Live News: Hong Kong announces record high number of Covid-19 cases as pressure on health care grows

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This week is full of commemorations.

It begins with the anniversary of the Maastricht agreement, which was signed by 12 member states of the former European Community on Monday 30 years ago. It established the EU and laid the foundations for monetary union, as well as raising concerns among those opposed to further political union, probably sowing the seeds of Brexit. Expect a little (further) soul exploration this week.

A different type of political change occurred in Iran this week in 1979, when the Islamic Revolution ended the Shah’s monarchy and established cleric rule. The country’s leaders will no doubt comment on its importance, but a more urgent challenge for Tehran is economic recovery in the face of US sanctions, although progress is being made.

Jacques Delors, former President of the European Commission, was key in the events that led to the signing of the Maastricht Agreement © AFP / Getty Images

Economic data

There has been much debate about the claims of the British government about the strength of the recovery from the pandemic. Much attention will be paid to the country’s quarterly and monthly GDP estimates, released on Friday.

In second place will be data on US inflation and data on German production and trade. Plus rates are expected in Mexico and Russia, and the EU will update its economic forecasts.

Companies

We are deep in the earnings season. This week it is the turn of consumer goods companies, drug manufacturers and engine manufacturers.

Unileverova Thursday’s year-round results will face scrutiny following an unpopular attempt to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer health department and news that activist fund Trian Partners – co-founder Nelson Peltz – he gained a stake. As Hellmann’s mayonnaise maker plans a reorganization to take ice cream from the rest of its food department, investors will want to know if it will sell either or both food departments and plan to improve performance in the rest of the portfolio – as well as whether the CEO can. CFO and CEO of the company survive the current debacle of GSK.

Results from Coke and PepsiCo will find out whether a resurgence of Covid-19 cases worldwide has slashed juice demand in December. New isolation measures in China have hit restaurant chains McDonald’s and Starbucks, their earnings were shownwhile supply chain costs, including delays from Canada, continued to be mounted. Still, analysts expect Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to record higher revenues compared to the same quarter of 2020.

Japanese car manufacturers Nissan and Honda this week they will reveal their gains and losses. But investors will see if Toyota, the world’s largest car dealer in 2021, may dismiss the impact of the chip shortage in the months following its announcement in January that a supply problem would force it to cut production for February – this Lex note provides an explanation for the consequences. In terms of production, that means Toyota is unlikely to reach its 9 million vehicle production target for the fiscal year to March.

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