28 July

@AdamDShaw

28 July

Good morning,

You might have thought that, following a turbulent first six months, President Trump would have been inclined to take a more conventional approach to communications. 

Instead, Trump doubled-down by appointing Anthony Scaramucci, who appears to be a mini version of himself, as director of communications – a decision which reportedly prompted the resignation of Sean Spicer as White House press secretary.

Scaramucci is a former investment banker who had no communications experience prior to taking on the most prominent public relations job in the world. He has certainly made his mark during his first week in post.

During a phone call with a reporter from The New Yorker, the transcript of which was published last night, he called Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, a “paranoid schizophrenic” and also attacked Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist. This followed a colourful 30-minute interview with CNN on Thursday when he suggested that Priebus is one of those responsible for leaks.

It is often said if that the PR adviser should never be the story. Judging by his performance so far, this does not seem to be a motto that Scaramucci intends to follow. 

News

The Republican bill that would have repealed major planks of the Affordable Care Act, dubbed “Obamacare” by critics, has been defeated in the US Senate after Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins crossed the floor to vote with the Democrats to oppose the measure. Donald Trump has said in a tweet that he will now leave ObamaCare to “implode”.

At an EU summit last week, Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister said that the Irish Government wants the Irish Sea to become the post-Brexit border with the UK and warned that Theresa May’s proposal for the Irish border is “unworkable”. British officials are said to be taken aback by the change in tone.

The cladding and insulation on 60 tower blocks has failed a new fire safety test conducted following the Grenfell Tower blaze which killed at least 80 people. The new test checked the cladding alongside the foam insulation used at Grenfell. The full findings are set to be published by the Department for Communities and Local Government later this morning.

 Business and Economy

Barclays has reported a loss of £1.4 billion for the second quarter of 2017 after it was hit by one off costs arising from the disposal of part of its African business and the need to set aside £700 million to pay compensation for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance. This compares with a £677 million profit for the same period last year.

Air France-KLM has bought a 31% stake worth £220 million in Virgin Atlantic as part of a four way joint-venture with Delta. This leaves Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson’s parent company, with a minority stake in the airline he founded in 1984, although Sir Richard has said that he will remain “very much involved” in the company and remains as chairman.

Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, briefly became the world’s richest man yesterday after a rise in the online retailer’s share price took his net worth to $91 billion – above Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, who is worth $90 billion. However, Gates’ status as the world’s richest man was restored after Amazon’s share price slipped back later in the day.

Markets

What happened yesterday

The FTSE 100 closed down 9.31 points to 7,433.01 on Thursday. 

Astrazeneca, the UK pharmaceutical company, was the biggest loser on the FTSE 100 after seeing its share price plummet on the back of disappointing first quarter results and major setbacks in trials of a new lung cancer therapy. 

The biggest gainer was Diageo which climbed 6% following higher full-year profits and sales.

Anglo-American was also up, rising 3.22%, after announcing that it was resuming dividend payments six months early.

On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.4% against the dollar at $1,3068, and 0.29% higher against the euro at 1.12040 euros.

AGMs

B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI), Boxhill Technologies, Bellzone Mining, Diversified Oil & Gas, Gear4music (Holdings), Golden Saint Resources Ltd (DI), Hansa Trust, Johnson Matthey, Red Leopard Holdings, RM2 International SA (DI), Solgold, Subex Ltd GDR (Reg S), ULS Technology, United Utilities Group, Vodafone Group

GMs

Amur Minerals Corporation NPV

 Finals

Clipper Logistics

 

Interims

Barclays, Equinti Group, Essentra, International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI), IMI, JKX Oil & Gas, Laird, Morgan Advanced Materials, Rightmove, UBM

Q1 Results

BT Group

UK Economic Announcements

(00:01 GFK Consumer Confidence

International Economic Announcements

(10:00) Business Climate Indicator (EU)

(10:00) Economic Sentiment Indicator (EU)

(10:00) Industrial Confidence (EU)

(10:00) Services Confidence (EU)

(15:00) U. of Michigan Confidence (US)

 

Columns of note

In The Times, Philip Collins bemoans the negative and backwards facing attitudes of today’s crop of politicians. He argues that no one seems to have an answer to any of the intractable questions of the future and any party or person that can make the what lies ahead of us sound joyful rather than worrying is destined to succeed.

Writing in The Telegraph, Asa Bennett contends that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s backtracking over Brexit this week is due to the influence of the trade unions, most of which believe remaining in the single market is the best way to protect jobs.

Did you know?

The dot on the letters ‘i’ and ‘j’ is called a tittle.

 

Parliamentary Highlights

TODAY

 House of Commons

In recess until 5th September

House of Lords

In recess until 5th September

Scottish Parliament 

In recess until 5th September