US economy surges at start of year – live updates

Good morning. Rising oil prices helped Royal Dutch Shell swing back into the black at the start of the year, as it reported a surge in profits to £4.08bn. 

The oil giant hiked its dividend by 4pc after the price of crude rose by around a third this year so far.

Elsewhere, NatWest following its rivals Lloyds and HSBC in reporting a surge in profits as it cut back reserves set aside for loans it thought would go bad.

5 things to start your day 

1) BT Sport up for sale in broadband push: Telecoms giant in talks with potential partners including Amazon and Disney about offloading a stake in its television arm.

2) iPhone sales hit $48bn as Apple grows at fastest rate since 2012: The US tech giant said quarterly revenues had climbed by 54pc year on year to $89.6bn (£64.3bn), driven by $47.9bn from the iPhone alone.

3) ‘Pocket’ cargo ship company set for $250m London float: Shipping firm Taylor Maritime Investments (TMI) is today expected to announce its plan for a $250m (£180m) float in London.

4) India’s Covid crisis could blight the global recovery: The scale of the outbreak presents a significant risk to other countries, several of which are key to UK companies’ supply chains.

5) End of stamp duty holiday won’t crash housing market, says Lloyds: House prices will remain robust after Covid altered buyers’ tastes and triggered a stampede to the country, said UK’s biggest mortgage lender.

What happened overnight 

Asian shares rose on Thursday and US futures also were higher after President Joe Biden delivered a speech to Congress that outlined ambitious plans for jobs creating spending on early education, child care and other public services.

In Asian trading, markets in Japan were closed for a holiday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.6pc to 29,231.73 and the Shanghai Composite index picked up 0.2pc to 3,463.10. In Seoul, the Kospi gained 0.2pc to 3,186.28. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4pc to 7,090.10.

Coming up today

Corporate: WH Smith, Indivior, Royal Dutch Shell, Standard Chartered (Interim); DS Smith, Evraz, Glencore, Flutter Entertainment, Howden Joinery, Inchcape, Kaz Minerals, Meggitt, NatWest, Smith & Nephew, St James’s Place, Unilever, Weir Group (Trading update)

Economics: Nationwide house price index (UK); unemployment rate (Ger); consumer confidence (EU); jobless claims (US)

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