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Live news: Boris Johnson says England self-isolation rules to be scrapped ‘soon’

Economic news: Huw Pill, the Bank of England’s chief economist, delivers a speech on the UK’s monetary policy outlook at the annual conference of the Society of Professional Economists, while Sweden’s Riksbank holds its monetary policy meeting in Stockholm. A range of companies publish results on Wednesday.

L’Oréal: The French consumer group reported robust third-quarter earnings in October. Quarterly like-for-like sales rose 13 per cent from the previous year to nearly €8bn, bringing the nine-month figure to €23.2bn, with growth accelerating to 14.9 per cent from the same quarter in 2019. L’Oréal releases its full-year results.

GlaxoSmithKline: The UK drugmaker publishes its fourth-quarter results. GSK raised its full-year profit forecast in October. It now expects adjusted earnings per share to decline between 2 and 4 percentage points, which is better than its previous prediction of a mid-to-high single-digit drop. GSK reported overall sales of £9.1bn for the third quarter, up 10 per cent from the same period in the previous year and higher than analysts’ forecast of £8.7bn.

Barratt Developments: The FTSE 100 housebuilder reports its first-half results on Wednesday. Barratt’s profits surged in the last fiscal year as the property market rebounded. It reported adjusted operating profits of £919mn, a sharp rise from the £507mn a year earlier and ahead of the £876mn expected in analyst forecasts collated by S&P Capital IQ.

Maersk Group: The world’s largest container shipping group publishes its fourth-quarter results. Maersk had a bumper third quarter, almost quintupling its operating profits to $5.9bn, more than it has made in any year since 2014.

Earnings: Akzo Nobel, Europe’s largest producer of paint, will publish fourth-quarter results, as will Dutch bank ABN Amro, while Dutch payment company Adyen releases results for its second half. British home furnishings retailer Dunelm releases its first-half results and energy company Equinor releases earnings for the fourth quarter. Swedish bank Handelsbanken will release its full-year results.

Markets: Futures for the Euro Stoxx 50 and the FTSE 100 were both up 0.8 per cent. Stocks in most Asia-Pacific markets advanced on Wednesday, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rising as much as 2.3 per cent, buoyed by gains for tech companies and metals groups. In the US on Tuesday, the S&P 500 index rose 0.8 per cent, bolstered by bank stocks, while the Nasdaq Composite index added 1.3 per cent. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note, which underpins global borrowing costs and stock market valuations, also rose to a high of 1.97 per cent, a level not seen since late 2019.

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