3) The failure to electrify thousands of miles of railway threatens Boris Johnson’s promise to make Britain the cleanest country on earth, industry leaders have warned. Rail chiefs have written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urging him to press on with electrification so that the industry can cut out carbon emissions by 2040.

4) Beales to shut remaining 11 department stores: The company made a further 20 staff redundant at its head office in Bournemouth with hundreds of jobs at risk.

5) Donald Trump has pardoned financier and philanthropist Michael Milken, the face of financial scandals in the Eighties. The US president said that the “junk bond king”, who was convicted of securities fraud, had done an “incredible job” supporting cancer research.

What happened overnight

Asian stocks and US and European equity futures recouped some of Tuesday’s losses after signs that China may be planning to offer more support to its economy, reeling from the virus-induced slowdown.

Equity benchmarks rose in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney, while Shanghai dipped from the highest level in about four weeks.

China’s latest moves to aid growth include possible bail-outs for some airlines, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. 

On Tuesday, Wall Street closed slightly lower; Apple ended off of its lows after its sales warning had triggered Asia’s sell-off yesterday.

Brent crude was set for the longest run of gains in more than a year as US sanctions on Russia’s largest producer and conflict in Libya shifted the focus to supply threats from virus-driven demand concerns.

Coming up today

Full-year results: Gooch & Housego

Preliminary: Hochschild Mining, Temple Bar Investment Trust

Economics: CPI inflation (UK), building permits and housing starts, FOMC minutes (US)