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Europe’s political scene continues to heat up. With the Dutch election now just days away and the official Brexit launch approaching, traders are in a holding pattern. But even steadfast investors were unsettled by the unexpected (though not entirely surprising) call this morning by Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon for a second independence referendum in late 2018 or early 2019. Scotland voted strongly against Brexit.— Andy Reinhardt
What should we expect from markets when Brexit kicks off? Traders have been waiting for this moment since June, when Brits voted to leave the European Union. But there is little consensus on how markets will react when Prime Minister Theresa May formally invokes Article 50. Trying to get ahead of events, a group of British and American banks are trying to foster closer ties.
No shortage of ambition. A former Tesla executive is challenging his ex-boss, Elon Musk, head to head. Peter Carlsson is trying to raise $4.2 billion to build a huge factory in Sweden that he says could cut the cost of lithium-ion batteries in half. Carlsson thinks there will be applications in automobiles and home energy storage. It’s a typically bold move from Sweden, which remains one of the most open and globalized economies in the world.
The odd couple. The first meeting between Donald Trump and Angela Merkel tomorrow at the White House will test the power dynamic between the West’s two pre-eminent leaders, one struggling for credibility on the world stage while the other fights for political survival at home.
Pitting the capital against the countryside. Populist French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is taking aim at the cost of a $32 billion plan to build more transport in the Paris region and improve life in its troubled housing projects. Le Pen’s right-wing party is focusing much of its energy on rural France.
On the move. Semiconductor giant Intel will buy Jerusalem-based startup Mobileye for about $15 billion to accelerate its push into chips for self-driving cars. The Israeli company was an early leader in developing technology for autonomous vehicles.
Movie theaters in Tehran have started showing “Battle of the Persian Gulf II,” a feature-length animation depicting an imagined battle between Iranian and U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf. The 88-minute movie took more than four years to make. In a climactic face-off at sea, an Iranian commander orders his forces to open fire on a much larger U.S. fleet, obliterating it with a barrage of rockets.