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Manulife slams short seller; LendingTree buys insurance website; JLT partner out

Shares in Manulife Financial Corp. fell 2.8% in Toronto yesterday and by 2.4% in Hong Kong trading today after it rejected a short seller's statements that the company could lose billions of dollars if it loses a lawsuit concerning a universal life policy issued in the 1990s.

John Lloyd, one of the founding partners of Lloyd Thompson Group, is leaving Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group PLC after 38 years, Re-insurance reported. JLT Specialty Global CEO Lucy Clarke confirmed Lloyd's decision, which comes after Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc.'s £4.3 billion deal to acquire JLT.

LendingTree Inc. agreed to buy insurance comparison marketplace LLC for $370.2 million.

Austin, Texas-based National Western Life Insurance Co., a unit of National Western Life Group Inc., agreed to acquire Kansas City, Mo.-based Ozark National Life Insurance Co. (MO) and N.I.S. Financial Services Inc., both wholly owned subsidiaries of CNS Corp.

Typhoon Kong-Rey is expected to hit South Korea late tonight and into tomorrow before moving toward Japan, according to Accuweather. It could become the ninth tropical storm and eighth typhoon to make landfall in mainland Japan this year, just short of the single-year record of 10 typhoons.

Subsidiaries of Assured Guaranty Ltd., Syncora Holdings Ltd. and MBIA Inc. filed new motions to lift a court-ordered stay that would allow them to attempt to enforce their rights to place Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority into receivership.

Navigators Group Inc. shareholders will vote on the company's proposed acquisition by The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. at a special meeting scheduled for Nov. 16.

Australia's Suncorp Group Ltd. is planning to conduct an extraordinary general meeting Dec. 13 for shareholders to vote on a pro rata return of capital and share consolidation in connection with the sale of the company's Australian life insurance business to TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia Pty Ltd. for approximately A$725 million.

Life Insurance Corp. of India made an open offer to equity shareholders to purchase a 26% stake in IDBI Bank Ltd. for a total price of 126.02 billion rupees, or 61.73 rupees per share.

Munich Re Co.'s board authorized the repurchase of up to 11 million of the company's shares for a maximum total purchase price of €1 billion.

Zurich-based catastrophe insurance data provider Perils AG said its final loss estimate for extratropical Cyclone Xavier, which primarily affected Germany on Oct. 5, 2017, stands at €324 million.

And Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Ltd. launched parametric haze insurance for Singapore businesses after the city-state was struck by two extreme haze events in recent years that caused total economic losses of around US$1.3 billion, Artemis reported.

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California insurance regulator airs high hopes for insuring cannabis: Though some insurers are hesitant, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is pushing for coverage of cannabis-related businesses in the Golden State.

Legal battles forestall liquidations of 3 insurers: Though state regulators usually succeed in obtaining consent from financially ailing insurance companies for the initiation of receivership proceedings, several ongoing cases serve as a reminder that the process is not always unopposed.

Roche hemophilia drug gets FDA nod; biotech leaders call for women in top roles: The U.S. regulator approved Hemlibra to treat hemophilia A in patients who have developed a resistance to a certain therapy, and the heads of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization told their member companies to put more women in top positions.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Luxembourg, Australia sign fintech deal; Moody's downgrades Suruga Bank ratings

Europe: Danish FSA asks Danske to bolster capital; court to probe CaixaBank/BPI deal

Middle East & Africa: Saudi lenders finalize merger deal; Sudan to set daily exchange rate

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng slipped 0.19% to 26,572.57, and the Nikkei 225 declined 0.80% to 23,783.72.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.49% to 7,382.69, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.31% to 1,044.33.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, laying out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

On the macro front

The employment situation report, the international trade report, the consumer credit report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report are due out today.

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