“Brexit” and "Trump" have continued to fill news headlines, with the U.S. president-elect announcing the first high-profile appointments of his administration. Meanwhile, a leaked memo from Deloitte claimed the UK government has no overall plan for Brexit. However, markets settled down this week; the FTSE 100 and the S&P 500 indices rose 1% by close of trading on Thursday, while the FTSE Europe (ex-UK) index was up by 0.6%.
Trump’s top jobs
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the first foreign leader to meet with the U.S. president-elect. Mr. Trump indicated during the presidential campaign that relations with Japan were not a priority, promising to kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership. However, Mr. Abe has declared his trust and confidence in the incoming administration. This meeting followed a telephone call with President Vladimir Putin, with the aim of improving ties between the U.S. and Russia.
Trump announced two key cabinet appointments, Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff and Steve Bannon as his chief strategist. The second appointment in particular has attracted controversy due to the content of a right-wing website run by Breitbart News, of which he was executive chairman.
Keep calm and carry on
U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Janet Yellen testified to Congress on the economic outlook on Thursday. In essence, she said it’s full steam ahead for a interest-rate hike in December, and highlighted the potential dangers of waiting too long. Yellen also indicated her intention serve her full term as Fed chair until January 2018. Meanwhile in the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May – while sticking to her formula that she would not provide a running commentary on Brexit – said Britain must shape a “new era of globalization,” and would strive to forge new and dynamic trade agreements that work for the whole world.
Consumer confidence continues
Colder weather and Halloween helped the UK record its fastest annual increase in retail sales in 14 years in October. But this didn’t help Asda, the UK operation of retail giant Wal-Mart. Asda maintained its position as the worst performer of the “Big Four” UK supermarket chains, with a 5.8% decline in sales in the third quarter.
Brexit and the collapse of sterling have accentuated problems at EasyJet. This week, the budget airline announced a 28% fall in profits, marking its weakest performance in three years. While passenger numbers continue to rise, external shocks, including the impact on air travel of terror attacks and French air traffic control strikes, had an adverse impact.
We wanted to bring you an “And finally” story with bite this week. And we stumbled across news that a group of Italian archaeologists had unearthed the world’s oldest dentures in Lucca. The group, mainly made up of paleontologists from the University of Pisa, found something that really made them smile – the world’s oldest set of false teeth. Discovered in an old tomb – though there’s no word on whether any drilling was required – it’s believed that the dentures date back to somewhere between the late fourteenth and early seventeenth century, so they are clearly long in the tooth. Hopefully, the fuller analysis won’t mean biting off more than they can chew.
Foreign securities are more volatile, harder to price and less liquid than U.S. securities. They are subject to different accounting and regulatory standards, and political and economic risks. These risks are enhanced in emerging markets countries.
Companies mentioned in this article are for illustrative purposes only.