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FirstFT: Today’s top stories

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FirstFT: Today’s top stories

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Exclusive: The UK is in talks with some of the world’s largest sovereign wealth and pension funds about investing in British green energy projects, including gigafactories and offshore wind farms.

UK minister Gerry Grimstone told the Financial Times that he had discussions with investors including Temasek and GIC, the Singaporean sovereign wealth funds, as well as Australian and Canadian public pension schemes. Investors will be invited to a government summit at Windsor Castle in October.

But the former chair of Standard Life Aberdeen acknowledged there were questions about whether one of Britain’s largest planned inward investments — a nuclear power station proposed by Chinese state group CGN — would proceed.

Grimstone said the government wanted to secure investments in UK low-emissions projects, from factories to make batteries for electric cars to offshore wind farms and carbon capture and storage, ahead of the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November.

Coronavirus digest

  • A single vaccine dose can cut the risk of passing Covid-19 on to household members by up to half, according to a comprehensive real-world study.

  • The US CDC revised its guidance on wearing masks outdoors, saying it was safe for fully vaccinated people to exercise or attend small outdoor gatherings. US-made AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines will face delays reaching hard-hit countries because of problems at a supplier’s factory

  • The sudden slowdown in vaccinations has exposed Joe Biden’s next challenges: persuading reluctant Americans to take the jabs. This is the second in a series on the US president’s first 100 days in office.

  • India has deployed soldiers and is building field hospitals to bolster its fight against a devastating second wave. A critical oxygen shortage has underlined the severity of the crisis. Read this New York Times reporter’s experience of life during the surge.

  • Novartis warned of delayed cancer diagnoses because of coronavirus as the Swiss drugmaker missed first-quarter earnings and sales expectations.

  • JPMorgan Chase told all of its US bankers that they should arrange to be back in the office on a rotational basis by early July. (FT, NYT)

Are you ready to go back to the office? Take our poll.

Follow the latest on our live blog and sign up for our Coronavirus Business Update newsletter.

In the news

Global IPOs begin 2021 at breakneck pace Stock market listings around the world are running at a record pace, with deal numbers and values at their highest levels for the start of any year in at least two decades: 875 initial public offerings raising at least $1m have been clinched globally in 2021, far outstripping the previous record of the final months of the dotcom boom in 2000.

Column chart of Number of IPOs, by type showing The number of companies going public has ballooned

Google profits hit record The tech giant’s parent Alphabet reported record results for the first quarter as homebound users watched videos and clicked on web advertisements served by the company, which announced a $50bn share buyback programme. Microsoft beat expectations on the back of surging PC and game console sales and cloud services demand.

Bank losses from Archegos implosion exceed $10bn Nomura and UBS were the latest to report losses from the collapse of the Bill Hwang-run family office, with Nomura reporting a $2.9bn hit and suspending its head of prime brokerage while UBS revealed an $861m loss. The hardest-hit bank, Credit Suisse, is facing US Senate scrutiny over separate allegations of breaching its landmark 2014 tax evasion settlement. The Swiss lender’s new chair, António Horta-Osório, will look to overhaul its risk management culture after the failures of Archegos and Greensill Capital.

MEPs vote on Brexit trade deal Brussels warned that its trade deal with the UK would allow it to hit British goods with tariffs if Boris Johnson failed to honour post-Brexit obligations on Northern Ireland, as the European parliament moved to ratify the treaty. The result will be announced this morning. Sign up here for our Europe Express newsletter, your essential guide to what matters in Europe today, every weekday morning.

  • Separately, a first hearing will be held today over the European Commission’s accusation that AstraZeneca breached its deal to supply vaccines to the EU.

Biden to raise minimum wage The US president has signed an executive order forcing federal contractors to pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour as he increased pressure on businesses and Congress to raise workers’ pay. Democrats, meanwhile, were among the doubters of Joe Biden’s plan to increase the income tax rate on the wealthiest Americans to almost 40 per cent. Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s finance minister, has called the US proposal for a global minimum corporate levy a “breakthrough moment” in deadlocked international tax talks.

China to report first population decline in 5 decades The latest Chinese census, which was completed in December but has yet to be made public, is expected to report the country’s total population at less than 1.4bn, its first decline since Mao Zedong’s disastrous Great Leap Forward, despite the relaxation of strict family planning policies in 2015.

Brussels targets Apple Brussels EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager will this week charge the iPhone maker with anti-competitive behaviour over concerns raised by Spotify that App Store rules for developers break EU law. Ten months after Apple promised “enhanced privacy features” for iPhones, the changes have finally arrived.

The day ahead

Fed meeting Investors will be watching the Federal Reserve’s post-meeting press conference today for any indication from chair Jay Powell about the US central bank’s thinking on inflation.

Earnings It’s another big day for earnings: Apple is expected to post stellar quarterly results with revenues of $76.6bn, while among the other tech, ecommerce and social media companies reporting are Facebook, eBay, Shopify and Spotify. Samsung, also due to report, stages its latest Galaxy Unpacked event.

  • In banking: Santander, Lloyds Banking Group and Metro Bank report results. More companies reporting include the London Stock Exchange, Boeing, and GlaxoSmithKline, here.

What else we’re reading

No 10 briefing war Conservative MPs peering through the allegation that Boris Johnson telephoned sympathetic newspapers editors to accuse Dominic Cummings of “systematic leaking” may be asking two questions: how damaging is it to the UK prime minister? And — a perennial poser in Tory politics — what is his former rival Michael Gove up to?

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove
Even Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove’s forthright defence of the prime minister on Monday was parsed for hidden meaning © FT montage/Getty/Dreamstime

How will the SNP fare in Scotland’s May elections? The Scottish National party is on course to be the largest group in the Scottish parliament, but it may struggle to secure an overall majority, according to an FT poll. What do opinion polls show ahead of Scottish and Welsh parliament elections on May 6?

China is wrong to think the US faces decline While America could falter, that would be its choice and not its fate, writes Martin Wolf. Its economic assets are too great. That has been the basis of its global power and influence. So how does its innovative power look today? The answer is: rather good, despite competition from China.

Martin Wolf: ‘If it were not for Saudi Arabian oil, the five most valuable companies in the world would be US technology giants: Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook. China has two valuable technology companies: Tencent (seventh) and Alibaba (ninth)’ © James Ferguson

The new wave of crypto users A growing number of Latin Americans are using cryptocurrency to send remittances from the US to family back home. While technological barriers still exist, crypto allows migrant workers to avoid high commission fees and has gained popularity amid currency devaluation concerns. (Rest of World)

Building better jobs for the young What do young people want from the world of work? Tired tropes about “job-hoppers” in search of “meaning” are a distraction. Most youngsters want what their parents and grandparents wanted: a decent income, a chance to progress and enough security to build a life on. The trouble is, too few are getting it.

Have you recently graduated? As part of a reporting project, we want to hear how the past year has been for you. Please share your stories and thoughts in our survey.

In the UK, under-35s accounted for more than 80% of the fall in the number of employees since last February
In the UK, under-35s accounted for more than 80% of the fall in the number of employees since last February © FT montage / Getty

Podcast of the day

The finances of moving overseas After months under lockdown, 31-year-old finance professional Viktoria is planning to relocate overseas. She talks to Claer Barrett about her desire to escape corporate life in London and her concerns about the fate of her property, pensions and investments.

Thank you for reading. Send your recommendations and feedback to [email protected]

Published at Wed, 28 Apr 2021 04:59:38 +0000

Attribution – For more Information here is the Article Post Source: https://www.ft.com/content/fa5f7c2a-8cc3-4a2d-ad2b-b3b32ca82d4f