26 July


26 July

Good morning,


Donald Trump’s tweet yesterday, in his trademark flamboyant manner, perhaps best sums up the theme of the news over the past 24 hours.

The US president took to social media to celebrate the latest US employment figures and also a possible “major” US-UK trade agreement post-Brexit, appearing to suggest any deal would lead to the creation of new jobs. The endorsement from Trump will have been music to the ears of Liam Fox as the international trade secretary continues to downplay the controversy surrounding chlorinated chicken which overshadowed his first day in Washington.

While Fox may have had a better day yesterday, his colleagues back home were facing up to less encouraging news on the employment front. Research by a number of recruiters found the UK’s £170bn technology industry has suffered a sharp decline in the number of EU applicants, with the FT reporting that the number has fallen by as much as 10 per cent in the first quarter of this year. Uncertainty around the economy and new visa rules were cited as the principal concerns.

There were also warnings of the danger of understaffing in the NHS, as figures released showed a 12 per cent hike in the number of vacancies advertised in the past year. Janet Davies, the chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, warned that the figures were an underestimate of the true number of vacancies. The statistics also highlighted a shrinking nursing workforce, a trend the Nursing and Midwifery Council attributed to “low pay, relentless pressure and new training costs” that was deterring people from taking up the profession.

Finally, one job that appears to have no shortage of willing applicants is that of resident ‘panda cuddler’ at a zoo in China. The video of the zoo worker, dressed as a panda, playing with cubs to prepare them for life in protective wildlife had many people yesterday dusting down their CVs in the belief that they had found their true calling.


The UK government is today expected to announce that the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned from 2040. The dramatic move comes as part of the government’s bid to tackle air pollution and follows a similar pledge made earlier this month by President Macron of France. At the moment, less than 1 per cent of new cars sold in Britain run solely on electric power.

The US House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to impose fresh sanctions on Russia, though it is unclear whether President Trump will approve the bill. The House approved the sanctions in a 419-3 vote which underlines the strength of anger on Capitol Hill over alleged Russian interference. The bill will make it more difficult for Trump to ease disciplinary measures without the agreement of the Senate. (£)

A High Court judge will today decide where Charlie Gard can spend his final days following another dispute between his parents and hospital bosses. Great Ormond Street Hospital had ruled that Connie Yates and Chris Gard’s wish for him to spend it at home was impractical given the level of life-support needed and suggested a hospice was more suitable.

Business & Economy

BMW has confirmed that a fully electric version of the Mini will be built in the UK, delivering a major boost to the UK car industry. The car manufacturer said the “Mini E” will roll off the production lines from 2019 at its Oxford plant, considered the historic home of the iconic car, and guarantees the future of the 4,500 staff at the plant.

Donald Trump yesterday confirmed that Janet Yellen is in the running to serve a second term as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, saying that he had a “lot of respect” for her. His comments are viewed as a dramatic U-turn on his position before his election, when he conceded he would “most likely” not appoint Ms Yellen to serve another term. (£)

A survey by the CBI has found that factories are increasing production at the fastest rate in 22 years, suggesting that manufacturing may provide a boost for the economy as the dominant services sector begins to slow. The survey showed the highest growth in output since the mid-1990s, especially among food and drink manufacturers, which resulted in the biggest recruitment drive in three years. (£)


What happened yesterday?
The biggest stories yesterday came from the FTSE250, with Domino’s Pizza and Virgin Money posting significant share losses.

Domino’s closed yesterday down 5.5% having been down 7% earlier in the day. This was after announcing a drop in like-for-like sales growth from 13% last year to 2.4%, and despite seeing a 9% increase in profits for the half year to £44.6m.

Having warned that there could be some "areas of weakness" in the UK housing market, Virgin Media suffered a 9% fall in share price. However, having announced that they expect the housing market to remain "resilient", the bank reported a 26% rise in half-year underlying profits to £128.6m.

The FTSE 100 had a less eventful day, closing 57.09 points at 7,434.82. On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.1% against the dollar to $1.3041, and was stagnant against the euro at €1.1194.

Centaur Media, Capita, GlaxoSmithKline, ITV, Metro Bank, Tarsus Group, Unite Group

Evgen Pharma, Flybe Group, Halfords Group, Motorpoint Group, Mitie Group, PayPoint, Polar Capital Holdings, Vertu Motors

UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) BBA Mortgage Lending Figures
(09:30) GDP (Preliminary)

International Economic Announcements
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(15:00) New Homes Sales (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Columns of Note

In the FT’s Big Read, Richard Waters profiles car manufacturer Tesla, as it prepares to launch its first mass-market car. Having turned heads in the luxury car market, the Californian carmaker’s irrepressible chief executive Elon Musk is hoping the new Model 3 car will set them on the way to profitability. (£)

David Usborne writes in the Independent that Donald Trump’s recent behaviour is threatening to turn America into a country more like Turkey or Venezuela. He says Trump’s attempts to undercut the independence of his own judiciary and intimidate those who are investigating him is troubling and is even causing Republicans to push back on many of his actions.

Did you know?

Up until 2013, it was illegal in France to insult the president. The parliament lifted the ban on this day four years ago after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the law violated the freedom of expression. The ban – which saw those found guilty facing a fine – was introduced in 1881.

Parliamentary highlights


House of Commons

In recess until 5th September

House of Lords

In recess until 5th September

Scottish Parliament

In recess until 5th September