28 July 2018


28 July 2018

Good morning, 

Did you sleep well last night? With the scorching heatwave, it’s unlikely that you did. However, one ‘opportunity’ of weather-induced sleeplessness is the rediscovery the hours that you typically lose to your subconscious. Considering the recent spate of fascinating news and topics of note, there has been much to ponder during the midnight hour.

How’s this for starters: is there life on Mars? A discovery by Marsis, a European Space Agency orbiter covering Mars, has led to researchers finding evidence of an existing body of water on the red planet’s subsurface. European scientists suspect that the Martian lake is 12 miles across, one-metre-deep, and coolly trapped beneath a layer of ice. Sounds rather refreshing in this heat. When’s the next flight to Mars?
We haven’t quite reached silly season just yet, despite the Central line on the London Underground challenging Helmand province, Afghanistan, for higher temperature. To get a better picture of how we might continue to cope in sweltering Britain, I took a look at previous years of Saharan Surrey and Costa del Cumbria. Did you know, for example, that in 1976 the government introduced a ‘Minister for Drought’, Mr Denis Howell, whose job was to convince the public to use less water? 
Howell was even asked to do a rain dance by the PM. Clearly, whatever Howell did worked, as two years later he was made Minister for Floods, before transitioning to Minister for Snow. An amusing reminder that things can change in a flash.


North Korea has returned remains believed to be of US troops killed during the Korean War, the latest move in the cautious diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang. American soldiers formed an honour guard as the plane carrying the remains touched down at a US base in South Korea. The repatriation was agreed at the June summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un. 
The day before you go on holiday is always terribly stressful. There’s that horrid feeling of wondering ‘everything that is meant to be switched off, switched off?’ Spare a thought, then, for Theresa May, who is spending the day before her Italian holiday in Austria for Brexit talks after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator rejected a key element of her new plan.  
Thunderstorms are predicted to dampen the UK today and prevent so-called ‘Furnace Friday’. Who, out of the current crop of politicians, would make for an interesting Minister for Storms? There is hardly a shortage of suitable candidates.


Business & Economy 

Amazon’s quarterly profits have hit $2bn, a new record. The Financial Times’ analysis holds that diversification into cloud computing and total dominance of the online retailing sector has driven this latest set of results. 
An independent review has been set up to consider whether or not we need to begin to drop cash for more contactless payments. The Access to Cash Review will consider the rapid rise of new technologies in payment over the next five to fifteen years. It will be headed up by the former chairman of the Financial Ombudsmen Service, Natalie Ceeney. It will gather information over the next six months. 
As the prime minister prepares to jet off for her summer breaks to Italy and Switzerland, the TUC have released analysis claiming that one in 12 workers miss out on their legal holiday entitlement. The organisation said that in the UK there are 1.2 million workers receiving no annual leave at all. It also showed that 9.2% of female workers and 7.2% of male workers are losing out on their holiday entitlements, and that agriculture, mining and food services were the most common sectors for holiday-less workers.


What happened yesterday? 
A huge 19% fall by Facebook yesterday helped to bring down the Nasdaq by 1.4% while the S&P 500 index closed on Thursday’s session down 0.3%.
European stocks are expected to rise today, with opening calls from CMC Markets suggesting a 0.3% gain for London’s FTSE 100 and a 0.2% gain or Frankfurt’s Xetra Dax 30. 
The dollar held on to gains made during Thursday’s session after the European Central Bank left its monetary policy stance unchanged. A rise in durable goods orders in the US had also strengthened the dollar’s index, which was 0.1 per cent lower on Friday in Asia at 94.704.
In the commodities markets, gold ose 0.2% to $1,224.01 per ounce.

Arricano Real Estate
Hansa Trust
MobilityOne Ltd. 
Nature Group
Powerhouse Energy Group
Redt Energy
United Utilities Group
Vodafone Group


Premier African Minerals Ltd 
UK Economic Announcements
(07:00) Nationwide House Price Index
International Economic Announcements
(07:00) Import Price Index (EU) 
(13:30) GDP (Preliminary) (US)
(15:00) U. of Michigan Confidence (US)

Columns of Note 

Notorious Brexiteer Arron Banks leads the Telegraph’s comment section today, reassuring readers that he did not plan a coup in a small African country with support from the Special Air Service. It certainly makes for an interesting read.
In The Guardian, James Ball takes aim at the country’s ability to stockpile food in the case of an emergency no deal Brexit. Raab, Ball claims, revealed his ignorance during the recent Brexit committee meeting as he suggested that it is the responsibility of industry, not government, to stockpile food during the events of a national emergency. 


Did you know?

Reindeer eyes change colour in winter darkness. A layer behind the retina of an Arctic reindeer's eye changes colour in response to winter life in continual darkness.

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.