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Investment Market Update - 12 January 2022

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

Good morning and welcome to another day of market updates.Markets are continuing to rise this morning and the Ft100 is up at 7535 levels.

The Dow Jones rose back to 36252 last night.

In business news Strong sales of premium food and champagne over Christmas have put Sainsbury's on track to boost profits. Britain's second biggest supermarket has raised its full-year profit guidance to "at least" £720m before tax, up from £660m. Customers spent more on treats, as well as record amounts on champagne and sparkling wine for festivities. Grocery sales over Christmas rose by 0.1% in the six weeks to 8 January, compared to the year before. Sales of food and drink saw a boost of 6.8% in comparison with pre-pandemic levels. The retailer's chief executive said it was down to more people eating at home, although formal rules restricting gatherings weren't in place this last Christmas. Simon Roberts said: "I am really pleased with how we delivered for customers this Christmas." He added that shoppers had splurged more on party food and desserts from its premium product range Taste the Difference over the holidays. Soaring energy prices which threaten the living standards of millions could last up to two years, the boss of the UK's biggest energy supplier has said. Chris O'Shea, chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, said there was "no reason" to expect gas prices would come down "any time soon". He said hopes that bills rising by more than 50% to about £2,000 a year would be short-lived may be misplaced. Rising energy bills have raised concerns over the cost of living. Sri Lanka, an island nation of 22 million people, is facing an unprecedented economic crisis. Its foreign exchange reserves dropped to around $1.6bn by the end of November, only enough to pay for just a few weeks of imports. As a result, the government has been forced to restrict the import of several essential commodities - including food items - in a desperate bid to hang on to its vital dollar reserves. This move, combined with increasing fuel and freight costs, has pushed the price of essentials such as milk powder and rice much higher. This sharp rise in living costs is not just a problem for Sri Lanka. Several other nations in Asia, such as neighbouring India and Pakistan are also battling soaring inflation - people across the continent are having to tighten their belts to cover the cost of every day food and energy costs. The situation is particularly acute in Sri Lanka, because it is a smaller island nation that's very reliant on overseas imports to feed its population. For example, the country's tiny dairy industry cannot meet local demand so it imports powdered milk. Covid cases in the UK are on the way down - at least according to the daily figures released by the government. The number of cases confirmed over the past seven days is 13% down on the previous week. These are, after all, only the people who come forward for testing. As infections have risen to record levels there have been reports of people struggling to get access to tests. The figures also exclude - apart from in Wales - those who are re-infected, something that has become increasingly common with the rise of the Omicron variant. And a regular survey, that aims to calculate levels of Covid in the population at large, appears to show the testing programme is picking up a smaller proportion of cases than it once did. It means there needs to be a degree of caution when it comes to interpreting what is happening. A big thanks to our Head of Wealth S Dhanda (SJP) for producing these daily updates.

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