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Stagflation fears after surprise US inflation figures



Thanks for joining us. John Lewis has decided it will not pay a bonus to staff for the third time in four years despite the partnership returning to profit.

The group – which owns the John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarket chain – reported pre-tax profits of £56m for the year to January 27 against losses of £234m in the previous year.

However, the retailer said that rather than paying a bonus, it would instead focus on improving pay and its business, which “must continue to take priority”.

This marks only the third time since 1953 that the group has not paid out an annual bonus.

5 things to start your day 

1) Britain’s biggest investor tells Nestlé to sell less chocolate | LGIM urges Kit Kat maker to focus on healthy alternatives in ethical compliance drive

2) Britain curbs quantum computer exports amid fears over foreign military use | Exporters to be banned from selling sensitive technology without a licence under new rules

3) Britons must save more to boost the economy, says Policy Exchange | Analysts warn fiscal constraints are needed to achieve sustained rise in investment

4) David Davis: Scrap the OBR, end Bank of England independence, and free Britain to thrive | These institutions hem in government decision making and impede economic growth

5) Matthew Lynn: The young are being brought up to think working is for mugs | Today’s economics teach us it is also perfectly rational not to join the workforce

What happened overnight 

Asian shares mostly declined in lacklustre trading after US stocks drifted to a mixed finish.

Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped nearly 0.2pc to 7,716.50. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.7pc to 2,711.48. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.4pc to 17,010.59, while the Shanghai Composite stood virtually unchanged at 3,044.17.

Tokyo stocks shrugged off early losses and ended higher, with the market supported by gains by heavyweights including Uniqlo’s parent company.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index advanced 0.3pc, or 111.41 points, to close at 38,807.38, while the broader Topix index gained 0.5pc, or 13.08 points, to 2,661.59

Nissan stock jumped 2.3pc after an unconfirmed Japanese media report that the carmaker behind the Leaf electric car was about to enter an agreement on EVs with domestic rival Honda. 

Honda shares rose nearly 1pc. Nissan declined comment, while Honda did not respond to a request for comment.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 slipped 0.2pc, from its all-time high set a day before, reaching 5,165.31. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1pc, to 39,043.32 close to its record set last month. The Nasdaq Composite index dipped 0.5pc, to 16,177.77.

Benchmark 10-year US Treasury bonds rose to 4.18pc from 4.15pc late on Tuesday.  

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