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Good morning. 

There’s a trading update this morning from Associated British Foods (ABF), the company behind an eclectic mix of offerings including grocery brands, sugar and Primark.

The FTSE 100 firm revealed Primark had suffered a hit to sales in its latest quarter as the omicron variant kept shoppers away from stores.

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While sales were up by more than a third year on year – when lockdown closed shops entirely – they still lagged behind pre-Covid levels.

Still, ABF said trading had improved in recent weeks and held its outlook for the full year.

5 things to start your day 

1) Architect of energy price cap says it has ‘destroyed the market’ and must be scrapped  Stephen Littlechild argues price cap has acted as ‘a bull in a china shop’

2) Restaurant offers £91,000 for head chef as kitchen crisis bites  Salaries for chef have jumped by as much as 30pc as employers struggle to fill vacancies

3) British Airways cancels US flights over 5G safety fears  Lufthansa, Emirates, Japan Airlines, ANA and Air India also axe services as aircraft face potential interference from new mobile networks

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4) Unilever rules out raising £50bn Glaxo bid after ‘torrent of criticism’  Credibility of chief executive Alan Jope called into question following disastrous reaction from shareholders in Marmite maker

5) The AA ends sick pay for unvaccinated workers forced to self-isolate after Covid contact  Breakdown service becomes latest employer to crack down on unjabbed workers after Next, Ikea, Ocado and Morrisons

What happened overnight 

Markets mostly rose on Thursday in Asia as investors tentatively returned to buying after recent losses. Hong Kong gained 1.9pc thanks to a rally in tech giants including Alibaba, Meituan, Tencent and JD.com, while property firms also enjoyed healthy gains. Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok and Jakarta also rose but Sydney, Wellington and Taipei dipped.

Coming up today

  • Corporate: Superdry (Interim results); Associated British Foods, Workspace Group, Premier Foods, CMC Markets, AJ Bell, Ibstock, Entain, Hochschild Mining, Kier Group, Deliveroo (Trading update)
  • Economics: RICS house price balance (UK), interest rate decision (China), consumer price index (EU), jobless claims (US), Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey (US)





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