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Security flaw exposed Google+ users’ information

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European stocks fell Monday as fears a trade war could have a bigger impact than expected on China. The latter added to concerns that rising U.S. interest rates are gradually making stock markets less attractive for investors. The pan-European Stoxx 600 Europe dropped 1.1% to 372.12. The UK’s FTSE 100 shed 0.9% to 7,251.44, while France’s CAC 40 fell 1.2% to 5,299.50. Germany’s DAX 30 slid 1% to 11,994.39.

US stocks closed mostly lower, as fears over rapidly rising rates continued to weigh on sentiment. The S&P 500 fell to 2,884.43, while the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.7% to 7,735.95. The Dow Jones Industrial Average bounced back from earlier losses and rose 0.2% to 26,486.78.

The bond market was closed in observance of Columbus Day.

Google+ shutting down after users’ data is exposed

Google is shutting down much of its social network, Google+, after user data was left exposed. It said a bug in its software meant information that people believed was private had been accessible by third parties. Google said up to 500,000 users had been affected. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the company knew about the issue in March but did not disclose it. In a statement, the firm said the issue was not serious enough to inform the public.

Google+ was launched in 2011, quickly becoming known as a failed attempt to compete with Facebook. Now, after several years of speculation that it was going to be shut down, Google is bringing Google+ for consumers to an end.

Google said it would continue to offer private Google+ powered networks for businesses currently using the software. In the past, the company had been reluctant to share data on how often Google+ was used, but now, facing the fall out of exposed data, the firm appears keen to play down its importance. Shares in Google’s parent company Alphabet fell by 1.23%.

Aviva chief executive Mark Wilson in surprise departure

Aviva, Britain’s biggest insurance company, has announced the surprise departure of chief executive Mark Wilson, saying it was "time for new leadership to take the group to the next phase of its development". Mr. Wilson was appointed in January 2013 and since then, the company’s financial performance has significantly improved. He will stay with the group until April to help with the transition.

Aviva said its aims under Mr. Wilson’s leadership had been achieved, while he said he left it in a "strong position". The company said it would immediately start looking for Mr. Wilson’s successor and that non-executive chairman Sir Adrian Montague would assume executive responsibilities in the meantime.

Sir Adrian said: "Mark leaves the group in a far stronger state than when he joined. “There is much further to go in accelerating our strategic development and enhancing shareholder value. We have agreed with Mark this is the right time for a new leader to ensure Aviva delivers to its full potential.

"Mr. Wilson said the company was in "poor health" when he joined it and added: "I am happy I leave the company in a strong position from which it can thrive."

Aviva’s share price rose by 2% in early trading after the news of Mr. Wilson’s departure was revealed.

The Calamatta Cuschieri Traders Blog is available daily on CC WebTrader. Other market coverage including coverage of the International Bond Markets is also available.

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