Amazon ends feud with Visa over payment fees

Good morning.

We start the day with a bullish update from Reckitt Benckiser, which appears to be shrugging off the inflation fears hitting its rivals.

The consumer goods group said it’s targeting higher profit margins in 2022 even though costs are rising at an “unprecedented” level. It’s set to lift prices for customers to achieve this.

The Dettol maker reported higher revenue in the final quarter of last year thanks to stronger demand for its cold and flu products.

5 things to start your day 

1) Former Kazakh dictator controlled £6bn empire from Britain  A UK entity was at the centre of the financial interests of a key ally of Vladimir Putin 

2) Sky to hike broadband and TV bills for millions of customers  Households face increases of up to £43 a year amid cost of living crisis 

3) Sir Nick Clegg promoted to tackle Facebook’s mounting problems  The former deputy prime minister will become president of global affairs at Meta

4) EU says it’s ready if Russia ‘weaponises’ gas supplies  Ursula von der Leyen says other countries agree to step up exports to the bloc

5) Google launches ad blocking software on Android phones in privacy crackdown  The software will limit the data that can be sent to third parties

What happened overnight 

Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Thursday after Federal Reserve policymakers indicated they are leaning towards more decisive action on inflation but set no firm targets.

Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced while Tokyo declined. Oil prices, which have been volatile due to anxiety over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, fell by nearly $2 per barrel.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3pc to 3,474.98 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.3pc to 24,793.12. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.2pc to 27,395.85 after January exports rose by a weaker-than-expected 9.6pc over a year earlier.

The Kospi in Seoul advanced 1.4pc after the government reported the economy added 1.1 million jobs in January and the unemployment rate edged lower.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was 0.5pc higher at 7,323.80. New Zealand and Singapore rose while Jakarta retreated.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 4,475.01. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained slipped 0.2pc to 34,934.27 the Nasdaq composite fell 0.1pc to 14,124.09.

Coming up today

  • Corporate: Reckitt Benckiser, Standard Chartered, Moneysupermarket (Full-year results); Aveva, Safestore (Trading update)
  • Economics: Economic bulletin (EU), building permits (US), housing starts (US), jobless claims (US), Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey (US)