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Breakfast Today

  • 20 Jan 17

Today is Trump's day. While the world at large may have been shocked by his confrontation attitude, sneered at his apparent lack of sophistication, dismissed his aggression and criticized obvious conflicts of interest, global markets still have to ask themselves whether in fact he is their corporate saviour? Were the UK's Brexit vote and Trump's US victory actually flashing red lights as to prospective disintegration within the fabric of western society? Was the President-elect the only one smart enough to understand that a US crisis, possibly more obviously moral than economic, as deep as the great depression that faced Roosevelt back in the late 1920s is looming and, more to the point, that he is the only one with the courage to fix it? Time will tell but, of course, getting his revolutionary agenda - which includes the creation of 25m new jobs, more than halving corporation and personal taxes, applying swinging border and import controls, while throwing out the bulk of Federal regulation - through is now the giant challenge. Whether he eventually achieves this through a mixture of threats, coercion, bribery and possibly even charm, or finds himself so bamboozled by Congress that he simply walks off in a huff halfway through his first term in office, for sure Donald Trump is already assured that he will be more than just a footnote in American history. Contemplating all this last night, the principle US indices all struggled to make headway ending slightly down, with some considering the markets had become rather overbought in their push to see the Dow Jones break through the 20,000 marker. Traders gleaned little new from either of Janet Yellen or Theresa May's speeches yesterday, although US Treasuries still suffered their biggest sell-off in four weeks as investors became increasingly resolved to the idea of the Fed kicking off its round of rate hikes sooner rather than later. Asia ended mixed, with the Shanghai Composite making a reasonable gain on news that Chinese economic growth for 2016 came out at 6.7%, comfortably within Beijing's target range and providing relief given evidence of slow industrial activity during the fourth quarter; the Hang Seng and ASX just followed the US market lead into modest losses. Today, the UK Prime Minister is scheduled to meet with senior executives from Wall Street, while London is also due to publish December Retail Sales data along with earnings or trading updates from a few UK second-liners like Bonmarche (BON.L), Brainjuicer (BJU.L) and Midatech Pharma (MTPH.L) and, later this afternoon, a few US majors including General Electric and Procter & Gamble are expected to publish their quarterlies. In reality, however, all this will fade into the background with the new President takes to the microphone afternoon. Awaiting this, London is seen opening in a quiet, contemplative mood with the FTSE-100 seen 5 points either side of unchanged in early trading.