25 July 2018

Scott Reid

25 July 2018

Good morning, 

As Westminster enters recess from today – which for the prime minister couldn’t come quick enough it seems -  I suggest we need to look elsewhere for our daily source of entertainment. 
Except, according to an Ofcom report on the nation’s viewing habits released last week, it might not be to sit back down in front of the telly. 
The Media Nations 2018 report found that the number of UK subscriptions to the three largest streaming services – Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky’s Now TV – hit 15.4 million in the first quarter of 2018, surpassing the number of pay TV subscriptions for the first time. By comparison the public service broadcasters (PSBs) posted a record low spend on originated content at £2.5 billion last year. 
The challenges to the PBSs are clear enough; invest in better quality control, improve digital accessibility and integrate services with social media to target younger demographics. Easy enough, right?
Happily, the old dogs of the TV landscape look to be teaching themselves new tricks. Over the weekend, news broke that the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 were in “advanced discussions” to create a shared streaming platform which would feature programmes from all three channels in one place.
Another suggestion has been mooted by the chief executive of Channel 4, Alex Mahon, who today calls on the government to introduce legislation that would ensure UK’s PBSs are displayed prominently on smart TVs and online video services in order to stay visible and relevant to the next generations.
Innovative ideas no doubt, although I would suggest it is always best to rely on your strengths. Whilst the Netflixes of our day may be great in pulling the viewer for the odd binge session here or there, the PBSs show that loyalty and authority on news pays. One tidbit hidden in the Ofcom report was that 75% of regular or occasional PBS viewers were still satisfied with their service and that tells me we aren’t willing to change the channel just yet.


Theresa May has announced she will take formal control of the UK’s Brexit negotiations with the EU, where new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab will act as her deputy. The move is a culmination of a power tussle between the Cabinet Office and the Dept for Exiting the EU (DExEU) which was reportedly among former Brexit secretary David Davis’ reasons for resigning earlier this month. (£)
Speaking to the House of Commons yesterday, Raab also shared the government’s intent to unveil emergency plans to ensure Britain has “adequate” food supplies in the event of a chaotic ‘no-deal’ Brexit. Health secretary Matt Hancock also announced that the NHS in England will begin stockpiling certain medicines and blood products in preparation.
More than 74 people have died in Greece following a wildfire near the village of Mati in the coastal Rafina region. Survivors have spoken of flames “that struck like a flamethrower” which forced them into the sea. Hundreds of firefighters continue to fight the blaze, which have been fanned by winds of up to 60mph.
Pakistan goes to the polls in a nationwide general election today in which the PTI party of former cricketer Imran Khan is hoping to beat ex-leader Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N. The campaign has been dominated by concerns of electoral violence with the Human Rights Comission claiming there have been “blatant” attempts to manipulate the polls. Nearly 106 million people are registered to vote for members of the lower house of parliament and four provincial assemblies.

 Business & Economy 

Up to 12,000 roles in financial services could leave the UK after Brexit, according to a senior leader with the City of London corporation. Catherine McGuinnes, who is the corporation’s policy chairwoman, said a so-called “Brexodus” would be staged, seeing a trickle of workers away from London in the long-term depending on the deal struck between the UK and EU. (£)
Parliament has given final consent for drilling company Cuadrilla to begin fracking at Britain’s first onshore shale gas wellat Lancashire’s Preston New Road site. Cuadrilla now plans to apply for consent to drill a second well on the Lancashire site in order to test both over a six month period before commercial production takes place.
Eon is preparing to announce about 500 job lossesin an effort to cut costs ahead of the introduction of an energy price cap by government. According to The Times, the German-owned energy supplier is expected to announce the redundancies next week, though final sign-off is thought still to be required. (£)


What happened yesterday? 
The mood on the London markets was jubilant yesterday, following a better-than expected survey of the UK’s manufacturing sector from the CBI and optimism among miners on news of China’s latest stimulus plans. By close of trading, the FTSE 100 was firmly in the green, ending up 53.26 points at 7,709.05, or 0.7% higher.

The CBI’s monthly Industrial Trends survey found the balance of manufacturing companies reporting higher orders by 3 more points than expected, at +11. Miners, rather than manufacturers, were the day’s main gainers, however, as Glencore (up 5.61%), BHP Billiton (up 5.73%), Anglo American (up 5.63%) and Rio Tinto (up 4.75%) all gained following the announcement of a Chinese stimulus package. Given China is the world’s second largest importer of minerals, any hints of a stimulus package, which the State Council implied may include deeper corporate tax cuts in its statement yesterday, was very welcome news.
Elsewhere, the banking sector also benefited as surging US and Japanese government bond yields were supported by expectations of monetary policy tightening. RBS (up 3.43%) led the sector, with HSBC (up 1.30%), Barclays (up 1.48%) and Lloyds (up 1.11%) all higher.
On the currency markets, the pound was up 0.3% against both the dollar at $1.31 and the euro at €1.12 to regain some ground it had lost over recent weeks.

Joules Group
Burford Capital
Capital & Counties Properties
Croda International
International Personal Finance
IP Group          
Metro Bank     
Primary Health Properties      
Quartix Holdings
Rathbone Brothers
Staffline Group
Tullow Oil
Q1 Results
QinetiQ Group
Wizz Air Holdings
Q2 Results

UK Economic Announcements
(09.30) BBA Mortgage Lending Figures
(11.00) CBI Distributive Lending Figures

Trading Announcements
Brewin Dolphin Holdings
Empresaria Group
3i Group
Vodafone Group
Advanced Oncotherapy          
Clear Leisure
Connemara Mining Co
Circle Property
Cropper (James)
Mediclinic International         
Palace Capital
Petrel Resources
Polar Capital Holdings
QinetiQ Group
QinetiQ Group
Richland Resources Ltd
System1 Group           
ULS Technology
Vertu Motors
Int. Economic Announcements
(09:00) IFO Business Climate (GER) 
(09:00) IFO Current Assessment (GER) 
(09:00) IFO Expectations (GER) 
(09:00) M3 Money Supply (EU) 
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US) 
(15:00) New Homes Sales (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Columns of Note 

Alex Brummer writes in the Daily Mail to applaud new legislation which will increase government control of large mergers and financial transactionswhere competition or national security may be at stake. He notes that the government has already missed a trick in this space, failing to intervene in the £24 billion purchase of British tech giant ARM by Japan’s Softbank in 2016. Looking ahead to Brexit, Brummer suggests technology and intellectual property transfer overseas may be the biggest threat to Britain’s economic ranking in the world.
Writing in the FT, Sarah O’Connor argues that increased consumption of luxury products should not detract from diminished economic prospects for millennials, particularly when buying their first home. O’Connor cites data that 25-34 year olds actually spend less than previous generations, and should focus on loosening credit standards in order to even the playing field.

Did you know? 

The word tintiddle refers to a witty retort you think of too late. 

Parliamentary highlights 

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