Q4 results 'ahead of expectations' says analyst

Thursday's corporate results show ''strong economic recovery'' according to analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets. Profits for 2010 at the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell rose 90% to $18.6b, and Unilever says sales in emerging markets pushed its fourth quarter earnings up by 15%.

Those, and results expected from Spanish bank Santander, Kellogs and Dow Chemicals will give the markets direction, even though most of the Asian bourses are closed for the lunar new year celebrations.

BBC News