6 Sept 2018

Michael Robertson

6 Sept 2018

Good morning, 

They are two of the biggest and most unpredictable beasts in the jungle, but this morning both of them are on the back foot.
 
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are well used to dominating the news of course, but today's headlines may make for some sleepless nights in Washington and Moscow.
 
President Trump has launched an assault on one of his favourite targets - the New York Times. In his typically rambling style, Trump described an anonymous editorial as "gutless" and claimed the NYT and others will go out of business when he is no longer in charge. The editorial, which inevitably does not paint a pretty picture of Trump's leadership, was apparently written by a White House staffer who claims to be running a "resistance" from within the administration.
 
Nearly 5,000 miles to the east, in Moscow, wary eyes are sharpening their focus on Presdent Vladimir Putin. Nearly every news outlet across Europe has broadcast or published the faces of two Russian Military Intelligence officers operating under false names, who have been revealed as the alleged perpetrators of the Salisbury Novichok attack on Russian exile Sergei Skripal and his daughter, in which another British woman died.
 
The two, dubbed the "smiling assassins" by The Sun, are allegedly from the Group GRU within the Russian foreign intelligence system and it is assumed they were operating with the approval of the Russian state.
 
The U.N Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss the events. Ambassadors will convene at the U.N Headquarters in New York where the UK will look for support from their Western counterparts in an attempt to thwart the Russian aggression.
 
President Trump has yet to comment on the matter, having been distracted by the self-styled leader of the White House resistance, who co-incidentally (or not) suggests the US President was reluctant to take any action at all against Russia at the time of the Salisbury attacks.
 
On Radio 4's Today programme this morning, UK security minister Ben Wallace refused to be drawn on the steps the UK will take to rein in Vladimir Putin, saying only that "we will retaliate in our own way".
 
In common with most of our politics, it is anybody's guess where these stories go now.

News

Rachel Bland, 40, a Radio 5 news reader, yesterday lost her battle with cancer. Bland documented life with the illness on the podcast You, Me and the Big C which has been praised for helping change the way the public talk about cancer.  News of the broadcaster’s death was broken to the world by her husband, Steve, who took to Twitter to say: “Our beautiful, courageous Rachel died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family. We are crushed but she would want me to thank everyone who took an interest in her story or sent messages of support. You’ll never know how much they meant to her. Steve and Freddie xxx.”
 
The British caver, at the fore of the operation to save the 12 boys trapped in Thailand, is seeking legal action over Elon Musk’s latest slur that he is a “child rapist”. Musk claimed that Vernon Unsworth had moved to Thailand to seek a child bride and the area was known for child sex trafficking. Unsworth says it is “100 per cent” untrue and “very hurtful”. He is considering using the Thai courts which could hit Musk with a jail sentence due to libel being a criminal offence in the country.
 
The National Crime agency (NCA) have said that they helped stop a people smuggling gang in Crete who have beensmuggling people from Egypt to the Greek Isle. Along with the support of the Greek police they have carried out a series of raids in Heraklion and Chania, arresting six people between the ages of 23 and 49. The gang are believed to have charged migrants up to £4,500 to take them from on this journey, with the addition of false documents and accommodation.

Business & Economy 

According to the National Audit Office (NAO), the government’s failure to tackle problem debt is costing the British economy £900m a year. The NAO have said that this is due to the rise in reduced levels of worker efficiency, people staying away from work and greater chances of people in debt committing a crime. It was also reported that the taxpayer was facing the consequences for this. Adults in debt have shown increased use in public health services and housing benefits, which carried an estimated cost of £248m.
 
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is preparing to close a further 54 branches which will result in the loss of 258 jobs. This move, following an announcement in May to close 62 branches, was linked to its decision not to sell its William & Glyn business. RBS claimed that a quarter of the 54 branches it plans to close are ‘the last bank in town’ igniting fierce criticism from local businesses and consumers.
 
British luxury brand Burberry has announced that it will cease the burning of unwanted and unsold goods, immediately. This is coupled with the promise to stop using real fur and current fur items will be phased out. An earnings report which was published in July revealed that Burberry burned old clothes, accessories and perfume worth a staggering £28.6m in 2017 to protect its brand. Environmental extremists are outraged at the news. In the last year, however, Burberry have partnered with Elvis & Kresse which promise 120 tonnes of leather off-cuts will be transformed into new products over the next five years.

Markets 

What happened yesterday? 
US tech stocks took a hit as Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg gave evidence to the Senate Intelligence Committee, responding to claims that they interfered with the US elections. Twitter fell 6.1% and Facebook lost 2.3%, dragging down the Nasdaq index, which fell 96.07 points to 7,995.17.
 
Shares in Nike rallied after falling on Tuesday due to calls to boycott the company on the back of a decision to deploy former NFL star Colin Kaepernick to be the star of its latest ‘Just Do It’ campaign. He was the first player to kneel during the national anthem at games to highlight racial injustice. Donald Trump encouraged a boycott yesterday and some people went to the lengths of burning shoes and clothes. Despite this, Nike shares ended the day up 0.4% at $79.89.
 
Sterling rose yesterday, bouncing back from a two-week low, after Bloomberg announced that the UK and Germany were going to drop a key issue on Brexit negotiations which fuelled hopes of a breakthrough in talks. Investors leapt at the chance to buy the currency and it lifted by nearly 1 per cent (a three-day high) of $1.2983.
 
William Hill rose after it announced a partnership with US casino operator Eldorado Resorts. Eldorado agreed to become William Hill’s exclusive partner for online, mobile and retail sports betting in return for $50m in stock and a 20 per cent stake in the bookmaker’s US business.

Finals
 
Barratt Developments
Frontier Developments 
Galileo Resources 
Haynes Publishing PCI-PAL 
Trafalgar Property Group 
 
Interims 
 
88 Energy Limited (DI)
Amiad Water Systems Ltd
            
Alpha Fx Group
Anpario
Atlas Mara Limited (DI)
Breedon Group
Coro Energy
Everyman Media Group
Frenkel Topping Group
GCP Asset Backed Income Fund Limited
Gem Diamonds Ltd. (DI)
Global Ports Investments GDR (REG S)
Honeycomb Investment Trust
Location Sciences Group
Somero Enterprises Inc. (DI)
Spinnaker Opportunities
Spinnaker Opportunities
Xaar

Trading Announcements
Berkeley Group Holdings (The)
B.P. Marsh & Partners
Kainos Group
 
AGMs
Aberdeen New Dawn Investment Trust
Alpha Financial Markets Consulting
Berkeley Group Holdings (The)
British Smaller Companies VCT
Consort Medical
Empyrean Energy
IG Design Group          
Marlowe
Quiz
Myanmar Strategic Holdings Limited NPV (DI)
SRT Marine Systems
Sutton Harbour Holdings        
Triad Group     
Walker Crisps Group
Zanaga Iron Ore Co. Ltd (DI)
 
 
UK Economic announcements 
(9:30) PMI Services 
 
Int. 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 

Philip Stephens writes in the Financial Times that Jeremy Corbyn leads Britain’s nasty party. He claims that Mr Corbyn has taken Labour on to far-left territory and left Tony Blair’s centrism behind. As much as Mr Corbyn “rails” against the US president, Stephens highlights the similarities in character. Both men have their critics and both men share a soft spot for autocrats such as Vladimir Putin.
 
George Monbiot writes in The Guardian about the need for a challenge to the corporations who encourage the throwaway society compared to seeking ‘greener’ ways of maintaining the status quo. He mentions that there are multiple platforms advocating for the removal of plastic from our society but not enough information on exactly how that happens. Monbiot references the documentary on BBC 2: Blue Planet which informed us of the damage we are doing but it didn’t tell us how we can help the change and he talks about the fact that we are moving from one negative to another; we are simply finding other resources to over use.

Did you know? 

The original oranges from Southeast Asia were a tangerine-pomelo hybrid, and they were actually green. In fact, oranges in warmer regions like Vietnam and Thailand still stay green through maturity.

TODAY
 
House of Commons 
 
Oral questions
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (including Topical Questions)
Attorney General
 
Backbench Business
Brexit, science and innovation - Norman Lamb
Global Britain and the international rules-based order - Tom Tugendhat
 
Adjournment
Treatment of people under immigration control - Mr David Lammy
 
Westminster Hall debate
Seventh Report of the Health and Social Care Committee, Integrated care: organisations, partnerships and systems, HC 650 - Dr Sarah Wollaston
 
Supporting children in need into adulthood - Steve McCabe
 
Public Bill Committee
Offensive Weapons Bill - 7th sitting
Offensive Weapons Bill - 8th sitting
 
Select committees 
Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs - Oral Evidence Session
Pre-appointment hearing: Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission
 
 
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
 
Plans to ensure that prisons and young offenders institutions are safe and able to meet the rehabilitative needs of those imprisoned - Lord Bird
 
The case for high-quality careers education and advice to be available to all students - Lord Aberdare
 
Report from the International Relations Committee 'The United Nations General Assembly 2018' - Lord Howell of Guildford
 
Draft National Policy Statement for Geological Disposal Infrastructure - Lord Henley
 
Scottish Parliament 
 
General Questions 
 
First Minister’s Questions 
 
Continuation of Scottish Government Debate: Scottish Government’s programme for Government 2018-19
 
TOMORROW 
 
House of Commons 
 
No business scheduled 
 
House of Lords 
 
(Hereditary Peers) (Abolition of By-Elections) Bill [HL] - Committee stage (day 2) - Lord Grocott
 
(Hereditary Peers) (Abolition of By-Elections) Bill [HL] - Committee (day 2) - Motion to regret - Lord Trefgarne
 
Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill - Second reading - Baroness Massey of Darwen
 
Scottish Parliament 
 
No business scheduled