How well did you keep up with the news this week? Take our quiz.

A flurry of tech and ecommerce listings have taken Europe’s market for initial public offerings to its best start to the year since 2015, as extended pandemic lockdowns fuel investor enthusiasm for digital companies.

Companies listing on European stock exchanges have sold €8.4bn in equity through 16 deals this year, according to Refinitiv data, including new funds raised and owners cashing out stakes.

About 70 per cent of the equity sold was in companies that have benefited from the shift online by businesses and consumers during the pandemic, including card retailer Moonpig and parcel locker business InPost.

London has kept hold of its IPO crown, with four companies floating on the main stock market and two on Aim, despite fears that, in time, it might lose business to the EU following Brexit. (FT)

Column chart of Amount of equity sold ($bn) showing Booming start for Europe

From vaccines to homework, Tim Harford asks, why can’t humans stop overpromising? Follow the latest updates on our live blog and the global race to vaccinate on our tracker.

Euro derivatives trading floods out of London The trading of euro-dominated swaps in London dropped from almost 40 per cent of the market last July to 10 per cent in January, as investors turned to rival financial centres in New York, Amsterdam and Paris — the latest evidence of the blow dealt by Brexit to the UK financial centre.

Line chart of Market share (%) showing UK trading venues fall below US and EU in euro swaps trading

N Ireland stand-off The UK and EU agreed in a three-hour meeting on Thursday to look for “workable solutions” to deliver the controversial Northern Ireland protocol, pledging to consult more deeply with the region’s business groups over the impact of the deal. (FT)

Spac seeks flying taxi start-up LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and tech entrepreneur Mark Pincus are nearing a deal to merge their blank cheque company with Joby Aviation, valuing the flying taxi developer at about $5.7bn, said people briefed on the matter. (FT)

Trump acquittal would set ‘terrible standard’ House Democrats said Republicans would set a “terrible standard for presidential misconduct” if they acquitted Donald Trump of stoking the January 6 attack on the US Capitol as they closed out their impeachment case. Democrats hope to convince the public that the former president bears ultimate responsibility for the deadly riot despite his low odds of conviction. (FT)

Beijing bans the BBC The BBC’s World News television channel has been officially banned from broadcasting in China, in a retaliatory move a week after the UK’s media watchdog stripped Beijing’s state broadcaster of its licence in Britain. (FT)

White House responds to chip shortage The Biden administration has pledged to take immediate action to address a global shortage of semiconductors that has forced the closure of several US car plants. A surge in demand for consumer electronics has led to the shortage, which has been exacerbated in the US by sanctions on Chinese chipmaker SMIC. (FT)

Fire services have not learnt Grenfell lessons London’s fire brigade can still not be sure its response to a repeat of the Grenfell Tower fire would be significantly better than its heavily criticised handling of the deadly blaze in June 2017, a senior watchdog figure has said. (FT)

Meghan Markle wins UK privacy lawsuit The Duchess of Sussex won a high-profile privacy claim against the Mail on Sunday after the newspaper published extracts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father. (FT)

Vaccine Q&A Clive Cookson, science editor in London, and Hannah Kuchler, our pharma and biotech reporter in New York, will answer your questions about vaccine rollouts and emerging variants of the virus throughout the day on Friday February 12. Leave your questions for them in the comments.

Economic data The UK releases gross domestic product data for the fourth quarter on Friday, with Japan following with preliminary figures on Sunday. India releases consumer price index figures for January and industrial production figures for December on Friday. (FT, FXStreet)

Earnings round-up Dominion Resources, Moody’s and Asahi report. (FT)

Navalny protests A Moscow court is set to resume a criminal case against Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny for the suspected slander of a Russian second world war veteran on Friday, while protesters have been urged to shine their mobile phone flashlights and light candles in the shape of hearts on Valentine’s Day. (WaPo, Guardian)

Catalan election The Spanish region will elect its parliament on Sunday after a court annulled a plan to move the vote to May, with all 135 seats up for grabs. (Reuters)

Will Malka’s bet on Robinhood pay off? When Robinhood needed cash quickly, it didn’t turn to its oldest or largest financial backer. It called on Micky Malka, a Venezuelan venture capitalist known for his fintech Rolodex. Now the low-key figure’s conviction will be tested as Robinhood prepares for a politically contentious public listing. (FT)

Why students are in revolt The pandemic has reignited disputes over the cost and value of higher education, as students fight for rent reductions to university-owned accommodation. With coronavirus having an effect on teaching, social life and mental and physical health, the long-term problems facing higher education are becoming all too apparent. (FT)

University Students life

A new force in English football finance As players compete in empty stadiums, clubs shun flashy signings and once-fat TV revenues shrink, an unlikely force has emerged in English football: MSD Partners, a US firm that invests some of PC pioneer Michael Dell’s fortune. (FT)

Calling time on cheap money Over the past decade, central bankers started to offer a framework for how they would respond to future economic data, hoping to reduce the chance of market shocks. The Federal Reserve has taken this so-called “forward guidance” to a new level that seems dangerous, writes Gillian Tett. (FT)

We need to stop pathologising uncomfortable feelings Jemima Kelly worries that we live in a world that increasingly pathologises normal — even necessary — human emotions such as stress, mild anxiety or discomfort. This devalues the experiences of those who suffer from truly debilitating mental illness, trauma or psychological abuse. (FT)

Britain’s post-Brexit role as ‘global broker’ Gideon Rachman talks to Robin Niblett, director of the Chatham House think-tank and economist Linda Yueh, visiting professor at the London School of Economics, about Britain’s place on the world stage. (FT)