Live news: Hong Kong sees record number of Covid-19 cases as pressure mounts on healthcare
This week is rich in commemorations.
It begins with the anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, signed 30 years ago on Monday by the 12 member states of what had been the European Community. It created the EU and laid the foundations for monetary union, while fueling the worries of those who oppose the pursuit of political union, arguably sowing the seeds of Brexit. Expect (more) soul-searching this week.
Another kind of political change happened in Iran this week in 1979, when the Islamic Revolution ended the shah’s monarchy and ushered in rule by the clerics. The country’s leaders will no doubt return to its importance, but the most pressing challenge for Tehran is economic recovery in the face of US sanctions, although progress is being made.
There has been much debate over the UK government’s claims about the strength of the pandemic recovery. Much attention will be paid to the country’s quarterly and monthly GDP estimates, released on Friday.
Elsewhere, there will be data on US inflation and production and trade figures from Germany. Additionally, rate hikes are expected in Mexico and Russia, and the EU will update its economic forecasts.
We are deep into earnings season. This week it’s the turn of consumer goods companies, drug makers and automakers.
Unilever Thursday’s annual results will come under scrutiny after the unpopular bid to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer healthcare division and news that activist fund Trian Partners – co-founded by Nelson Peltz – has acquired a stake. As mayonnaise maker Hellmann’s plans a reorganization that will eliminate ice cream from the rest of its food business, investors will want to know whether it will sell one or both food divisions and how it plans to improve performance in the rest of the food business. portfolio – as well as if the company’s chief executive, chief financial officer and chairman can all survive the current GSK debacle.
Results of Coca Cola and PepsiCo will reveal whether a resurgence in Covid-19 cases around the world drove down demand for soda in the December quarter. New lockdown measures in China have plagued restaurant chains McDonald’s and Starbucks, revenue showed, while supply chain costs, including delays from Canada, continued to rise. Still, analysts expect Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to post higher revenue compared to the same quarter in 2020.
Japanese automakers Nissan and Honda will unveil their P&Ls this week. But investors will be watching to see if Toyota, the world’s top car seller in 2021, can ignore the impact of chip shortages in the coming months after it announced in January that a supply problem would force it to cut production for February – this notes Lex provides an explanation of the consequences. In terms of production, this means Toyota will likely miss its production target of 9 million vehicles for the fiscal year ending in March.