The only way is open for Bezos, inflation and Covid cases


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Hello and welcome to the working week.

First of all, thanks to everyone who contacted me at [email protected] about the new Week Ahead format. Please keep messaging me with your thoughts – whether you want more of something or less of something else. I would also like to hear about the important events of your work week.

Things are looking up this week, whether it’s space travel or, more worryingly, inflation and coronavirus infections.

Are we about to enter a new era of space travel? You wait decades for a billionaire entrepreneur to soar down the suborbital trajectory, then two come together. Days after Richard Branson hoisted the flag for Virgin Galactic, promising even bigger things in this FT interview, Jeff Bezos aims to match him this Tuesday – the anniversary of the first moon landing – by climbing the 100 km to the edge of the atmosphere in his Blue Origin rocket. Could it do more harm than good for the environment on earth? The question is whether this will further encourage space tourism or just create a much faster way to get from one side of planet Earth to the other.

Then there’s the other thing that is reaching new heights – the daily cases of Covid-19 in the UK. The total may exceed 50,000, but that won’t stop England from celebrating ‘Freedom Day’, with nearly all lockdown restrictions lifted. Unfortunately for them, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid will not join the party after the Health Secretary tested positive for Covid over the weekend. Johnson and Sunak, ‘flagged’ by the NHS app because of contact with Javid, had initially planned to avoid self-isolation, but a remarkably quick U-turn came just after a reaction from the public.

It will also be the week of the delayed launch: the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take place on Friday. It will be a quiet affair by the track, but there should be some entertaining TV shows for those of us – and politicians – forced to self-isolate.


Telecoms are about looking to the future, at least that’s what advertisers tell us. But for AT&T, after splitting its media assets, investors this week anticipate a return to the past where Ma Bell only provided telephone service. Expect Thursday’s earnings announcement to put the spotlight on its wireless business after a few positive quarters.

Vodafone is expected to have a good Q1 business update on Friday, as it hopes to regain ground after Covid-19 hit last year’s figures when declining roaming revenues and business activity took weighed on the business.

When BHP announces its fourth quarter fiscal production report on Tuesday, the focus will be on the performance of its flagship Australian iron ore business and any clues about Jansen, a giant potash project in Canada it is developing.

Iron prices have surged over the past year, hitting a record high above $ 230 per tonne before falling. The lukewarm growth in supply from the main suppliers was a factor in the rise in the price of the steel ingredient. As such, BHP’s production forecast for FY2022 – which runs through June – will be under close scrutiny.

Economic data

There are a lot of economic indicators on the rise, largely thanks to the vaccine deployment. Details on the extent to which the post-jab rebound is pushing up retail spending in the UK, manufacturing in Europe and inflation in Japan will become clearer when the data is released this week.

Main economic and corporate reports

Here’s a more comprehensive list of what to expect in terms of corporate reports and economic data this week.


  • United Kingdom, Rightmove Monthly House Price Index

  • EU, Eurostat construction output data

  • IBM (T2)


  • Japan, monthly consumer price index

  • Germany, producer price

  • easyJet (Q3)

  • Wise (Q1 trading update)

  • UBS (T2)

  • Philip Morris (Q2)

  • Netflix (T2)

  • Anglo American (production report Q2)

  • BHP Billiton (operational review)

  • Labor group (Q2)

  • Halliburton (Q2)

  • Remy Cointreau (T1)

  • Electrolux (T2)

  • Volvo (Q2)


  • United Kingdom, Office for National Statistics publishes data on public sector finances

  • ASML (Q2)

  • Qinetiq (Q1 and AGA trading update)

  • Bloomsbury Publishing (AGA)

  • Royal Mail (business update and AGM)

  • United Airlines (T2)

  • Verizon Communications (T2)

  • Daimler (Q2)

  • Harley-Davidson (Q2)

  • Novartis (T2)

  • Akzo Nobel (Q2)

  • Johnson & Johnson (T2)

  • Coca Cola (T2)

  • SAP (T2)


  • United Kingdom, quarterly crime statistics for England and Wales

  • Announcement of EU and European Central Bank interest rates

  • Centric (H1)

  • Mulberry Group (H1)

  • Twitter (T2)

  • Intel (T2)

  • Unilever (T2)

  • Snap (Q2)

  • AT&T (T2)

  • SSE (trading statement Q1 and AGA)

  • Wickes (H1 trading update)

  • Pacific Union (T2)

  • Workspace group (Q1 declaration and AGA)

  • Capital One Financial (T2)

  • Blackstone Group (T2)

  • ABB (T2)

  • Hotel Chocolat (commercial update)

  • Marsh McLennan (Q2)

  • Daily Mail and General Trust (Q3 Trading Update)

  • Rock (H1)

  • Volkswagen (AGA)


  • United Kingdom, monthly retail sales figures

  • United Kingdom, Cips / Markit Purchasing Managers index for industry and services

  • Euro zone, Markit composite PMI for industry and services

  • Canada, monthly retail trade figures

  • Vodafone (commercial update)

  • United Utilities (AGA)

  • Premier Foods (Q1 Business Update)

  • Honeywell (Q2)

  • Kimberly Clark (T2)

  • American Express (T2)

  • Schlumberger (T2)

  • Air Canada (T2)

  • Skanska (H1)

Global events

Finally, here’s a look at other events and milestones this week.


  • UK, coronavirus lockdown restrictions largely lifted in England. Scotland will move to the lowest level, zero, of its five-tier Covid lockdown system.



  • Belgium, celebrated national holiday

  • Switzerland and the General Council of the World Trade Organization meet in Geneva


  • United Kingdom, House of Commons rises for summer recess

  • Norway, 10th anniversary of the Oslo and Utoya attacks


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