Thanks for joining me. Government borrowing slowed significantly last month in a boost to Jeremy Hunt’s plans to cut taxes this year.
Public sector borrowing excluding banks was £7.8bn in December, which was about half the amount borrowed in the same month last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
It was also well below economists’ predictions of £14.1bn.
5 things to start your day
1) Mortgages with 1pc deposit are ‘risk to financial stability’ | Scheme could pressure regulators to raise capital buffers, bankers warn
2) Mark Carney’s net zero alliance facing overhaul after ‘anti-woke’ backlash | Major insurers are leaving amid pressure from US politicians and anti-ESG activists
3) Heather Mills rescues vegan empire after blaming meat industry for collapse | VBites founder secures £1m deal following outburst over ‘gaslighting’ initiatives
4) Why high-flying women face less time at the top than men | A wave of prominent female exits are driving concerns over a lack of equality in the City
5) Musk says he was ‘naive’ about anti-Semitism as he visits Auschwitz | Billionaire also admits that sympathy for pro-Hamas rallies at US colleges ‘blew my mind’
What happened overnight
Japanese shares surged to fresh 34-year highs as the Bank of Japan kept interest rates on hold, standing by its ultra-loose monetary policy.
However, Tokyo stocks shed earlier gains to end lower, with investors digesting the Bank of Japan’s decision to maintain its signature monetary easing measures.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index trimmed 0.1pc, or 29.38 points, to end at 36,517.57, while the broader Topix index lost 0.1pc, or 2.85 points, to 2,542.07.
Chinese stocks struggled as speculation of a huge rescue package from Beijing underwhelmed investors worried about the shaky economy.
The Shanghai Composite index shed 0.4pc to 2,746.74. It fell 2.7pc on Monday.
But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 2.5pc to 15,336.26, helping make up for losses this year that stood at about 12pc as of Monday’s close.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.4pc to 2,473.97 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6pc to 7,524.50.
The S&P 500 hit a record high close for a second straight session on Monday as technology stocks added to recent gains and investors awaited upcoming corporate reports for clues on this year’s profit outlook. Netflix, Tesla, Abbott Laboratories, Intel and Johnson & Johnson are due to report this week.
The S&P 500 added 0.2pc, reaching to 4,850.43. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 leading American companies rose 0.4pc to 38,001.81. The Nasdaq Composite index, which is heavily skewed towards technology companies, gained 0.3pc, reaching 15,360.29.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury bonds fell to 4.09pc from 4.13pc late Friday and from 5pc in October.