4 July

@Stu7Tay

4 July

Good morning,

Today across the US, Americans will come together to celebrate Independence Day, one of the biggest holidays on the country’s calendar. The holiday commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on this day in 1776, when the Thirteen Colonies of America declared liberation from the British Empire during the Revolutionary War.

 Staggeringly, today also marks the date on which two of the founding fathers who drafted that very declaration – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson – died just five hours apart, in 1826. Both had been Patriots of the war and each served as President, with Jefferson’s victory after a bitter presidential campaign bringing an end to Adams’ time in the White House – and indeed their friendship.

As part of this anniversary, the Washington Post yesterday published a fascinating article in which it recalled one of the most important documents in American history; a letter written by Jefferson – one of the last he would ever write – to the mayor of Washington in response to an invitation to a Fourth of July celebration.

Despite difficulties with health, money and family, the man “whose words gave shape to the cause of independence” carefully drafted a neatly handwritten response which reaffirmed his belief that the purpose of the Declaration was not only for Americans but a signal of the blessings of self-government to the rest of the world.

Jefferson envisaged Independence Day as an annual reminder of the right to “the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion”. As the current occupant of the Oval Office wages his own Twitter war with sections of the US media, I’m sure many Americans marking the 241st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence today will hope that this spirit of free speech is honoured and upheld.

News

North Korea has claimed it has successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile. With experts claiming the missile is capable of reaching Alaska, the announcement is likely to be seen as a direct threat to the security of the US.

Chancellor Philip Hammond is being urged by fellow ministers to delay or abandon a number of tax cuts and instead fund a public sector pay increase. The cabinet is split over how this pay rise is to be funded after the prime minister ruled out a number of tax rise options, while the chancellor has said it cannot be done through borrowing. (£)

DNA testing should become a normal part of NHS care, beginning with cancer patients and those with rare diseases, the chief medical officer has said in her annual report. Dame Sally Davies said patients would receive maximum benefit and reduced side-effects were drugs matched to the disease, revolutionising the treatment they receive. 

Andy Murray has begun the defence of his Wimbledon title with a convincing straight-sets win over Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik. The world number one took one hour and 44 minutes to win 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 yesterday. Murray will play Germany's Dustin Brown on Wednesday.

Business & Economy

Security and maintenance staff at the Bank of England have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action later this month in protest at “shameful” pay increases. It is the first time in 50 years that the 323-year-old central bank has faced a staff strike, which will also affect “the parlours”, the traditional name for the offices used by Governor Mark Carney and his senior colleagues. (£)

Four ex-Barclays bankers, including the former chief executive John Varley, have been released on bail following their first appearance in court over fraud charges. They are the first bankers to appear in a criminal court to face charges relating to the way they behaved during the financial crash. The bank avoided a government bailout after raising more than £11bn following two cash call which Qatari investors were involved in. 

The boss of an influential industry trade body will today warn the British government that a failure to detail how the country will leave the EU will result in companies abandoning investment and job creation in the UK. Terry Scuoler, chief executive of engineering and manufacturing group EEF, will set out a vision for the future of the EU in a speech later today.

Markets

North Korea’s missile launch in Japanese waters has caused Asian shares to tumble today, with Japan's Nikkei. N225 and South Korea's KOSPI .KS11 experiencing losses.

After falling for much of last week, the FTSE 100 ended the first day of this week 64.37 points higher at 7,377.09. In fact, June was the index’s worst monthly loss since September 2015. 

It was a good day yesterday for Superdry after a large increase in profits and plans for standalone sports stores caused shares in the FTSE 250 company to rise 2.7%.

On the currency markets, Sterling was down 0.6% against the dollar at $1.2950, while against the euro it fell 0.1% to 1.1395 euros.

Finals

Imagination Technologies Group, Solid State

Interims

RM, St. Modwen Properties

AGMs

Distil, ProVen Growth & Income VCT, ProVen VCT, Veltyco Group

Int. Economic Announcements

(09:30) PMI Construction (US)

(10:00) Producer Price Index (EU)

 

Columns of Note

Writing in The Times, Rachel Sylvester argues that Theresa May’s deal with the DUP suggests that pork barrel politics – the use of government funds for projects designed to please voters or legislators and win votes – has entered our politics. She says the deal gives the impression that money is the answer to everything and will only serve to add to public cynicism about our political system. (£)

Matthew Lynn offers a brief alternative economic history of the last 42 years in The Telegraph, speculating on what the country’s finances would have looked like were the country to have voted differently in the 1975 EU referendum.

Did you know?

Some 54,250 tennis balls will be used during this year’s Wimbledon championships. The balls are stored at 68 degrees Fahrenheit before being brought out for the day’s play.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY

House of Commons

Oral Questions

Health (including Topical Questions)

Legislation

European Union (Approvals) Bill 

House of Lords

Oral Questions

UK Overseas Development Assistance spending in co-operation with, or through, the EU

Debate

European Union Committee report: 'Brexit: acquired rights' -

Scottish Parliament

In recess until 3 September

TOMORROW

House of Commons

Oral Questions

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (including Topical Questions) 

Prime Minister's Questions 

General debate

Israel and Palestinian Talks

House of Lords

Oral Questions

The updating or renewal of the National Stroke Strategy, which expired in March 2017

Proposals to improve the working conditions for NHS staff.