Opening Bell: Services exports growth falls, Bayer eyes record-breaking deal, Lloyd's of... Dublin?

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Lloyd's of London could move some of its staff to Dublin if the UK loses its access to the Single European Market, the Irish Independent reports.

The special insurance market has confirmed that it is looking to set up "onshore" businesses post-Brexit that would include the establishment of branches in European member states.

All of its European business, which accounts for approximately 11% of its gross written premiums, is currently rated from its London headquarters.

While it has emphasised that its head office would remain in London, Ireland hasn't been ruled out as a potential destination for one of the "onshore" branches.

Lloyd's chairman John Nelson said on Monday:

"We are not simply Lloyd's of London, we are Lloyd's. We are local to the territories and cities we now operate in."

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Ireland's services exports growth fell to a five-month low in August.

The decline came as a result of fewer orders from the UK due to the weakened sterling, according to the latest Purchasing Managers' Index for the sector.

Expansion in business was also at its weakest for around two and a half years.

Despite this, activity overall was up, with business sentiment improving for the second month in a row.

Half of all survey respondents predicted a rise in activity in the second half of the year.

Investec economist Philip O'Sullivan said:

"While the improvement in the headline PMI is welcome, we note a further moderation (for a third successive month) in new business, with this index now expanding at its weakest pace since February 2014.

"The rate of expansion in the new export business index tumbled to a five-month low, with some respondents reporting lower new orders from the UK, in part due to the strength of the euro compared with sterling following the result of the UK's referendum on EU membership."

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The building of new housing is up 17% year-on-year, with 14,000 housing units set to be completed by the end of 2016.

New housing commencements are also up 33%, according to the latest edition of Property Watch.

Ibec group Property Industry Ireland (PII) is urging the Government to ensure Budget 2017 builds on the positive work of the Housing Action Plan.

Tom Phillips, chairman of the PII, commented:

"We need to be building 25,000 houses at least per annum but we're only building about 14,000. And of those 14000, approximately 40% are one-off houses. So we need to have an ambitious Budget that matches the ambition of the Action Plan."

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German pharma giant Bayer is now willing to pay more than $65 billion for Monsanto Co, with the former confirming late on Monday that negotiations had advanced.

The gap in price expectations between Bayer and the world's largest seed company has also narrowed significantly. Potential divestitures in case of antitrust scrutiny and other important terms still have to be agreed upon.

In a statement, Bayer said it was prepared to offer $127.50 per share, up from a previous offer of $125 per share.

The German newspaper Rheinische Post has reported that an offer of $130 per share may be necessary to seal the deal in a "swift and friendly way."

The bid was already the larget all-cash proposed takeover on record, as Bayer looks to establish itself as the top dog in the fast-consolidating farm supplies industry