21 May 2019

Javier Maquieira

21 May 2019

Good morning,

Sunday left many of us hungry for more.
I’m talking about Game of Thrones series finale, of course. But fear not! A prequel is already in the making.
For nostalgics like me who struggle to let their favourite characters go, the film and TV industry’s evident obsession with sequels, prequels, remakes, and adaptations is nothing but good news.
And it’s only natural for the sector. Recycling and stretching stories is a cost-saving strategy that can actually secure higher earnings. Take Avengers: Endgame, for example, which stands as the fastest ever film to make $2 billion. Or the significant increase in cinema attendance in the UK, which reached 177 million visits in 2018 – its highest since 1970.
But taking no risks by appealing to an already existing fanbase comes at a price, and that’s less creativity in an industry that should aspire to keep us on the edge of our seats with new stories and characters. That’s maybe the reason why Pixar has decided to make Toy Story 4 its last sequel for a while.
In the UK, there hasn’t been a more stretched franchise than that of Brexit, starring the one and only Prime Minister Theresa May. The latest sequel of all, under the title of ‘Bold Offer on Brexit’, is set to be an improved version of the deal already rejected three times by the House of Commons.
As it has happened with other long-overdue spin-offs, however, Ms May’s “new” production isn’t expected to be much more creative than its original.
But the alternative story resembles a horror film – the scariest for the British cinema industry actually. As new research by Europa Cinemas has found, a hard Brexit could lead to a drop of six million admissions for UK films in Europe and for European films in the UK in only one year. Spooky, isn’t it?


Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned US President Donald Trump not to threaten Iranians following Mr Trump’s tweet on Sunday, in which he taunted the Middle Eastern country by writing that “if Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran.” The social media post marked a shift of tone after Trump’s downplaying of the possibility of a military conflict between both countries over the last few weeks.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will warn against the dangers of a no-deal Brexit as the Cabinet prepares for a debate on Theresa May’s “bold offer” today. This “improved” package includes legislative measures to guarantee workplace and environmental protections and “concerted government action” to find a solution to customs issues on the Irish border. The chancellor is also expected to tell industry chiefs that the UK government must insist on reaching a withdrawal agreement accepted by a majority in the parliament and the country.
Formula 1 champion Niki Lauda died overnight on Monday at the age of 70. The Austrian pilot, who won the world championship three times, passed away eight months after he had received a lung transplant. Out of the 171 races he completed, Lauda won 25. He also owned an airline and held senior roles in F1 management, most recently serving as non-executive chairman at Mercedes.

Business & Economy

The Trump administration granted a 3-month grace period to China’s Huawei that will allow US firms to continue operations with the tech giant. The decision comes after telecoms and tech companies in the US voiced concerns around a likely fallout that could cause much collateral damage to their businesses, especially in the case of chipmakers that supply Huawei. The Chinese company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, said that Mr Trump was underestimating Huawei and that the reprieve will not make any difference since the firm had already prepared for a potential blacklisting. (£)
Jaguar Land Rover reported a record annual loss of £3.6 billion following a 5.8% decline in vehicle sales in China, the business’ core growth market, and continental Europe. The loss also reflected costs associated with 4,500 redundancies booked in the final three months as part of a transformation programme that seeks to reach over £2.5 billion of investment and profit improvements by March next year.
Tesla is reportedly facing a “code red situation” after the company’s stock price closed down 2.7% at $205.36 per share – its lowest since December 2016. The results follow a note sent to clients by Wedbush analyst Dan Ives where he pointed to major concerns over the electric-car maker, such as the announcement of cost-cutting measures to employees or its focus on insurance, robo-taxis, and other projects instead of improvements in the company’s business model and expense structure.


What happened yesterday?
The London stock market closed in the red on Monday following concerns over Brexit uncertainty and trade relations between the US and China. The FTSE 100 was down 0.51% at 7,310.88, with the pound up against the dollar by 0.08% at $1.2719 but down on the euro by 0.01% at €1.1392.
The likely inclusion of the Northern Ireland backstop in Prime Minister Theresa May’s “bold” new Brexit deal has led to expectations of another failed vote in June. US technology companies like Google, Intel Corp, and Qualcomm stopped shipments to China’s Huawei following US President Donald Trump’s executive order as trade tensions between both countries escalate.
Housebuilders were among the stand-out losers on Monday, with Barratt Developments (down 4.37%), Persimmon (down 3.35%) Taylor Wimpey (down 3.43%), and Berkeley Group (down 3.33%) falling after Rightmove published a survey emphasising the weakness of the London market. The commercial flight industry was negatively affected by Ryanair’s (down 4.72%) profit drop, bringing EasyJet (down 3.41%) and Consolidated Airlines Group (down 1.30%) down with it.
On the upside, IT infrastructure provider Sofcat’s (up 1.01%) shares rose after full-year results exceeded expectations, while Greggs (up 3.93%) made gains following a rise in its target price as analysts praised its “excellent start” of the year.
In the US, the technology sector was hit by the Sino-US trade dispute, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.7% and 1.5% respectively. Apple (down 3.1%), Alphabet (down 2.1%), and Tesla (down 2.7%) all saw a decline in their stocks.

Bloomsbury Publishing
Big Yellow Group
First Derivatives
Halfords Group
Immedia Group
Scapa Group
Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust Ltd   
Severn Trent
Warehouse Reit
Greencore Group
Nexus Infrastructure
Premier Veterinary Group
Renew Holdings
Topps Tiles     
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company

Accesso Technology Group, Afarak Group (DI), BP, Concurrent Technologies, Corero Network Security, Epwin Group, Fidelity Japan Trust, Fresnillo, Contour Global, Greggs, Hilton Food Group, Harworth Group, Impax Environmental Markets, JTC, Lamprell, Mortgage Advice Bureau (Holdings), Marshall Motor Holdings, Mi-Pay Group, Metro Bank, NAHL Group, Non-Standard Finance, Provident Financial, Royal Dutch Shell 'A', Riverstone, Energy Limited, Restore, PJSC Centre For Cargo Container Traffic Transcontainer GDR (Reg S), Vitec Group, Warpaint London

UK Economic Announcements
(11:00) CBI Industrial Trends Surveys
Int. Economic Announcements
(15:00) Existing Home Sales (US)

Columns of Note

Writing in The GuardianNatalie Nougayrède warns about the banding of hard-right political leaders like Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán or Italy’s Matteo Salvini ahead of the European parliament elections this week. Against legitimising actions by these politicians regarding the bombing of Syria, she argues that the left has – unsurprisingly – remained silent, proving its tendency towards enabling autocrats seen as guardians of the west. Nougayrède concludes that these elections are the most defining for the EU since they are the first after the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House, the refugee crisis, and the UK’s decision to withdraw from the Union.
Stephen Bush writes in the NewStatesman that the summer vote that really matters is neither the European elections nor Theresa May’s Brexit agreement, but the one to choose the new leader of the Conservative Party in the UK. Bush argues that the only way to avoid a hard Brexit is by having an early election - something that most Conservative MPs do not want - as he hopes for a Conservative candidate softer than Boris Johnson on Brexit.

Did you know?

Over 3,500 children have been named after the Game of Thrones character Daenerys Targaryen (@qikipedia).

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons
Oral questions
HM Treasury (including Topical Questions)
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection) - Mrs Maria Miller
Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill: 2nd reading
Money Resolution
Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill - Mel Stride
Compensation for Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel following Christmas Island nuclear testing - Carol Monaghan
House of Lords
Oral questions
Ensuring free sanitary products will be available in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year - Baroness Burt of Solihull
Concerns raised by teachers in the survey on child poverty published by the National Education Union - Baroness Janke
Government plans to address increases in homelessness - Lord McNicol of West Kilbride
Inquiry into how family courts in England and Wales treat victims of domestic violence - Baroness Jenkin of Kennington
Kew Gardens (Leases) (No. 3) Bill [HL] - Committee stage - Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Report from the International Relations Committee 'UK foreign policy in a shifting world order' - Lord Howell of Guildford
Scottish Parliament
Time for Reflection
Professor Arthur Lyon Dahl PhD, International Environment Forum
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Portfolio Questions
Government Business and Constitutional Relations
Scottish Government Debate
It’s Time to End the Stigma of the Menopause
Committee Announcements
Business Motions
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Decision Time
Members’ Business
S5M-16134 Colin Beattie: International Museum Day
House of Commons
Oral questions
Northern Ireland
Prime Minister’s Question Time
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Unauthorised Encampments - Toby Perkins
Opposition Day Debate
Social mobility and inequality - Jeremy Corbyn
Racism in sport - Jeremy Corbyn
Suicide in the farming community - Chris Davies
House of Lords
Oral questions
When the Office for Environmental Protection will be operational - Baroness McIntosh of Pickering
Introduction of British Sign Language into the school examination curriculum - Lord Bruce of Bennachie
Maintaining appropriate standards in the delivery of free school meals - Baroness Boycott
The role of the devolved administrations in the governance of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth
Scottish Parliament
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee Debate: Business Support Inquiry
General Questions
First Minister’s Questions
Business Motions
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Decision Time
Members’ Business
S5M-16105 George Adam: Concern for Local Radio Content