15 August


15 August

Good morning,

Standing in the queue to collect Edinburgh Fringe tickets last week, I got chatting to a friendly American couple.

“Where are you guys from?” I asked with a smile. Their reaction to my seemingly innocent question surprised me. I would have expected the same look of alarm on the faces of two people about to be mugged.

“Chicago,” the woman answered, quickly adding “but we didn’t vote for Trump". It was clear that they were well practiced at having to caveat their answer to the question of their origin.

President Trump’s initial reaction to the events in Charlottesville at the weekend must have only heightened their embarrassment. After two days of criticism, he finally bowed to political pressure last night and explicitly condemned white supremacists. In a departure from his usual style, Trump read from a teleprompter. He declared that “racism is evil” and singled out “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans”.

Many are hoping Trump’s presidency will only last four years. The UK’s decision to to leave the European Union, if and when implemented, is far more permanent. Yesterday, we were given more detail about the government’s hopes regarding the UK's future relationship with the EU.

A “temporary customs union” to prevent a cliff edge for businesses is one possible outcome. After that, the UK will seek either a “highly streamlined” border with the EU or a “new partnership” with no customs border at all.

The clock continues to tick. As Downing Street said several months ago, the UK will leave the EU “when Big Ben bongs midnight on the night of 29th March 2019”.  Hang on a minute


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reviewed plans to fire missiles towards Guam and will instead wait and watch what “the foolish Yankees do”. A report on state news agency KCNA – the regime’s mouth piece – said that Kim Jong-un had examined the plan and discussed it with senior military officials who remain prepared for “the enveloping fire at Guam”. Analysts have said it could mean Pyongyang is not ready to launch a full attack or could just be playing for more time.

Bernard Kenny, the 79-year-old man who was stabbed and seriously injured when he intervened in the attack on Jo Cox, died yesterday. Mr Kenny was awarded the George Medal, the highest award for gallantry in a non-combat situation, for his actions on that day. His family said he would “forever be remembered as a hero”. As a miner and member of the Gomersal Mines Rescue team, he had also tried to save victims of the Lofthouse pit disaster in 1973. The injuries he sustained in the June 2016 attack are not believed to be related to his death.

A girl has been killed and thirteen others injured after a man crashed his car into a pizzeria on the outskirts of Paris. French police have said it was a deliberate act and described the driver, who has been taken into custody, as mentally unstable. He was not known to intelligence services, nor did he have a criminal record. Eric de Valroger, the deputy public prosecutor, said: “At this stage this is not a terrorist inquiry.”

Business and Economy

In an executive order signed last night, President Trump has ordered Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, to determine whether Chinese policies, practices or actions that may be harming US intellectual property, innovation and technology warrant a formal, fuller investigation. In an article for the Financial Times, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross outlined why the administration is taking this action, saying that IP theft and expropriation costs US businesses $600 billion a year with China the primary culprit. Beijing has warned that the president would “poison the overall China-US relationship” if he politicised trade between the countries.

Sainsbury’s has delayed plans to buy convenience chain Nisa until the Competition and Markets Authority rules on Tesco’s £3.7 billion takeover of Booker – a decision which is expected in October. According to a source quoted in The Telegraph, “Sainsbury’s has decided to pause discussions with Nisa until it better understands how the CMA would review any deal”.

Oozi Cats, the chief executive Telit Communications, has resigned over alleged links to a 25-year-old fraud in Boston. Cats left his position at the Aim-listed technology company with immediate effect following an urgent review, conducted by law firm Cameron McKenna, after an Italian newspaper alleged that he had “knowingly withheld” a US indictment.


What happened yesterday?

European shares rallied yesterday as the bellicose rhetoric between the US and North Korea eased.

The FTSE 100 ended the day up 43.93 points or 0.6% at 7,353.89

Travel firm Tui led the way, climbing 4.8% after Credit Suisse changed its rating on the stock from “underperform” to “neutral” 

Financial and mining stocks, which were amongst the biggest losers last week, also made gains. On its first day of trading as a single entity, shares Standard Life Aberdeen rose 3.2% to 424p. Standard Chartered climbed 2.1%, Prudential rose 1.4% and Glencore was up 3.1%.

On the currency markets, the pound fell 0.22% against the dollar to $1.2982 and was up 0.09% against the euro at 1.1014 euros.


Hargreaves Lansdown


Georgie Healthcare Group, H&T Group, Jackpotjoy, Mears Group, Marshall Motor Holdings, PJSC MNC Norilsk Nickel ADR, Menzies (John), Telecom Egypt SAE GDS (Regs)


Acorn Income Fund Ld, Castings, Downing One VCT, Falcon Media House Limited

UK Economic Announcements

(09:30 Consumer Price Index

(09:30) Retail Price Index 

International Economic Announcements

(07:00) GDP (Preliminary) (GER)

(09:30) Producer Price Index

(13:30) Import and Export Price Indices

(13:30) Retail Sales (US)

(15:00) Business Inventories (US)

Columns of note

Writing in The Times, Hugo Rifkind contends that centrists who talk of the need for a new party to fill the void must accept that they are essentially conservatives as, unlike Brexiters, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, they do not want the UK to change at all.

In a scathing blog for the Institute of Economic Affairs website, Kristian Niemietz critiques Nick Timothy’s attack on free markets and subsequent call for “post-liberal conservatism”. Niemietz argues that Timothy cannot be considered a profound, challenging and original thinker by being “notionally on the right but peddling vacuous anti-market platitudes”. 

Did you know?

If the Sun was the size of a white blood cell, and the Milky Way Galaxy was shrunk down using the same scale, it would be the size of the continental United States. 

Parliamentary Highlights


House of Commons

In recess until 5th September

House of Lords

In recess until 5th September

Scottish Parliament

In recess until 5th September