Daily Briefing: 20 September 2016

Good morning,

Yesterday evening (UK time), US authorities arrested New York bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami after a shootout with police.

Whilst the city of New York reels from the attacks, attention has already turned to the impact this may have on the presidential election. There is little doubt what the main topic of discussion will be during Monday’s debate — the first to take place ahead of polling day in less than two months’ time.

The principal narrative of the Trump campaign has been ending illegal immigration and tackling the threat posed by terrorism. Many commentators think that his focus on national security will boost “the Donald” due to the reputation he has carved out as a no-nonsense strongman who will take bold action to protect the country.

Getting her retaliation in first, Hillary Clinton immediately went on the offensive, arguing that Trump’s rhetoric is a propaganda tool for ISIS. Trump countered by saying that Clinton had made the US weaker during her time as Secretary of State.

The most recent polls suggest Clinton is now just two percentage points ahead of her rival, with her strong lead erased following last week’s speculation about her health and the weekend’s events. The question is whether Trump can maintain the momentum or whether it is a case of too little, too late.

NEWS

The US Government has said it is “outraged” by an attack on an aid convoy close to Aleppo, the epicentre of the Syrian conflict. Twelve people died in the airstrike, which the US has alleged was conducted by Russian aircraft. Washington has said that it will now “reassess the future prospect for co-operation [with Russia].”

In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that “the 27 [EU states] will sign up to a deal with us”. Her comments came after the Slovakian prime minister warned that four central European countries would block Brexit talks unless their citizens retained their rights to live and work in the UK.

From April, NHS consultants will be forced to declare their income from private work. Every hospital will publish a register of consultants’ outside earnings after an NHS review exposed potential conflicts of interest. The report highlighted concerns that some senior doctors delegate much of their work to juniors whilst they spend time with paying patients.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Microsoft has declared that it will “solve the problem of cancer” within a decade by using computer science to crack the code of diseased cells and reprogramming them back to a healthy state. The computer giant says it has assembled a “small army” of top biologists, programmers and engineers who are tackling cancer in the same way that they would tackle a bug in a computer system.

Moody’s has played down the impact a “hard Brexit” would have on the City. Analysis by the ratings agency said that whilst there would be a loss of business if the UK leaves the single market, the impact would not be as bad as expected. The report came as Theresa May met with US business leaders prior to attending her first meeting of the UN General Assembly.

The US Federal Reserve is to once again cut its forecast for how high interest rates will need to be in an economy where output, productivity and inflation are growing at a slower rate than in previous decades. This will be the fourth time in 15 months that the the US central bank has admitted that its estimates were too optimistic and underlined concerns about the long-term health of the economy.

MARKETS

Market News
The FTSE 100 was up 103 points to 6,814 — an increase of 1.5% on the day. This was mainly driven by commodity companies which saw the price of their shares pushed up by the rise in the price of Brent Crude oil.

Some of the strongest gainers were Glencore, up 6.2%; Anglo-American, up 5.7%; and BHP Billiton, up 3.7%.

Outsourcing firm Mitie, listed on the FTSE 250, saw its shares plummet by 29% following a profit warning.

Finals 
Blancco Technology Group, Purecircle Limited (DI), Swallowfield

Interims 
Augean, Bango, Crossrider, e-Therapeutics, GVC Holdings, Horizon Discovery Group, Judges Scientific, Kingfisher, Lighthouse Group, Minds + Machines Group Limited (DI), Personal Group Holdings, Regional REIT Limited, Smart Metering Systems, Shield Therapeutics, Yu Group

AGMs 
Great Eastern Energy Corp Ltd. GDR, HML Holdings, Highlands Natural Resources, Safeland, San Leon Energy

Int Economic Announcements
(07.00) Producer Price Index (GER) 
(13.30) Building Permits (US) 
(13.30) Housing Stats (US)

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Writing in The Telegraph, former foreign secretary Lord Hague criticises the decision of Tony Blair to scrap the Royal Yacht in 1997, saying that “British ministers, ambassadors and business delegations ever since have been without one of the best assets they ever had”. He calls for a new Royal Yacht to be built as a symbol of British soft power and to help with trade negotiations following the vote to leave the EU.

In The Guardian, Polly Toynbee calls on Labour rebels to turn their attention away from undermining Jeremy Corbyn and to focus their efforts on becoming standard bearers for the 48% of people who voted to remain in the EU. She calls on the 172 Labour MPs who oppose the leader to “campaign for all who will suffer from Brexit.”

TODAY IN PARLIAMENT

House of Commons

No business scheduled

House of Lords

No business scheduled

Scottish Parliament

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

Topical Questions

Scottish Government Debate: Scotland’s Economy, Responding to the EU Referendum

Business Motions

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

Decision Time

Members’ Business — S5M-00078 Stuart McMillan: Eye Health Week