19 January

Lyle Hill

19 January

Good morning,

President Trump was back to the "day job" yesterday after his 2017 Fake News Awards and a medical health check-up dominated his time earlier in the week.

And Trump got off to a flying start. As his Republican colleagues at the Capitol building desperately tried to convince Democrats to avert an increasingly likely government shutdown, Trump was undermining their every move from his Twitter account.

 “CHIP should be part of a long-term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!” the president tweeted. The only problem being that it was in fact the Republicans who were proposing such a short term extension.

Republicans and Democrats have failed to reach agreement on a long term funding bill that would allow the government to keep running, and have already delayed negotiations through a previous stopgap effort. The main source of disagreement between the two parties is how to protect "Dreamers", the name given to children brought illegally to the US.

The Children's Healthcare Insurance Payment extension had been designed by Republicans to buy more time and the temporary bill was passed in the House of Representatives. But it encounters far more difficulty in the Senate, where the Democrats are more powerful.

With Trump's intervention, a government shutdown has been branded by some commentators as "almost inevitable", but as we know is nothing new. Shutdown debates plagued Obama early in his presidency. 

The difference is that instead of working with his counterparts to avert one, it looks like Trump is once again marching to the beat of his own drum.

News

Emmanuel Macron has rejected the prospect of a special deal for the City in any post-Brexit relationship. At a summit between the French president and Theresa May, Macron argued that if the UK wanted special access to the single market it would have to obey all of the bloc's rules. However, he was more receptive to Boris Johnson's suggestion of building a bridge across the Channel.

Researchers at John Hopkins University have trialled a method that could detect up to eight blood cancers in one annual test. Detecting multiple forms of blood cancer using one test has long been a goal in cancer diagnosis, and UK researchers have been quick to hail the news as "very exciting".

The US parents charged with torture after their 13 children were found shackled in their California home have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The couple were discovered after one daughter hatched a two year plan to escape and alert the authorities.

 

Business & Economy

An investigation by The Times has found that City traders are committing insider trading with impunity, as there has only been eight prosecuted cases in the last five years. The investigation finds that a large number of investors appear to be gaining confidential information from inside FTSE listed companies by analysing share price movements the day before major announcements.

According to analysis conducted by the UK estate agent Savills, the value of the UK's housing stock has risen by over a third in a decade. The £7.14 trillion value is concentrated to older homeowners as young people continue to be priced out of the market. Additionally, only around a fifth of this rise in value can be attributed to new developments.

Official filings have found that no government ministers met with Carillion following the company's profit warning in July 2017, despite the company going on to be awarded six central government contracts in the following months. Whitehall's departmental transparency data shows that between July and September no meetings took place between Carillion and any ministers from the Cabinet Office, the Department for Transport or the Ministry of Defence.

Markets

What happened yesterday?
The FTSE 100 fell again yesterday, following a run that had seen it breaking its record high or at least coming exceptionally close for some time.

The fall of 0.3% to 7,700 points was mainly down to Primark owner ABF. The diversified international food, ingredients and retail group dropped 3.6% after it announced that a sharper than expected drop in the sugar price had dipped sales in the sugar division. However, Primark had enjoyed a period of record sales over Christmas to bring some joy to the group.

The biggest riser in the UK's top index was Hargreaves Lansdown, up 4.3%. The rise came as Barclays Capital increased the company's target price by over 26% and doubled down on its 'overweight' rating ahead of interim results on February 6th.

On the currency markets, the pound had a strong day against the dollar, rising by 0.19% to $1.39200. But against the euro the pound struggled, slipping 0.1% to €1.13400.

 

Trading Announcements
Bonmarche Holdings
Record

AGMs
Character Group

UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Retail Sales
 
International Economic Announcements
(07:00) Producer Price Index (GER)
(09:00) Current Account (EU)

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