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ALFRED DUNN - Investment Market Update - 8 February 2022

Good morning and welcome to another day of market updates.

Markets have eased back over 7600 levels today on the back of some good corporate earnings. Oil giant BP has reported its highest profit for eight years, prompting calls for a windfall tax on energy companies. BP posted a profit of $12.8bn (£9.5bn) for 2021, and it made more than $4bn in the final quarter of the year when oil and gas prices surged. The jump in energy prices means households are facing huge increases in gas and electricity bills from April. The co-founder of exercise brand Peloton will step down from the leading the company as it plans to cut thousands of jobs, a report has said. The Wall Street Journal reported that John Foley, chief executive of the firm for 10 years, will step down and be replaced by Barry McCarthy, the former chief financial officer of Spotify. It also said about 2,800 jobs would be cut due to a drop in demand. Amazon and Nike are rumoured to be interested in bidding for Peloton. The US and Japan have agreed to remove Trump-era tariffs from around 1.25 million metric tonnes a year of Japanese steel imports. Under the deal, Japan says it will help to tackle excess steel supplies, which push down prices. The agreement is aimed to stamp out "unfair practices" in the global steel industry, which is dominated by China. The Biden administration has already made a similar deal with the EU but tariffs remain in place on UK imports. The agreement with Japan, which takes effect on 1 April "will further help us rebuild relationships with our allies around the world as we work to fight against China's unfair trade practices," US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. During Donald Trump's presidency Washington imposed tariffs on a number of countries, citing cheap metal imports as a national security threat. Under the new deal, the US will stop charging a 25% levy on Japanese steel imports, excluding aluminium, up to a 1.25m metric tonne annual threshold. Meanwhile, Tokyo said it will take steps within six months to support what the US and Japan see as a fairer steel market. These include taxing goods believed to be priced below market value, and a levy to offset subsidies that an exporter has received. The chairman of Britain's biggest supermarket has warned "the worst is yet to come" on rising food prices. Tesco's John Allan told the BBC he was aware people were on very tight budgets and having to choose between food and heating "troubles us". But he said grocers and suppliers were not immune from rising energy costs. Mr Allan also defended Tesco against claims from food poverty activist Jack Monroe that the costs of basic staples were rising faster than other goods. He estimated supermarket prices could rise as much as 5% by the spring as energy and other costs feed through to the High Street, adding that Tesco's food price inflation in the last three months had been contained to about 1%. Have a great day!!!!! Best Regards S Dhanda

Head of Wealth @ ALFRED DUNN

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