26 February – 02 March

26 February

Their political leaders may be refusing to endorse China’s Belt and Road Initiative, but British and US banks are still rushing to seize opportunities thrown up by Beijing’s vast investment in the “new silk road” trade corridors spanning 65 countries.

The S&P 500 was up 0.6 per cent to 2,764.86 on Monday in a broad-based rally — led by a 0.9 per cent rally in tech stocks and a 0.7 per cent jump in telecoms, while materials were the weakest performers, trading flat.

Natural disasters wiped more than 90 per cent off Hiscox’s profits last year, in what the British insurer described as a “historic year for catastrophes”.

Investors including George Soros’s family office and David Einhorn have bought tentative stakes in traditional US retailers, in early signs of a contrarian bet on the beleaguered sector as it battles against the onslaught of Amazon.

27 February

French households suffered a sharp loss of confidence in the country’s economic situation according to the latest monthly survey by national statistics agency Insee, as consumers turned more pessimistic on both their personal finances and the prospects for the eurozone’s second-largest economy as a whole.

Qualcomm has dropped its objections to being acquired by Singapore’s Broadcom and is willing to agree a deal with its rival chipmaker if it raises its takeover offer to $160bn including debt, according to people involved in the negotiations.

Alibaba is in talks to acquire Ele.me in a deal that could value the online food delivery start-up at up to $9.5bn as China’s tech titans battle it out for dominance of the sector.

US stock futures tipped Wall Street for a lower start on Tuesday following a three-day winning streak as investors await comments from Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell later this morning.

28 February

India has regained its title as the world’s fastest-growing major economy, after figures confirmed it grew by over 7 per cent on an annualised basis in the three months to last December, overtaking China once more.

The Hong Kong dollar touched its weakest level against the US dollar since 2007 on Wednesday, as a widening gap between interest rates in the two currencies depresses demand for the territory’s currency.

Eaton Towers, the Africa-focused mobile phone towers operator, has appointed insurance industry veteran Jim Sutcliffe as chairman and is closing in on a London listing that would value the company at roughly £1.5bn, including debt.

Shares in Papa John’s International are getting sliced up in after-hours trade with the pizza restaurant franchiser flagging a decline in earnings in 2018 and continued weak sales at its North American operations.

01 March

Indonesia’s manufacturing sector grew at its fastest pace in 20 months, returning to expansionary territory in February on higher output and new orders.

Venture capital spending by Japanese corporations including Toyota and Sony have reached record levels as established companies look to the start-up world to keep pace with digital innovation.

Shares in WPP dropped 10 per cent at the start of trading on Thursday, after the advertising group reported a decline in full-year sales and predicted it would struggle to lift revenues back up this year.

Wall Street ended a tumultuous month on a sour note on Wednesday, suffering a second consecutive decline of over 1 per cent and slipping to its worst monthly performance in more than two years.

02 March

Norway has cut its inflation target to 2 per cent from 2.5, as the country’s bumper spending from oil revenues declines, cutting pressure on prices.

Thousands of jobs could be lost in US manufacturing because of President Donald Trump’s plan to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, industry groups warned on Thursday.

Nippon Life has agreed to acquire a 85 per cent stake in the Japanese unit of US life insurer MassMutual for ¥104bn ($982m) as it looks to further cement its position at home while also seeking growth abroad.

LafargeHolcim’s new chief executive has halted a share buyback programme and announced SFr3.8bn ($4bn) in write-offs as he prepares the world’s largest cement company for a planned growth spurt.