16 Aug 2018

Adam Shaw

16 Aug 2018

Good morning, 

The NHS has a “responsibility to society” to make money out of patient data rather than allow the profits to be captured by US technology companies. That is the view of Lord Drayson, a former science minister, in today’s edition of The Times.
 
Patient data has been the subject of debate for years: are you ready for Dr Google? As a long-standing, state operated, integrated system, the NHS has a uniquely comprehensive health data set – a potential information gold mine for medical researchers trying to develop life-saving treatments.
 
Concerns about data privacy are understandable, particularly following the controversy surrounding the agreement between DeepMind, an artificial intelligence company, and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, which the Information Commissioner’s Office ruled had breached the Data Protection Act. Furthermore, IT systems and the NHS have not been synonymous with data security in recent years.
 
However, if the NHS were able to offer appropriate, anonymised access to researchers, it could result in life-saving treatments reaching patients sooner, as well boosting funding for an increasingly stretched health service. Our universities are already producing world-changing intellectual property in life sciences and technology – imagine what they could do with this data.
 
The value of the data is not in dispute. Perhaps more could be persuaded of it if we wrote it on the side of a bus? 

News

President Trump has revoked the security clearance John Brennan, a former director of the CIA. A statement read by Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, cited Brennan’s “erratic conduct and behaviour”. Brennan has been a vocal critic of Trump and responded in a tweet, saying that the move was part of a broader effort to "suppress freedom of speech and punish critics". It is customary in the US for former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to continue to have access to classified information so that they can consult with their successors and as a professional courtesy.
 
Figures in the Italian government have sought to redirect anger about the Genoa Bridge collapse which killed 39 people, laying the blame for the tragedy at the feet of big business and the European Union. Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister, declared a 12-month state of emergency and stated he would revoke the licence to run Italy’s toll motorways held by private company Autostrade. Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, which is part of the coalition government, suggested that European Union spending limits were to blame. (£)
 
The number of young people who think it is worth going to university has fallen significantly over the last five years, according to new research. An Ipsos Mori poll, conducted on behalf of the Sutton Trust, surveyed 2,381 children between the ages of 11 and 16 years old. It found that 75% think it is important to enter higher education to do well – down from 86% in 2013. This comes on the day that hundreds of thousands of students are bracing themselves for their A-level results.

 

Business & Economy 

Uber has reported a loss of $659 million in the second quarter of 2018 – an increase on the $577 million loss it booked in the first three months of the year – with expenses outpacing revenue growth as the ride-hailing company boosted spending on food delivery, bike sharing, and expansion in international markets. Uber is due to float next year, however, chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi has said he does not think the company needs to be profitable before going public. (£)
 
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is reported to have issued Tesla with a subpoena following a tweet from chief executive Elon Musk in which he said he was considering taking the company private at $420 a share. In the post, which led to Tesla shares soaring 11% on the day, Musk said the financing for such a transaction had been “secured”. It is this “funding secured” aspect which the SEC is understood to be looking into, with Musk’s claims alleged to be misleading.
 
The New Zealand government has banned foreigners from buying homes in the country as it bids to tackle surging house prices and “restore the dream of home ownership”. Property in New Zealand is amongst the most expensive in the world when compared with average income and wealthy overseas investors have been purchasing ranches in picturesque rural areas and suburban Auckland. The move will not affect those who have already own a property, foreigners with residency status, or people from Australia and Singapore due to existing free-trade deals. The legislation also still allows overseas buyers to make limited investments in large apartment blocks and hotels.

Markets 

What happened yesterday?
Global stocks tumbled yesterday on the back of potential risks emanating from emerging markets, with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which captures large and mid cap representation across 24 emerging market countries, entering bear territory having fallen more than 20% since January.
 
Events in Turkey and China appear to be weighing particularly heavily on the minds of investors. The Turkish Lira rallied yesterday following news of a $15 billion loan from Qatar aimed at shoring up the banking sector, however, it has still lost more than a third of its value since January.
 
Further east, worries about slowing growth and trade tensions with the US have led to heavy losses amongst Chinese stocks.
 
Here in the UK, the FTSE 100 was down 113.77, or 1.49%, to 7,497.87 – its lowest level since April.
 
Mining stocks had a poor session, hitting two-year lows as the stronger dollar put pressure on metal prices. Fresnillo was the day’s worst performer, shedding 7.79%, however, Anglo American, Glencore, Antofagasta, Evraz, Randgold Resources, and BHP Billiton were all down more than five percent, whilst Rio Tinto fell 3.32%.
 
Admiral was the session’s strongest performer, gaining 3.2%, after it reported higher than expected half-year profits. Fellow insurer Direct Line followed in Admiral’s wake, rising 1.58%.
 
GlaxoSmithKline also had a good day, climbing 1.95%, after it announced positive trial results of a once-a-month HIV treatment.
 
In the US, the S&P 500 fell 0.76% to 2,818.37, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.54% to 25,162.41, and the Nasdaq was down 1.23% to 7,774.12.
 
On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.02% against both the euro and the dollar at €1.1187 and $1.2694.

 

Finals
Fusion Antibodies, Filtronic, Rank Group
 
Interims
Allied Minds, Bank of Georgia Group, Capital Drilling Ltd. (DI), CableVision Holdings S.A. GDS, Kaz Minerals, Tribal Group
 
Trading Announcements
Kingfisher
 
AGMs
Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund Limited

AGMs
Afritin Mining Limited NPV
John Laing Environmental Assets Group Limited
Origo Partners
 
UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Retail Sales
 
International Economic Announcements
(10:00) Balance of Trade (EU)
(13:30) Building Permits (US)
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13:30) Housing Starts (US)
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)

 

Columns of Note 

The New Statesman’s George Eaton contends that the government’s latest attempt to deflect blame for rising rail fares by blaming the unions will not work, stating that public anger is directed primarily at the government and private rail firms. He acknowledges that few are nostalgic for the days of British Rail but highlights that companies owned by the German and Dutch governments are now operating UK rail franchises. Eaton concludes by saying that state ownership is “not an invariable good” but that the “dogmatic preference for the private sector has not served the public interest”.
 
Writing in The Times, Iain Martin maps out how a pragmatic Brexit deal can still be found even as the clock ticks down – the “no-deal deal”. He argues that elected governments can get a lot done when they need to and that a limited transition agreement could be agreed followed by an intense period of “problem solving” from December 2018 to March 2019. This, Martin says, is the “pragmatic way coming into view” between the hard-Brexiteers and ultra-remailers. (£)

Did you know? 

In 2008, Swansea Council was looking to halt heavy goods vehicles using a particular road. As all official road signs in Wales are bilingual – English and Welsh – an official emailed the in-house translation service to seek the Welsh version of: “No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only”.

The response they received was, “Nid wyf yn y swyddfa ar hyn o bryd. Anfonwch unrhyw waith i’w gyfieithu,” which was promptly displayed on the sign.

Little did they know that the reply was an out of office and the sign now read, “I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated”.

 

Parliamentary highlights 

House of Commons
In recess until 4 September 2018
 
House of Lords
In recess until 4 September 2018
 
Scottish Parliament
In recess until 4 September 2018