Opening Bell: €200m extra fiscal space, AIB redundancies, Twitter stock price plunge

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The "fiscal space" available to the Government in next week's budget has increased by €200 million, according to the Irish Times.

The additional funds are understood to have been found through "savings", freeing Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe up to expand their spending beyond the planned Universal Social Charge (USC) cuts, priced at €330m.

An estimated €1.2 billion package is expected to be unveiled next Tuesday.

Today is the last day of business for the Government ahead of Budget 2017.

A number of last-minute contacts are still being made between ministers and representatives following the final cabinet meeting to discuss how spending will be divided over the coming year.

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AIB is set to reduce their workforce by up to 150 as long-serving staff leave as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme.

The redundancies will comes across the bank's retail and business network and will only be applicable to staff of more than 15 years, the Irish Examiner reports.

It is the first time AIB has had voluntary redundancies in its "local markets" – the branch and business banking network – since 2013.

Staff will be entitled to at least four weeks' pay per year of service.

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Sterling fell to a 31-year low overnight, triggered by a wave of mysterious selling as fears grow over a "hard" Brexit. 

The pound plunged 10% in a matter of seconds during thin early Asian trading on Thursday, Reuters reports.

While it bounced back to levels of around $1.25, it was still down 1.5% on the day.

Sterling is on track for a weekly loss of 4.2%.

French President François Hollande said yesterday that the European Union needed to be firm with Britain, as it appeared British Prime Minister Theresa May had opted for a tougher European exit.

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Twitter shares took a heavy hit on Thursday, following reports that neither Google nor Disney would be in the running for the for-sale social network and Apple was unlikely to enter the race.

Shares fell as much as 19.2% to $20.10 (€18), putting the company's value at approximately $14.2bn.

According to Recode, Salesforce.com is now the only potential buyer left, though it has not confirmed its intentions as yet.

Twitter has requesting binding acquisition bids within the next two weeks, and hope to have a sale wrapped up before the end of October.