12 September 2018

Tom Gillingham

12 September 2018

Good morning,

I remember general incredulity when Apple first announced it was going to make a phone. Even in the heady days before the financial crash, it was hard to see how the company known for the iPod and the Mac could break into a mobile phone market that was still dominated by the likes of Nokia and Motorola.

Just over 11 years on, those fallen giants may just give Apple pause for thought as it hosts its new product event today. With analysts expecting iteration, rather than revolution, all eyes are on what the world’s most valuable company does next.

Its stock hit an all-time high earlier this month and these heavily-hyped biannual presentations are the cornerstone of Apple’s external communications strategy. Despite a concerted effort to build up excitement around what will be announced later today, there are still likely to be some faint warning lights – or more likely, unread notifications – blinking red on CEO Tim Cook’s dashboard. 

The high-end, $1,000 iPhone X has driven significant recent revenue growth for Apple, but competition in the smartphone market has never been tougher. The rapid evolution of the Huawei handsets is a clear indicator of China’s new status as a technological innovation powerhouse and South Korea’s Samsung continues to turn out feature-rich phones and tablets. 

In the face of this competition, it is interesting to see that some analysts expect iPhone upgrades to take a back seat to further innovation at Apple’s services and wearables businesses, which are innovating in areas like music and healthcare.   

If health data and the quantified self are central to Apple’s future growth ambitions, it is easy to see why the company has recently redoubled its emphasis on its privacy credentials – an area of perceived strength over its closest rivals.

However, for a company that has a mixed record of engaging with the media outside of its own slick set-pieces, better communication across the board will be crucial if it wants to credibly hold the high ground on privacy.

News

Conservative MPs opposed to Theresa May's Brexit plan met last night to discuss how and when they could force the Prime Minister out of power. About 50 members of the European Research Group (ERG) openly discussed the options available to them, and later today David Davis will reveal what they say is a solution to the Northern Ireland border issue.

The Independent leads on the news that staff vacancies in the NHS have increased nearly 10 per cent in the last three months. Experts from the Kings Fund think tank have blamed Brexit and warn of an unfolding “national emergency” with nearly 108,000 jobs unfilled.

The UK is now the third fattest nation in Europe, according to the World Health Organisation. Research on 53 countries found Britain rising up the obesity league tables, with excessive alcohol consumption levels identified as the primary factor driving this change.

Business & Economy

The 2008 financial crisis has left people's wages 3% below what they were a decade ago, according to new research for BBC by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. It shows that, on average, people's real annual wages are £800 lower and that people who are aged between 30 and 39 are now earning £2,100 a year less than people of the same age group in 2008.

JD Sports has benefitted from the recent resurgence in the popularity of sports fashion. Growing online sales and a positive in-store experience are they key factors that have helped the company report another period of record trading, with interim pre-tax profit increasing by 19 per cent (£).

Yesterday, the Chief Executive of Britain’s biggest car manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover, launched a scathing attack on Theresa May’s handling of Brexit. Ralf Speth's intervention came as Eurosceptics claimed there is “nothing to fear” about leaving the EU without a deal.

Markets

What happened yesterday?

It was a relatively flat day for the FTSE 100 yesterday, as it ended the day marginally lower. London’s blue chip index closed at 7,273.54 points, a 0.08% decrease.

Despite the EU apparently rowing back on some of the positive rhetoric regarding the prospect of a Brexit deal, the pound managed to hold on to most of the gains made after Michel Barnier said that a deal was possible in six to eight weeks. At the end of the day it was down 0.1% against the Euro. 

US stocks finished the day positively on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.44%, the S&P 500 up 0.37%, and the Nasdaq 100 up 0.81%.

This was despite intensifying worries about trade relations with China as the fallout over President Trump's trade strategy continues. China has asked the WTO for permission to place sanctions on the US.

Finals              
Dunelm Group
Galliford Try
OPM

Interims
Advanced Medical Solutions Group
Anexo Group
Concurrent Technologies      
Charles Taylor
Diversified Gas & Oil
Epwin Group
Forbidden Technologies
Futura Medical          
Goals Soccer Centres
IGas Energy
Medica Group
Ten Entertainment Group
Property Franchise Group

UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Claimant Count Rate

International Economic Announcements
(10:00) Industrial Production (EU)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(13:30) Producer Price Index (US)

Columns of Note

Nick Cohen writes in the Spectator that an insurgent Remain campaign could win a second EU membership vote, and that the process would destroy both the Labour and Conservatie parties . He suggests the right wing of the Conservative Party could motivate voters into chosing remain in any future referendum.

In the Guardian, Rachel Shabi writes that the left must restore the ties between antisemitism and other racism. In the wake of the antisemitism row that engulfed Labour for most of the summe, she advocates for a new alliance of black, Asian, Muslim and Jewish people, asking that organisations tackle antisemitism but also link it to work on tackling other racism.

Did you know?

Phobophobia is the fear of having a phobia. Symptoms can include increased heart rate, dizziness, excessive sweating and feeling faint.

Parliamentary Highlights

TODAY

House of Commons
Oral questions
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office (including Topical Questions)

Prime Minister's Question Time

General debate
The Salisbury Incident

House of Lords
Oral questions
Plan to make representations to the General Medical Council on conducting a review of the training on eating disorders provided to medical students and junior doctors - Baroness Parminter
 
Reducing the incidence of Spina Bifida and related conditions resulting from neural tube defects - Lord Rooker
 
The increasing prevalence of gambling advertising, as reported in the Gambling Commission’s 'Review of online gambling' - The Lord Bishop of St Albans

Scottish Parliament
Portfolio questions
Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

Scottish Government Debate: Suicide Prevention Action Plan: Every Life Matters

TOMORROW

House of Commons

Oral questions
International Trade

House of Lords
Oral questions
Current major Russian military exercises, Vostok-2018 - Lord Lee of Trafford
 
Scottish Parliament
First Minister's Questions

Continuation of Scottish Government Debate: Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2018-19