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Facebook's Libra loses backers; California CUs call off proposed merger

Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc., Stripe Inc., and eBay Inc. will step out of Facebook Inc.'s digital coin project, Libra, which is set to launch in 2020. The project's major backers back out just a week after PayPal Holdings Inc. left.

Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren said Fed officials can "be patient" while assessing incoming U.S. economic data, stressing Oct. 11 that he sees no need for further interest rate cuts. Rosengren told an audience at a University of Wisconsin-Madison economic symposium that the Fed's policy stance is "already accommodative" after the two rate cuts in July and September.

Certain traders of JPMorgan Chase & Co. are now under scrutiny from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority over alleged manipulation of precious metals markets, Reuters reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The regulator has already requested documents and other information from the New York-based bank, although the exact scope of its review was unclear. The U.S. Department of Justice has already charged one former and two current JPMorgan employees with manipulating the markets for precious metals futures contracts.

Investment firm Blackstone Group Inc. was in talks to acquire a stake in its U.S.-based peer Citadel LLC, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources. Blackstone was said to be eyeing an investment in Citadel's hedge-fund arm and securities trading unit, with the hedge fund reportedly worth anywhere from $5 billion to $7 billion. A Blackstone spokeswoman, however, told the news outlet the company is not in deal talks with Citadel.

Financial industry messaging platform Symphony is not keen on going public yet, not until it has proven a predictable business model and broken even, perhaps, sometime in 2021, CEO David Gurle told the Financial Times. Gurle said Symphony's shareholders are in no hurry to cash out. The company is now valued at $1.4 billion after its latest funding round and has 450,000 subscribers. Its investors are led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and include Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., HSBC, Standard Chartered, MUFG and BlackRock Inc.

In California, Ventura County CU and LA Financial FCU have called off their proposed merger. The talks ended amicably and no changes are anticipated at either credit union as a result of the decision.

In a latest blow to the cryptocurrency sector, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission secured a restraining order to halt Telegram Group Inc.'s planned U.S. digital token offering of more than $1.7 billion. The SEC said Oct. 11 that Telegram and its unit TON Issuer Inc. violated U.S. securities laws by allegedly selling about 2.9 billion digital tokens, or "grams," with unregistered securities. However, in a letter to its token investors, Telegram said it has tried to get the SEC's feedback about its TON blockchain project for the past 18 months, The Block reports.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the SEC reminded firms dealing in digital assets of their obligations to thwart money laundering and to counter the financing of terrorism under the Bank Secrecy Act.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: China to scrap foreign ownership caps in 2020; Australia to probe big 4 banks

Europe: Barclays execs' 'misleading audit trail'; Deutsche to end Malta relationships

Middle East & Africa: Standard Bank, Stanlib merge index-tracking arms; Equity Bank taking over loans

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Margin pressure, slow loan growth expected for Q3 community bank earnings: Squeezed net interest margins and weak loan growth are set to take center stage as community banks begin to report third-quarter earnings.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng advanced 0.81% to 26,521.85.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 slipped 0.54% to 7,208.26, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.79% to 1,085.52.

On the macro front

No notable reports are due out today.

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

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