Thursday, 26th January: True to his word, yesterday US President Donald Trump signed two executive orders, aimed at curbing illegal immigration. The orders include redirecting existing Homeland Security money to construct a US-Mexican wall border, although Congress would need to approve the construction. It seems the administration are still adamant Mexico will pay for the wall and Trump is scheduled to meet with the Mexican President Enrique Paña Nieto next week, in what was scheduled to be a meeting regarding trade and immigration. However Nieto has said he is now consulting with Mexican officials in Washington to decide on “the next steps” following Trump putting pen to paper. Hours after Trump had signed the order, the Mexican President vowed to protect Mexicans living in the US, promising to provide them the legal advice to “guarantee them the protection they require”.
Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU there was much fear over the direction the UK’s economy was going to go. However, data released from the Office for National Statistics today demonstrated the UK economy isn’t slowing down, with better than expected growth figures for Q4 of 2016. The UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in the 3 months to December, the same rate as the previous two quarters, an initial estimate shows. Forecasts had been for a 0.5% rise. For 2016 as a whole, the economy grew by 2%, slightly lower than 2.2% growth in 2015.
As expected, and required, the UK government introduced new legislation to seek parliamentary approval to start the formal process of leaving the European Union. It follows the Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday that PM Theresa May couldn’t start the process without lawmakers’ approval.
Sky today reported lower half year earnings, as profits suffered as the group paid more for broadcasting rights to Premier League football matches. The company said they have added more than 500,000 new customers, bringing their total number of customers in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Germany and Austria to 22 million. However, Chief Executive Jeremy Darrach said their “financial performance has been good”, despite absorbing higher costs. The results follow a takeover bid announced late in 2016 from 21st Century Fox who currently own 39%. Sky will go head to head with BT in March for the rights to show Champions League football. BT won the last round of European football when they won an exclusive £897m deal. Sky closed the +0.1%, maintaining its tick above £10 a share.
At the close the FTSE 100 and 250 both closed flat. Prime Minister Theresa May sets off to meet Trump in Washington (after a visit to Philadelphia), looking to renew the UK’s “special relationship” with the US.