Overnight, Japanese shares have once again surged with the Nikkei 225 rising +1.94% to 11,369. The Hang Seng also climbed modestly.
The big corporate news this morning is Barclays. Despite a 26% profits hike to more than £7bn for the 12 months to the end of December, Barclays is slashing 3,700 jobs across its retail and business banking arms, plus corporate and investment businesses.
Barclays has also confirmed it is closing the doors on its Structured Capital Markets business, a much-criticised arm that helped Barclays clients avoid tax. It is paying a full year dividend of 6.5p to investors however.
"2012 was a difficult year for Barclays," the company said in a statement this morning. "In June we reached a settlement with various regulators regarding the Bank's misconduct in relation to LIBOR and EURIBOR. We know that we need to change the way we do business if we are going to regain the trust of our various stakeholders and begin to restore our reputation."
But underlying operating profit for the year ended 31 December 2012 is expected to be below that achieved in 2011 (€622m). Accordingly, Mondi advises it expects basic underlying earnings per share (euro cents) to be in the 67 to 71 (2011 68.1) range.
Credit Suisse recently upped its target price from 780p to 980 on the stock, also upgrading it to Outperform. Its share price currently hovers at the 789p mark.
Lastly, Dunelm Group. The homewards player claims revenues for the 26 weeks to 29 December climbed 13.4% to £340.1m (prior year: £299.9m). Like-for-like (LFL) sales are by 2.2% (prior year: 1.1%). Gross margins are up 30 basis points to 49.5%.
There's also operating profit growth of 14.5% to £59.3m (prior year: £51.8m) and profit before tax up by 14.6% to £59.8m (prior year: £52.2m). Earnings per share (fully diluted) up 18.8% to 22.1p.
"The final quarter," says chief exec Nick Wharton, "of our financial year presents some challenging like for like sales comparatives, but with a significant new store growth opportunity and an exciting multi-channel agenda in place, the Board remains confident in the overall growth prospects for the business."