The latest US macroeconomic data shows that the US economy remains strong, which lifted sentiment, although investors are wondering if there’s any need for central banks to cut interest rates early this year.

London's blue-chip index rose today, lifted by exporters as the pound declined due to weaker-than-expected retail sales data. Investors also took this as a sign that would strengthen the case for rate cuts by the Bank of England.

British retail sales volumes fell by 3.2% in December from November, a decline not seen for 3 years. Economists were expecting a 0.5% drop.

Wincanton rallied 47.1% Wincanton PLC has agreed to a GBP 567 million sale to French shipping group CMA CGM. The cash offer from CMA CGM's subsidiary CEVA Logistics represents a 52% premium on Wincanton's closing share price. The acquisition will enhance CEVA's logistics offerings in the UK and Ireland, with Wincanton operating from over 170 sites.

Air Astana confirmed plans for a London stock exchange listing in February, with BAE Systems selling its stake. The airline, also listing on the Kazakhstan stock exchange, aims to raise $120 million to support growth. The offering will include shares and global depositary receipts, with BAE granting an overallotment option for up to 15% of the GDRs. The final offer price will be determined through a bookbuild.

Deliveroo announced that its 2023 earnings would slightly exceed the forecasted GBP 60-80 million. The company saw a 3% increase in the total value of orders on its platform. Deliveroo's UK and Ireland performance was strong in Q4, and the international business returned to growth, with full-year results to be released on March 14.

AstraZeneca secured Japanese approval for its blood disorder treatment Voydeya. The approval was based on positive trial results showing improved hemoglobin levels and reduced need for transfusions. Voydeya has been recognized as a breakthrough therapy by the US FDA and has received PRIority MEdicines status from the European Medicines Agency.

Currys announced a strong trading performance during peak periods, with a 3% year-on-year decline in like-for-like sales. The company improved its FY23/24 underlying profit before tax guidance to £105-115 million. Currys' profitability has improved despite a challenging retail environment.

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