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland or one between the mainland UK and Northern Ireland and said she believed negotiators had secured an agreement on this.
The text of the deal says, however, that if there is no formal Brexit deal, the UK will ensure that "no regulatory barriers" will be created between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, leaving the door open for continued alignment with the single market.
An agreement had been expected earlier in the week but was effectively vetoed by the DUP after the original version of the text suggested there would be continued "regulatory alignment" between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Speaking with Sky News, Foster said "six substantive changes" had been added to the original text.
She added, however, that there were "still matters we would have like to have seen clarified."
"We ran out of time, essentially," she said.
Foster said she had advised May against going ahead with the deal as written.
"We cautioned the prime minister about proceeding with this agreement in its present form given the issues which still need to be resolved and the views expressed to us by many of her own party colleagues. However, it was ultimately a matter for the prime minister to decide"
Varadkar said he was "satisfied that sufficient progress has been made," adding "this is not the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning."
The EU Council will meet Thursday and Friday next week to formally agree to the deal made between May and the commission.
The European Council's president, Donald Tusk, said the next phase of talks would concentrate on arrangements for a Brexit transition deal between the UK and the EU, expected to last about two years. He said Britain would continue to follow the rules and laws of the EU during that period but would have no say over them.

Watch Tusk: The next phase of talks will be even harder

Business groups welcomed the announcement.
"The breakthrough in Brussels shows that where there is a will, there is a way," the CBI's deputy director-general, Josh Hardie, said.
"Firms have been watching negotiations closely, and today's announcement will lift spirits in the run-up to Christmas. Sufficient progress is a present they've spent months waiting for."

What has been agreed?

Theresa May and Claude JunckerReuters
Divorce bill
There is no precise figure in the agreement for how much Britain will pay into the EU after Brexit. But there is a commitment to pay all of the UK's financial commitments made during its time as a member, which is expected to amount to about £50 billion, or $67 billion. This means Britain will continue to pay large sums into EU budgets for years to come.
EU citizens
Britain has agreed to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK while paying "due regard" to rulings of the European Court of Justice. This will prove highly controversial with some Brexit-supporting members of the UK government who had believed that Britain would be free from the influence of European courts after Brexit.
Northern Ireland
Britain has insisted that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. To achieve this, May is aiming for a new Irish border deal with the EU. In the absence of securing such a deal, the text says, the UK will "maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement." This opens the door for there being continued "regulatory alignment" between the UK and the single market after Brexit. This will prove highly controversial with many Conservative MPs and could hamper Britain's ability to achieve future trade deals with the rest of the world.

Goldman Sachs will clear bitcoin futures for some of its clients

Goldman Sachs will clear bitcoin futures for some of its clients

  • Goldman Sachs will clear bitcoin trading for some clients on a case-by-case basis, according to a person familiar with the plans.
  • The derivatives contracts are set to go live on the Cboe Futures Exchange on Sunday. 
  • Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein said last week that bitcoin "doesn't feel like a store of value" or a currency.
  • Bitcoin is up more than 1,500% this year. 

Goldman Sachs will clear bitcoin futures trading for some of its clients, according to a person familiar with the plans.
The derivatives, which allow traders to bet on the cryptocurrency's price without buying the underlying asset, will be offered by the Cboe Futures Exchange from Sunday. The CME Group will launch its own version of the product later in December. 
Goldman is still exploring whether to play a role in other aspects of cryptocurrencies such as market making, the person said. Goldman will decide who gets to trade bitcoin futures on a case-by-case basis, the person said. 
Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein said last week that it was too early for the firm to have a bitcoin strategy. "Something that moves up and down 20 percent in a day doesn’t feel like a currency, doesn’t feel like a store of value,” Blankfein told Bloomberg TV.
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported on Goldman's plans, adding that Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, and the Royal Bank of Canada are telling customers that they won't have access when futures trading goes live.  
Bitcoin has had a wild year, culminating in its biggest thousand-dollar moves ever this week based on round numbers. It gained over $4,000 over the past two days, and rose above $16,000 per dollar on Thursday. 
Get the latest Bitcoin price here.>>

The GOP tax bill could add billions to Amazon, Facebook and Google’s bottom lines

The GOP tax bill could add billions to Amazon, Facebook and Google’s bottom lines

jeff bezosEvan Vucci/AP
  • Cowen estimates that Amazon, Google and Facebook will save a combined $4.5 billion on taxes in 2018 thanks to the GOP tax bill.
  • They should also benefit from the bill's capex expensing provision.

The GOP tax bill has long been expected to boost corporate profits. Now we know just how much the biggest tech companies in the US stand to save — and what that could mean for their bottom lines.
Google will save $2.28 billion in 2018, while Facebook will see $1.56 billion in savings and Amazon will enjoy a $723 million break, according to estimates from Cowen senior research analyst John Blackledge.
The firm forecasts those savings will translate to big earnings-per-share (EPS) boosts for each company, with Amazon the big winner, boasting an expected upside of 24%. Google and Facebook will both get an EPS bump of 8%, Cowen said.
Screen Shot 2017 12 07 at 11.02.43 AMCowen's summary of GOP tax reform implications on three mega-cap tech companies. Cowen
For context, the Cowen's analysis is based on three assumptions: (1) the US corporate tax rate goes to 22% from 35% on January 1, 2018, (2) there are no changes to international taxes, and (3) there's no impact from other aspects of the tax bill.
But the good news for the mega-cap tech triumvirate doesn't end there. Cowen sees Google, Facebook and Amazon also benefiting from the proposed capital expenditure expensing provision in the GOP tax bill. The firm estimates that the companies will spend a combined $234 billion on capex from 2018 to 2022, noting that Facebook has said it plans to double reinvestment in 2018.
So there you have it — three of the hottest tech firms in the US look poised to keep adding to their dominance, all thanks to the GOP tax bill. Bet against them at your own peril.
Get the latest Google stock price here.

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