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U.S. regulator sues Musk for fraud, seeks to remove him from Tesla

By Jonathan Stempel and Alexandria Sage

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk on Thursday of fraud and sought to remove him from his role in charge of the electric car company, saying he made a series of “false and misleading” tweets about potentially taking Tesla private last month.

Musk, 47, is the public face of Tesla and losing him would be a big blow for the money-losing car maker which has a market value of more than $50 billion, chiefly because of investors’ belief in Musk’s leadership.

Tesla shares tumbled 12 percent in after-hours trading.

The SEC lawsuit comes as Tesla has been struggling to deliver its new Model 3 sedan, which is key to the company’s future profitability, after a long series of production issues and delays.


Oil steady as Saudi supply balances Iran sanctions

By Christopher Johnson

Oil prices steadied on Friday as U.S. sanctions on Tehran squeezed Iranian crude exports, tightening supply even as other key exporters increased production.

U.S. sanctions on Iran, the third-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, kick in on Nov. 4, as Washington asks buyers of Iranian oil to cut imports to zero to force Tehran to negotiate a new nuclear agreement and to curb its influence in the Middle East.

Other OPEC countries have been increasing production in recent months but global inventories have been falling as supply tightens, analysts say.

Saudi Arabia is expected to add extra oil to the market over the next couple of months to offset the drop in Iranian production.

Two sources familiar with OPEC policy told Reuters Saudi Arabia and other producers had discussed a possible production increase of about 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) among OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

However, ANZ said in a note on Friday that major suppliers were unlikely to offset losses due to the sanctions estimated at 1.5 million bpd.


Italy budget worries hit European markets

By Ritvik Carvalho

Italy’s government bonds, European stock markets and the euro were hit hard on Friday after Rome agreed to set a higher than expected budget deficit target that could put it on a collision course with Brussels.

The Italian government on Thursday targeted a budget deficit of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the next three years, marking a victory for party chiefs over economy minister Giovanni Tria, an unaffiliated technocrat.

The deficit, though within the prescribed EU limit of 3 percent of GDP, is a concern for investors who fear the anti-establishment government is not committed to tackling its huge debt load. Italy’s debt-to-GDP ratio stands at about 130 percent, the highest in the euro zone behind Greece.

European shares fell 0.8 percent, with shares in Italian banks – whose big sovereign bond portfolios make them sensitive to political risk – bearing the brunt of selling pressure.

The euro fell to an 11-day low of $1.1615 after suffering its worst one-day decline in seven weeks on Thursday.


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