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We start the day with a bullish update from Reckitt Benckiser, who seems to ignore the inflation fears that are hitting his rivals.

The consumer goods group said it was aiming for higher profit margins in 2022, even as costs rise to an “unprecedented” level. There are plans to raise prices for customers to achieve this.

Manufacturer Dettol reported an increase in revenue in the final quarter of last year on stronger demand for its cold and flu products.

5 things to start your day

1) The former Kazakh dictator controlled a £6billion empire from Britain A British entity was at the center of the financial interests of a key ally of Vladimir Putin

2) Sky will increase 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 growing Facebook problems Former deputy prime minister to become president of global affairs at Meta

4) EU says ready if Russia ‘weapons’ gas supply Ursula von der Leyen says other countries agree to increase exports to bloc

5) Google launches ad-blocking software on Android phones as part of 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 were leaning toward more decisive action against inflation, but set no firm targets.

Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced while Tokyo declined. Oil prices, which have been volatile on concerns over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, fell nearly $2 a 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 fell 0.2pc to 27,395.85 after January exports rose 9.6pc weaker than expected from a year earlier.

The Kospi in Seoul advanced 1.4% after the government announced the economy added 1.1 million jobs in January and the jobless rate edged down.

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

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

coming today

  • Business : Reckitt Benckiser, Standard Chartered, Moneysupermarket (Annual results); Aveva, Safe Store (Business Update)
  • Economy: Economic Bulletin (EU)building permit (WE)starts (WE)unemployment benefit claims (WE)Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey (WE)