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November 25, Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day

HONG KONG, CHINA - NOVEMBER 25: Local residents celebrate as Junius Ho Kwan-yiu loses in District Council Elections, outside a polling station on November 25, 2019 in Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong held its district council election on Sunday as anti-government protests continue into its sixth month with demands for an independent inquiry into police brutality, the retraction of the word "riot" to describe the rallies, and genuine universal suffrage. (Photo by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)

Pro-democracy candidates set to take the majority in Hong Kong elections, China to raise intellectual property violation penalties as trade talks grind on, and a mixed start to Thanksgiving week for markets in Asia. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Hong Kong Elections

A record number of Hongkongers cast ballots in district council elections Sunday, seizing the first opportunity to vote after months of increasingly violent protests calling for greater democracy. Pro-democracy candidates made huge gains, according to the South China Morning Post, while RTHK said the early count suggested a “landslide” win for the group. The results of the polls will have knock-on effects on the Legislative Council elections next year, which draw candidates from among successful district councillors. The vote unfolded peacefully despite concerns it could be delayed or disrupted by violence following unrest in the lead up. Results are expected early Monday.

Penalties

China said it will raise penalties on violations of intellectual property rights in an attempt to address one of the sticking points in trade talks with the U.S. The country will also look into lowering the threshold for criminal punishment for those who steal IP, according to guidelines issued by the government on Sunday. The U.S. wants China to commit to cracking down on IP theft and stop forcing U.S. companies to hand over their commercial secrets as a condition of doing business there.

Mixed Start

Stocks in Asia were set for a mixed start to the trading week as investors monitored the latest on U.S.-China trade. Currencies saw muted moves in early trading. Futures edged up on equities in Japan and Australia, while Hong Kong contracts ticked lower. The pound advanced, reversing some of its decline from Friday. The S&P 500 nudged up Friday after President Donald Trump said he was “very close” to a trade pact with China. On the docket this week: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks on Monday;  U.S. consumer spending data is due Wednesday, along with jobless claims and durable goods, and the U.S. celebrates Thanksgiving on Thursday, when equity and bond markets will be shut. In Asia,  Alibaba starts trading in Hong Kong on Tuesday, and the Bank of Korea sets policy on Friday.

Novartis, Medicines Deal

Novartis AG agreed to buy Medicines Co. for an equity value of about $6.8 billion, snapping up a promising cholesterol drug and adding to a string of acquisitions for Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan. Medicines Co. shareholders will get $85 a share, Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis said in a statement Sunday. That’s a 45% premium to the closing price on Nov. 18, before Bloomberg reported the two companies were in talks. Novartis’s CEO has relied on acquisitions to sharpen the pharma giant’s focus on cutting-edge drugs for cancer, rare diseases and other illnesses.

Sweetened Deal

LVMH is close to a deal to buy Tiffany & Co., the fabled U.S. jeweler, for more than $16 billion as it seeks to clinch what would be Chairman Bernard Arnault’s biggest-ever takeover. The French luxury conglomerate’s new proposal — at $135 a share — is 12.5% above the initial $120-a-share bid, according to people familiar with the matter. Both companies’ boards were meeting Sunday to approve the latest offer and an agreement could be announced as soon as Monday, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private.

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