Refusing to pay energy bills will put up costs for all, Ofgem warns

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Good morning.

There’s an upbeat update from Next this morning, which revealed a surprise spike in sales in its latest quarter.

Full-price sales rose 5pc in the second quarter, jumping £50m ahead of guidance. That came despite fears trading would slump below pre-Covid levels.

Next pinned the positive performance on the heatwave, as well as higher demand for formalwear as social events such as weddings returned.

As a result, the retailer raised its guidance for full-year profit by £10m to £860m.

But it wasn’t all rosy. Next said it didn’t expect the trading boost to last, warning that the impact of inflation on consumer spending would worsen in the second half of the year.

5 things to start your day 

1) Walls close in on Zuckerberg as executives desert Meta  Deep turmoil inside social media giant and brain drain at the top leave founder looking increasingly isolated

2) Rural households clamouring for onshore wind turbines, says Octopus boss  Energy supplier says it is ‘pushing at an open door’ with plans to boost output 

3) Taiwan crisis to wreak havoc at ports and disrupt one of world’s busiest shipping lanes  China’s live-fire military drills spark fears of delays and collisions 

4) UN chief attacks ‘immoral’ oil companies and claims they are punishing the poor  António Guterres calls for action against energy businesses across the world

5) Wildfire fears prompt Marks & Spencer to stop selling disposable barbecues  London Fire Brigade urges other retailers to follow suit

What happened overnight 

Asian stocks rose this morning, taking cues from a strong rally on Wall Street after robust economic data and upbeat corporate guidance boosted investor appetite.

Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.6pc, while Chinese blue chips also added 0.6pc and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.2pc, with an index of its tech stocks surging 2.3pc.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares gained 0.7pc.

Coming up today

  • Corporate: Pantheon International (full-year results); Centamin, ConvaTec Group, Evraz, Glencore, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Informa, Meggitt, Mondi, Morgan Sindall, Next, Rolls-Royce, Serco, Spirent Communications, Tritax Big Box (interims)
  • Economics: Bank of England interest rate decision (UK), construction PMI (UK), jobless claims (US)

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