5 Sept 2018

Stuart Taylor

5 Sept 2018

Good morning, 

An out-of-work sportsman who has shown total disrespect for his country, or one of the most prominent civil rights leaders of his generation?
 
These are two polarising characterisations of American footballer Colin Kaepernick in the 24 hours since he was unveiled as one of the faces of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just do it” advertising campaign.
 
Kaepernick, once of the San Francisco 49ers, inspired adulation and anger in equal measure in 2016 when he took a very public stance against racial injustice and police brutality, choosing to kneel during the US national anthem. Despite other players joining him in the protests, his actions made him a target for a large number of fans, team owners and – of course - Donald Trump.
 
Nike’s decision was met with predictable criticism from the US President last night, with Trump asserting that the advert sends ‘a terrible message’, though surprisingly he also offered a more circumspect assessment of the situation, defending the company’s freedom to do so “is what this country is all about.”
 
However, other fierce critics of the former quarterback – many of whom believe his actions are disrespectful to the American flag and the military - were not so forgiving of the sportswear giant’s latest recruit.  #JustBurnIt and #NikeBoycott began trending on social media as opponents of Kaepernick spent their Tuesday afternoons discarding clothes that bear the famous swoosh logo from their wardrobes. The protests contributed towards shares in Nike closing 3.2% lower yesterday, its biggest one-day drop since April.
 
Faced with such facts, you’d think Nike may have misjudged its audience and, like the advert itself, risks losing everything as a consequence of their support for a particular cause. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Research showed that Nike had benefitted to the tune of $43 million in media exposure yesterday, and the new partnership with Kaepernick, which will include the release of a range of clothing, is expected to appeal to an audience beyond those who follow the NFL. For Kaepernick himself, a talented player who has been unable to find a team since leaving the 49ers in 2017, will likely receive large sums of money from sponsorship and publicity on par with the handsome rewards available in the NFL.
 
Whether you think Nike’s move is audacious political activism or a shrewd commercial decision, this campaign will undoubtedly put the spotlight back on racism in America ahead of the start of the new NFL season tomorrow. As for Kaepernick, however history judges him, it’s not going to be for his promising but short-lived career throwing an oval pigskin around a field.

News 

The UK government’s preparations for Brexit have been labelled as “incompetent” by a former Bank of England governor. Lord King, who backed leaving the EU in the referendum, said it "beggared belief" that the world's sixth-biggest economy should be talking of stockpiling food and medicines, leaving Theresa May with no bargaining power in negotiations.
 
Jon Kyl has been chosen to represent Arizona in the US Senate, temporarily filling a vacancy created by the recent death of John McCain. Kyl has agreed to stay in post until the end of the year, with the state due to hold a special election in 2020 to give voters the chance to select a senator to see out the final two years of McCain’s term. (£)
 
The decision by Labour’s ruling body to include caveats around its adoption of an internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism has been criticised by Jewish groups. The National Executive Committee yesterday accepted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition and accompanying examples. However, it also agreed to a statement aimed at protecting free speech. The Jewish Leadership Council said this caveat would "drive a coach and horses" through the IHRA definition.
 
Amid emotional scenes, Scotland’s women’s football team last night reached a World Cup finals for the first time following a dramatic victory over Albania. A 2-1 victory was enough to send Shelley Kerr's side to the finals in France next year. Scotland’s men? Please take note.

Business & Economy 

Mark Carney confirmed yesterday that he was to extend his term as Bank of England governor. Carney told MPs on the Treasury select committee that he was “willing to do whatever else I can to promote a smooth Brexit and an effective transition at the Bank of England” and expected an announcement to be made by the chancellor Philip Hammond shortly. (£)

Amazon has hit a $1tn market capitalisation following a year in which the ecommerce company added $520bn in equity value in the last year alone. It becomes the second company to reach this valuation after Apple became the first last month. (£)
 
Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, is to drop out of Europe’s leading index of blue-chip companies this month following a sharp decline in market cap. The bank’s demotion from the Euro Stoxx 50 index is the latest setback for the group that before the financial crisis was one of the world’s largest lenders by assets. (£)

Markets 

What happened yesterday? 
The FTSE 100 was lower at the close of yesterday’s trading, falling 0.6% lower at 7,457.86 points.
 
The biggest faller on the day was WPP, with shares in the advertising giant down 6.3% after it announced first-half revenues had fallen. Things weren’t much rosier for either Berkeley Group or Persimmon, with shares in the housebuilders down 4.4% and 3.3%, respectively. Shares in Whitbread, the owner of Costa Coffee, increased by 2.6%, making them the best performer on the day.
 
In Spain, the news that the country’s prime minister has offered to allow Catalonia to hold a referendum on greater autonomy saw Spanish yields slip, while Italian sovereign yields fell sharply following comments by officials in Rome that the country would respect EU budget rules helped calm worries about a conflict with Brussels. The country’s benchmark index, the FTSE MIB, rose one per cent as banking stocks jumped 4.3%.

Finals              
Barratt Developments
Frontier Developments
Haynes Publishing Group
 
Interims
Anpario
Everyman Media Group
Frenkel Topping Group
Gem Diamonds Ltd. (DI)
Location Sciences Group
Somero Enterprises Inc. (DI)
Xaar

Trading Announcements
Berkeley Group Holdings (The)
 
UK Economic Announcements
(09.30) PMI Services

International Economic Announcements
(08:55) PMI Composite (GER)
(08:55) PMI Services (GER)
(09:00) PMI Composite (EU)
(09:00) PMI Services (EU)
(10:00) Retail Sales (EU)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(13:30) Balance of Trade (US)

Columns of Note 

Writing in the Financial Times, Sarah O’Conner says that the creation of Wonga was an early symptom of trouble in the labour market and its demise will not set workers free from the labour trap. O’Conner says the target consumer for the payday lender was not the jobless but those doing service jobs in sectors including hospitality, retail, warehousing and social care, and the government must do more to ensure these volatile jobs deliver more pay and security. (£)
 
Daniel Finkelstein in The Times says that while the practise of deselecting Labour MPs might be brutal, the logic makes sense and may almost be inevitable. Finkelstein says that if the leader is going to be selected by a massive primary of all members, then parliamentary candidates should be chosen in the same way and you can’t have a prime minister in Corbyn who relies on MPs who have no confidence in him. (£)

Did you know?

As of July, there were 523,584 registered minor planets in the Solar System with around 3,000 new ones added every month. Only 4% of them have names.

Parliamentary highlights 

TODAY
 
House of Commons
Oral questions
Northern Ireland
 
Prime Minister's Question Time
 
House of Lords
Oral questions
Occasions in 2017 when visas were granted to men whose wives or family members had raised concerns about forced marriage - Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale
 
Impact on claimants of the timing of Universal Credit
assessments and payments - Baroness Sherlock
 
Report by the Adam Smith Institute, 'Asleep at the Wheel: The Prudential Regulation Authority and the Equity Release Sector' - Lord Sharkey
 
Government representations to authorities in Northern Ireland to make the use of Misoprostol legal as is already the case in England, Scotland and Wales. - Baroness Thornton
 
Short debate
Addressing the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, with particular regard to the role of the security forces - Lord Dannatt
 
Scottish Parliament
Portfolio Questions
Finance and the Constitution

Economy, Jobs and Fair Work

Ministerial Statement: Scottish National Standardised Assessments

Continuation of Scottish Government Debate: Scottish Government Programme for Government

TOMORROW

House of Commons
Oral questions
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (including Topical Questions)
Attorney General

Backbench Business
Brexit, science and innovation - Norman Lamb

House of Lords
Oral questions
Representations they have received from other EU member states about the present state of negotiations for the UKs withdrawal from the EU - Lord Framlingham

NHS and healthcare data and how that data could be used to improve the health of the nation - Lord Freyberg

Scottish Parliament
General Questions

First Minister's Questions

Continuation of Scottish Government Debate: Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2018-19