24 May

@lyle_h_hill

24 May

Good morning,

The story of the barbaric bombing in Manchester dominated our screens and radios yesterday, and continues to lead headlines this morning.

As the day unfolded, more information arose about the attack; the first victims were identified and the attacker, 22 year old Salman Abedi, was named. ISIS claimed responsibility, but its statement contradicted key elements of the attack.
 
Stories of countless heroes surfaced in a steady stream throughout Tuesday afternoon, including a homeless man who ran into the danger of the Manchester Arena to help the injured even as others fled the scene.

 
These stories, and the thousands of other kind acts that remain untold, point to the togetherness and strength of a vibrant city. A vigil held at 6pm in Manchester was attended by thousands, and in a sign of solidarity similar vigils were held throughout the country.
 
Further afield, world leaders sent condolences and messages of support. Angela Merkel voiced her “sorrow and horror” at the attack and US presidents past and present spoke of the enduring relationship between the UK and America.
 
Theresa May addressed the country in front of Downing Street and chaired a meeting of Cobra, before travelling to Manchester to meet first responders and those affected. Campaigning in the General Election has been suspended, possibly until the end of the week. Late last night, the prime minister announced that the terror threat level has been raised to its highest level of ‘critical’.
 
Undoubtedly, more details will emerge today of the horrific attack, but alongside the immense sadness stand the stories of great kindness in a time of need and demonstrations of society at its best. 

 

NEWS

Today Donald Trump travels to Italy to meet Pope Francis and Italy's senior political leaders in the third leg of his overseas trip. Pope Francis and Trump have not always seen eye-to-eye, after the Pope criticised Trump's border wall with Mexico as "not Christian". After they meet, Trump will fly to Brussels for a Nato summit.
 

Counter terror police have arrested a man at Stansted Airport on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism. It was thought the man, 37, was attempting to travel to Syria. The police were quick to reassure that his arrest had no known links to the Manchester attack.
 

The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has cut short a trip to Russia and has imposed martial law in his home region of Mindanao. There has been reports of clashes between security services and groups linked to islamic militants. The move raises fears about the spread of militancy in the South Philippines and Duterte authoritarianism.
 

Roger Moore, the actor and UNICEF ambassador, most famous for his portrayal of James Bond, has died at the age of 89. Moore died following a "short but brave" battle with cancer, surrounded by his family.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

The rating agency Moody’s has downgraded China’s sovereign credit rating, confirming concerns over a lack of economic reforms to transform China’s economic model. The move to reduce the appetite for Chinese bonds and has been condemned by the Chinese finance minister
 

The agriculture arm of Glencore has made an “informal” takeover bid for rival grain merchant Bunge. Bunge has an annual revenue of close to $43 billion and is regarded as a global giant of agriculture trading.
 

The problems for Barclays do not seem to be subsiding, as the bank is being sued by US-based credit card company CCUK for £1.6 billion. The suit is in relation to mis-selling PPI insurance at a subprime lending business that CCUK bought from Barclays in 2007.
 

Mark Carney has followed in the footsteps of Barclays’ CEO Jes Staley and apparently been duped by an email prankster posing as the Chairman of Bank of England’s court. The exchange was convivial in nature, but may still raise concerns about Carney’s judgement.

 

MARKETS

The FTSE 100 looked as if it would end the day in positive territory, but a late slide meant that the benchmark index finished down 11.05 points or 0.15% at 7,485.29.

Retailers dragged the FTSE down, as Kingfisher and Marks and Spencer were the biggest losers on the day. Kingfisher fell 2.4% and Marks and Spencer, which is due to issue full year results today, fell by 2%.

Babcock had a more positive day, as its share rose almost 3% on the back of positive broker sentiment. Deutsche Bank issued a note saying the stock could climb when the group publishes its results today.

Finals
Babcock International Group, Great Portland Estates, Lombard Risk Management, Marks & Spencer Group, Mitie Group, Vedanta Resources

 

Interims
Hollywood Bowl Group, Britvic, Sanderson Group, ZPG Plc

AGMs
Exova Group, Glencore, Hilton Food Group, Northern Petroleum, Sportech, Travis Perkins

 

Int. Economic Announcements
(07:00) GFK Consumer Confidence (GER)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(14:00) House Price Interest (US)
(15:00) Existing Home Sales (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

 

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Roger Boyes, writing in The Times, points to Trump's Defence Secretary James Mattis as the catalyst behind Trump's changing stance on Nato. He argues that the bookish general is acting as a moderating influence.

Gaby Hinsliff, writing in The Guardian, outlines her personal connection to Manchester and argues that the Manchester attack reminds all parents of the fear of losing a child and to be grateful for every "mundane, ordinary moment".

 

DID YOU KNOW?

On this day in 1844, Samuel Morse taps out "What hath God wrought" in the world's 1st telegraph message.

 

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY

House of Commons

In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.
 
House of Lords 

In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.

Scottish Parliament

Portfolio Questions: Economy, Jobs and Fair Work

Scottish Government Debate: Safe, Secure and Prosperous: Achieving a Cyber-resilient Scotland


TOMORROW

Scottish Parliament


First Minister's Questions

Stage 1 Debate: Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Bill