27 April

@cstreetpartners

27 April

Good morning,

Prime Minister Theresa May set a new record for the longest Prime Minister’s Questions as she went head to head with Jeremy Corbyn in the final session before the general election yesterday. The session lasted 58 minutes - nearly double the scheduled time.
 
May hammered her message home with at least 30 mentions of the word "strong" and 16 of "stable" while Tory MPs made sure the Prime Minister said nice things about their respective constituencies.
 
With just over six weeks until Britain goes to the polls, May took aim at Corbyn accusing him of "not being fit to run this country”. The Labour leader hit back, saying the Tories were "strong against the weak and weak against the strong".
 
But if you think things are tense at home, across the pond President Donald Trump summoned all 100 members of the US Senate for a briefing by his war cabinet on the mounting tensions with North Korea.
 
It has been revealed the US is to tighten sanctions against the North and step up diplomatic moves to force the country to end its nuclear and missile programmes.
 
Meanwhile an American submarine loaded with Tomahawk missiles surfaced in a port in South Korea as the military muscle-flexing on both sides continues.

 

NEWS

Two of Britain’s biggest football clubs, Newcastle United and West Ham United, were raided yesterday in an international criminal investigation into “secret payments” allegedly made to Premier League players and their agents. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) deployed 180 officers across the UK and France to investigate the suspected income tax and National Insurance fraud amounting to £5m.
 
A large explosion followed by fire has hit in the area of Damascus International Airport this morning. Some social media users reported air strikes at Syria's Mezzeh Military Airport in Damascus as well as at the international airport. The Times of Israel suggested the explosion could have been an air strike by Israel.
 
A cheap and widely available drug could save the lives of one in three new mothers who bleed to death after childbirth, mostly in poorer countries. According to the first study of its use in postpartum haemorrhage, the drug, called tranexamic acid or TXA, cut the number of deaths due to post-partum bleeding by 31 percent if given within three hours. The treatment costs about $2.50 in most countries.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

The White House unveiled a new tax reform plan yesterday in a move that will simplify the US tax system. The plan would cut the US’s individual income tax brackets from seven to three (10%, 25% and 35%), slash US corporate tax rates from 35% to 15% and eliminate inheritance taxes. Dubbed the most important changes to US taxes since 1986, when President Reagan, Donald Trump’s plan is alarming lawmakers who worry it will balloon federal deficits. The proposals are likely to cost $2tn-plus.
 
President Donald Trump decided not to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, Nafta. US will instead start talks to bring trade deal with Mexico and Canada “up to date”.
 
The Chief Executive of Airbus, Thomas Enders, is being investigated by prosecutors in Austria for suspected fraud. The focus is on 2 billion-euro (£1.7bn) Eurofighter warplanes Austria purchased over a decade ago. Austria’s defence ministry has alleged Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium misled decision-makers about the purchase price.

Vodafone is to raise its prices for customers whose contracts have expired but who continue to use the network. The price hike, which takes effect in June, follows an inflation-linked rise to its monthly charges in March.

 

MARKETS

London’s FTSE 100 posted a positive finish yesterday as markets awaited President Trump's big announcement on tax.
 
The blue-chip benchmark closed up over 13 points, or 0.18% at 7,288.
 
Standard Chartered shares rose 4% after its quarterly profit nearly doubled from a year ago as the bank brought loan losses under control.
 
Pharmaceutical stocks were the biggest drag on the FTSE, retreating from the previous session's gains. 
 
GlaxoSmithKline fell 2.06%, while Shire dropped 0.6%.
 
The FTSE 250 index of mid-cap stocks was also higher at 19,678 - up over 96 points.
 
The pound was down 0.37% against the dollar at $1.2440, and fell 0.29% against the euro at 1.1663 euros.

Finals
Air Partner, Allied Minds, Avocet Mining, Brown (N) Group, Deltex Medical Group, Gaming Realms, Harvey Nash Group, Morses Club, Styles & Wood Group

Interims
C4X Discovery Holding

Trading Announcements 
Aggreko, Berendsen, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, WPP

UK Economic Announcements
(7:00) Nationwide House Price Index

AGMs
Aggreko, Alliance Trust, AstraZeneca, Berendsen, Cobham, Countrywide, CRH, EP Global Opportunities Trust, FDM Group, Franchise Brands, Green & Smart Holdings, Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group, Just Eat, LSL Property Services, McColls Retail Group, Meggitt, Minoan Group. Patagonia Gold, Persimmon, Satellite Solutions Worldwide, Schroders, Synectics, Synthomer, Taylor Wimpey, Unilever, Weir Group, Witan Investment Trust

Quarterly Results 
AstraZeneca, Lloyds Banking Group

 

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Owen Jones a columnist, author and political activist with a democratic socialist perspective admits in The Guardian that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has only six weeks left to chip away at a colossal Tory poll lead. Referring to the repetitive nature of Theresa May’s answers during yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Jones says Labour also needs a clear message to hammer away. He concluded that, just like Podemos, a left-wing political party in Spain, and Barack Obama during the 2008 race against John McCain, Labour should focus relentlessly on optimism and hope.

From a different perspective, Ian Martin writing in The Times examines the popularity of Tory party and Prime Minister Theresa May. He writes, May is popular across all classes and “popular off the scale with older voters”. With Brexit, troubled Labour Party, collapsing Ukip and the geographical disctribution of the Lib Dem vote, May should expects a landslide victory. However, as the author concludes: “Recent history suggests that we should fear landslides.”

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Under a tradition sparked when smoking was banned in the chamber of the House of Commons in the late 17th century, snuff, or powdered tobacco, is distributed on demand and free of charge to MPs. Snuff is kept by a doorkeeper in a wooden snuffbox with a silver-plated lid at the threshold to the Commons chamber.

 

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY

House of Commons
Oral Questions
Exiting the European Union, including Topical Questions

House of Lords
Oral Questions
Ensuring electronic patient records are available to healthcare professionals on a national basis, with appropriate safeguards and patient consent - Baroness Manzoor

Legislation
Guardianship (Missing Persons) Bill - 3rd reading - Baroness Hamwee

Scottish Parliament
General Questions

First Minister's Questions
 

TOMORROW

House of Commons

No business scheduled

House of Lords
No business scheduled

Scottish Parliament
No business scheduled