Nestle boosts M&A activity

Nestle shed 1.42% on Wednesday to settle at 83.20 Swiss franc’s in what turned out to be a busy day for the company. Firstly, according to new reports, Nestle is set to choose a buyer for its US chocolate business by the end of the week. As it stands, Italy’s Ferrero is the favorite for the deal, mainly due to its improved offer which is believed to be in the region of $2.5bn. Secondly, reports also surfaced which indicate Nestle may be the front-runner for Merck’s consumer health unit. Nestle has apparently submitted the highest offer, and Merck will make a final decision during the first quarter of 2018.

In currencies, the rand weakened sharply against the dollar on Wednesday, but managed to erase some of its losses overnight. After a previous close of R12.34/$ on Tuesday, the local currency touched a high of R12.34/$ at 09:10. However, by 12:50, the rand slumped to a low of R12.526/$, negatively affected by reports the ANC’s NEC would not be discussing the removal of President Jacob Zuma at its upcoming meeting. By 17:00, the local currency had recovered to R12.44/$, before strengthening to just below R12.43/$ this morning.

In Asia, markets are on the back foot, as the New Year rally petered out. This was partly due to Tuesday’s drop in global markets and concerns over US President Donald Trump’s protectionist stance on trade. The Australian ASX led the region’s declines, losing 0.65% to 6,165.70 index points. The Japanese Nikkei fell 0.57%, on track to extend yesterday’s 0.26% decline. Mainland markets are only marginally lower, with the Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng dropping 0.15% and 0.12% respectively.

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