12 May

@cstreetpartners

Good morning,

 It’s official - Labour’s general election manifesto has been “unanimously” agreed after the party held its “Clause V” meeting yesterday.

Despite widespread criticism of the leaked manifesto dominating the media throughout the day, party leader Jeremy Corbyn insisted the policies will be “very popular”.  The policies are estimated to cost about £90 billion a year, with critics pointing towards a £30 billion black hole in Corbyn’s spending plans.

 The manifesto has already taken a bruising, just like the BBC cameraman whose foot was accidentally run over by a car taking Corbyn to the party meeting to discuss the document.

Policies designed to renationalise the railways and the Royal Mail, renewing Trident weapons and a promise to scrap tuition fees will all be put to the test on Election Day on 8th June.

Meanwhile, Theresa May was grilled over the state of the public services during a radio phone in. Against the odds, May took questions from members of the public on LBC radio. Nick Ferrari, the interviewer, pressed the Prime Minister on whether she would be raising taxes, but she declined three times to make that promise. The Prime Minister’s religious faith and love of cooking were also discussed.

Still loosely in the realms of politics, Eurovision fans can look forward to Lucie Jones representing the UK at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final in Kyiv this weekend. Jones will be performing her song Never Give Up On You, but the big question is whether the UK should give up on ever winning the contest since it gave up on the European Union.

News

Samurai swords, axes and air guns are among thousands of weapons seized from schools in England and Wales, Freedom of Information requests have shown. Press Association analysis of data from 32 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales showed 2,579 weapons had been found in two years to March 2017 - with children as young as five found to be carrying knives. The figures come amid a crackdown on knife crime in schools by some forces.

 In his first interview since firing the FBI director James Comey, US President Donald Trump told NBC News that it was his decision alone to sack Comey due to his performance at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and not about the Russia probe. Trump ran into resistance for calling ousted FBI chief James Comey a "showboat," an attack that was swiftly contradicted by top US senators and the acting FBI leader, who pledged that an investigation into possible Trump campaign ties to Russia would proceed.

A Russian-born billionaire must pay his estranged wife £453 million in what is believed to be the biggest divorce award ordered by a judge in Britain. The 61-year-old man, from the Caucasus, built up a fortune in the Russian energy business. The sum awarded to his 44-year-old spouse amounts to 41.5% of their "total marital assets".

Business & Economy

A London-based virtual reality firm has raised $500m (£388m) in one of the biggest investments in an early stage European technology business. Improbable, founded by two Cambridge graduates five years ago, said the funds will be invested in developing its technology and to recruit in London and San Francisco. SoftBank is buying a non-controlling stake, which would mean Improbable is worth at least $1.04 billion.

Emirates airlines has blamed fierce competition, currency devaluations and US travel restrictions as it reported an 82.5 per cent plunge in annual profits for the last fiscal year. The Dubai-based company said net profit at its airline business dropped to $340m in the year to March 31, down from $1.9bn in the previous 12 months - its first decline in annual profit for five years.

The South Korean government has ordered carmakers Hyundai and Kia Motors to recall about 240,000 cars, after a tip off from a whistleblower. This is the first time ever that the transport ministry has ordered a compulsory recall of Hyundai and Kia vehicles. It is a blow to Hyundai, which is already reeling from a record-low market share in its home market.

Markets

The pound fell sharply yesterday after the Bank of England's latest Inflation Report was seen as ruling out any rate rises for some time.

Sterling dropped 0.5% against the dollar to trade at $1.2872, while it also shed a similar amount against the euro to 1.1844 euros.

Rates were held at 0.25%, as expected, after a 7-1 vote by policymakers. 

The FTSE 100 closed on Thursday little changed at 7,386.63 increasing 1.4 points or 0.02%.

 There were three miners among the top five risers; Fresnillo was up five per cent, Randgold up 3.6% and Antofagasta was up 2.2%. They were boosted by a rise in the price of gold and copper.

The biggest fall was in Hikma Pharmaceuticals whose shares were down by 8.2% at the close of play after it reported that a second application for a cut-price version on an asthma and chronic lung disease medicine had been turned down by the US Food and Drug Administration. 

Centrica, the British Gas owner, fell a further 5.4% after it went ex-dividend and JP Morgan cut its rating to "underweight" from "overweight".

Finals

Harbourvest Global Private Equity (HVPE)

Hydrodec Group (HYR)

AGMs

Highcroft Investments (HCFT)

Interserve plc (IRV)

Menzies (John) plc (MNZS)

MTI Wireless Edge (MWE)

Provident Financial plc (PFG)

Symphony Environmental Technologies plc (SYM)

TT Electronics plc (TTG)

Tyman Plc (TYMN)

Annual Reports

Harbourvest Global Private Equity (HVPE)

EGMs

MTI Wireless Edge (MWE) 

International Economic Announcements

(7:00) Consumer Price Index (GER)

(10:00) Industrial Production (EU)

(13:30) Consumer Price Index(US)

(13:30) Retail Sales (US)

(15:00) Business Inventories (US)

(15:00)nU. of Michigan Confidence (Prelim) (US)

Columns of Note

Writing in The Times, Philip Collins examines the leaked Labour manifesto. The author criticizes the document as “reheated, rehashed, resigned, a sermon to the converted”. He insists that the general election has already been lost for Labour as they are yet to realise there can be no election victory for an avowedly left-wing platform. He concludes that Jeremy Corbyn would have to establish “a Ministry of Magic” to find the money to fund his ideas.

 From another perspective, Polly Toynbee, writing in The Guardian defends the Labour manifesto, saying it celebrates all that is urgently needed. She points out Jeremy Corbyn is committed to spend Nato’s required 2% on defence, and Labour is pledging to keep Trident despite Corbyn’s well-known opposition to nuclear weapons.  She concludes: “The long-term danger is that good policies in this manifesto will wrongly go down in history as “rejected” by voters – when all they will have rejected was Corbyn.”

Did you know?

Glitter is so unique that it can be effectively used as forensic evidence. There are thousands of different types of commercial glitters and any glitter found on a suspect can be compelling evidence that they were at a crime scene where an identical glitter particle was found.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY

House of Commons

In recess until 19 June

House of Lords

In recess until 19 June

Scottish Parliament

No business scheduled

 MONDAY

Scottish Parliament

No business scheduled