20 October

@lyle_h_hill

20 October

Good morning, 

Yesterday we were treated to some sharp rebukes of both Theresa May and Donald Trump that have been designed to undermine both in periods of turmoil.

The British prime minister landed in Brussels to meet with EU leaders, in what was billed as a working dinner that would create new and dynamic Brexit talks. Her aim over the last few days has been to counter the assumption that Brexit negotiations have suffered a stuttering start.

No sooner had she disembarked was she met with a significant, and expertly timed, blow. The chief executive of Goldman Sachs, a bank that has been purchasing significant office space in Frankfurt due to Brexit, tweeted about his recent trip to the city.

"Just left Frankfurt. Great meetings, great weather, really enjoyed it. Good, because I'll be spending a lot more time there. #Brexit". Not the vote of confidence in Brexit Britain Mrs May would have been looking for.

Meanwhile, in the United States, two former presidents were giving speeches that have been widely interpreted as rebukes of their successor.

Of course, both Barack Obama and George W. Bush were wise enough not to name Donald Trump specifically, but with Obama urging Americans to reject the politics of "division and fear" and Bush calling for a halt to "bullying and prejudice" in public life, it really doesn't take an expert to work out who they could be referring to.

Former presidents tend to afford their successors a significant period of time before commenting publicly on issues. However, as highlighted by the Trump administration, convention seems to not count for much in American politics at the moment.

NEWS

David Davis has ordered Whitehall officials to draw up preparations for a "no-deal" Brexit, which he will present to Cabinet colleagues at the end of the month. This signals a change in strategy for Davis, but he is expected to be "upbeat" about the scenario, which may alarm some pro-Remain Cabinet members.

The director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, has warned that North Korea could have the capability to launch a nuclear strike on the United States within months. North Korea argues it already has this capability. Pompeo reinforced that the US prefers diplomacy and sanctions as a means to solve the crisis, but stressed that military options remained available.

Additional worries for US foreign policy can be found in the Kirkuk crisis. The city had been de facto ruled by Kurdish forces before the Iraqi government took back control earlier this week. The US will have to walk a fine line as they train and arm both the Iraqi army and the KResearch from Citizens Advice has found that major mobile phone companies, such as Vodafone, EE and Three, have been over charging customers.Research found that phone companies are continuing to charge for handsets in monthly packages well after the cost has been paid off. On average, this amounts to £22 a month extra.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Nicky Morgan, the chair of the Treasury select committee, has urged the Treasury to increase gender and ethnic diversity at the Bank of England by appointing more than just white men to senior positions. In a letter to the chancellor, Morgan has demanded figures showing the breakdown of applicants by gender to senior positions at the Bank.

BP's long serving chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, is to step down from his position at the oil giant next year. He became chairman in 2010 and oversaw the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Svanberg is also chairman of AB Volvo, in his native Sweden.urdish forces in the fight against IS.

Figures obtained by the MP David Lammy have revealed the dominance of the top two social income groups in admissions to Oxford and Cambridge.According to the statistics, four-fifths of all students admitted to the universities between 2010 and 2015 had parents in top professional or managerial jobs.

MARKETS

What happened yesterday?

Unilever ended the day down 5.49% after announcing lower than expected sales growth. The company announced that underlying sales in the third quarter of the year rose 2.6% to £13.2bn, but this fell short of analyst expectations and also underperformed the 3% growth seen in the first half of the year.

As is often the case, the consumer goods business cited poor weather in Europe and hurricanes in the US as reasons for slowing sales. Unilever led the FTSE 100 down and the blue-chip index closed 19.83 points lower at 7,523.04.

In wider economic news, UK retail sales figures came in weaker than expected, leading to a fall in sterling throughout the day. According to the Office for National Statistics, volumes dropped 0.8% in September, having risen in August. 

The pound fell 0.25% against the dollar to $1.31730 and fell 0.64% against the euro to €1.19680.

Finals
Oncimmune Holdings
 
Trading Announcements
InterContinental Hotels Group, Record, Renishaw
 
AGMs
Ashmore Group, Dechra Pharmaceuticals, Hadrian's Wall Secured Investments, Renishaw, Vast Resources

UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Public Sector Net Borrowing
(11:00) CBI Industrial Trends Surveys
 
International Economic Announcements
(07:00) Producer Price Index (GER)
(09:00) Current Account (EU)
(15:00) Existing Home Sales (US)

 

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Writing in the Financial Times, Martin Wolf believes that it is fanciful to think the UK could survive without a favourable deal with the EU. He is withering of those who argue that all we need for a successful Brexit deal is just a little bit of optimism.

Never one to sit on the fence, Owen Jones, writing in the Guardian, has called for British banks to be nationalised. He argues that it is time the institutions worked for "the good of communities", instead of "reaping profits for individuals".

DID YOU KNOW?

Sir Robert Walpole was Britain's first and longest serving prime minister. He held office for 20 years and 314 days from 4 April 1721 until 11 February 1742.

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY
 
House of Commons

Business
The House is expected to sit on this day to consider Private Members' Bills 

Legislation
Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill - 2nd reading - Chris Bryant
Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill - 2nd reading - Kevin Hollinrake
Health and Social Care (National Data Guardian) Bill - 2nd reading - Mr Peter Bone
Genocide Determination (No. 2) Bill - 2nd reading - Fiona Bruce
 
House of Lords
 
No business scheduled.