All eyes are on Unilever this morning, which has released its first set of results since that disastrous £50bn for GSK’s consumer health division.
The main theme is one of input costs, which Unilever predicts will increase by €2bn in the first half of the year and €1.5bn in the second half. As a result, it’s set to raise prices for consumers again.
The Marmite maker will be happy with its 2021 figures, however. Underlying sales rose 4.5pc, thanks largely to increased prices.
In a further bid to keep shareholders happy, Unilever said it’s launching a €4bn share buyback programme and ruled out any major acquisitions in the short term.
5 things to start your day
1) Ageing population will turn Britain’s economy into Germany’s Retirement of baby boomers will cost UK an extra £76bn a year
2) Bank of England must raise rates slowly, top official says Huw Pill says sharp increases to interest rates risk harming economy, despite inflation threat
3) Klarna approaches $60bn valuation with new funding round ‘Buy now, pay later’ company seeks new cash as Downing Street pushes for London flotation
4) Energy ‘surge pricing’ to be offered to millions of households Three of Britain’s biggest suppliers back plans to charge more at peak times
5) Gym chain backed by Rishi Sunak’s wife to call in administrators Digme Fitness on verge of collapse as remote workers ditch city centre sites
What happened overnight
Asian shares mostly rose on Thursday as investors tried to gauge US inflation, tensions between Russia and Ukraine and the impact of the pandemic.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.4pc to 27,680.91. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.1pc to 7,275.70. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.1pc to 2,771.88. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged down 0.1pc to 24,803.59, while the Shanghai Composite was little changed at 3,480.49.
Coming up today
- Corporate: AstraZeneca, Beazley, Relx, Unilever, MJ Gleeson (Full-year results); Ashmore, Redrow, Syncona (Interims); Watches of Switzerland (Trading update)
- Economics: GDP (UK), RICS house price balance (UK), consumer price index (US), jobless claims (US), monthly budget statement (US)