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Live updates: AstraZeneca buys US biotech CinCor in $1.8 deal




Amid the economic gloom and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, there are signs of a return to normalcy.

The Golden Globes are back this week at their home in Los Angeles, after boycotts over a lack of diversity led to the event being canceled last year. Looking further ahead, world leaders, business leaders and economic thinkers will begin arriving in the Swiss resort of Davos this Sunday for the World Economic Forum the following week.

The next seven days also see the kick-off for the official start of the fourth-quarter earnings season, beginning with Wall Street banks and UK retailers. This will of course remind us that we are far from back to normal for the global economy — more details below.

For Britain, normalcy at the moment means widespread industrial action. Ambulance workers and driving instructors are set to walk out further this week, as strike notices shut down teachers̵[ads1]7; unions in England and Wales.

Normalcy has been restored at least in the US Congress with the vote to install Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Attention can now focus on the economic challenges this year will bring – more on the data announcements coming this week below.

A rocket containing a payload of small satellites sits under the wing of 'Cosmic Girl', a converted Boeing 747, at Cornwall Spaceport in Newquay

A rocket containing a payload of small satellites sits under the wing of ‘Cosmic Girl’, a converted Boeing 747, at Cornwall Spaceport in Newquay © Tim Hepher/Reuters

Can things look up? Yes, if you are in Cornwall. Monday promises to be a historic day for the British county – at least according to Virgin Orbit – with the first space satellite launch from mainland Britain.

It might be better described as a bit of classic British eccentricity as the nine satellites will be launched into orbit using a rocket launched from a repurposed Boeing 747, due to take off from Newquay Airport on Monday night. It certainly shows some degree of creativity and should at least lift British spirits a little.

Companies

Who likes interest rate increases? Banks, that’s who. This will be made clear this week when several of Wall Street’s biggest lenders report fourth-quarter numbers on Friday.

These companies have cashed in on Fed tightening by raising interest rates on loans more than deposits. Analysts forecast that JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will report collective net interest income for the final three months of 2022 of nearly $60 billion, up 30 percent year over year, according to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg. The concern is that this income-generating part cannot last and that net interest margins have reached a peak.

Line diagram of Net interest income in billions of dollars shows a sharp increase in large US banks' income from lending

On the flip side of rate hikes is the issue of high inflation, which brings me to the second topic on the business calendar this week, traders. Increased checkout prices may seem like a good thing for retailers. Not when inflation hits double digits, it isn’t.

We’ll find out exactly how bad it has been over the Christmas period – or whether watching the World Cup was any sort of catch-up – through a series of trading updates from UK high street and online brands this week.

Consumer spending may of course be better than expected, as Next showed last week. Games Workshop, which reports its first half on Tuesday, is generating a lot of excitement (and not just among Dungeons and Dragons-obsessed teenagers) about growth opportunities due to a surge in role-playing games during the pandemic. Investor expectations (as well as teenagers) have been raised further by the fantasy game maker’s recent Amazon TV and movie deal.

Economic data

A shopper carries a Zara bag in London's Regent Street

A shopper carries a Zara bag in London’s Regent Street. The British Retail Consortium updates its monthly sales survey on Tuesday © Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

Expect a range of CPI and other inflation data over the coming days from the US, China, Japan, Australia, Brazil and Mexico.

The British Retail Consortium updates its monthly UK sales survey on Tuesday, while the Office for National Statistics on Friday publishes the latest monthly gross domestic product estimate which gives a sense of where the country stands in terms of recession.

Monetary policy this week comes from the Bank of Korea, which is expected to raise its base rate another 25 basis points to 3.50 percent on Friday.



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