The biennial event of a nationally significant US election is upon us with the US midterm elections. All 435 House seats and 35 of the Senate’s 100 seats are in contention on Tuesday. Joe Biden is so worried that last week he kicked off the campaign trail, ramping up the rhetoric.
Democrats are in danger of losing control of the House and the upper house is on a knife edge. This (or rather the divided government it will create) is bad news for investors, according to Unhedged’s Rob Armstrong. FT columnist Janan Ganesh blames voters.
Want to know more? This Thursday, FT journalists Edward Luce, Rana Foroohar and James Politi will be joined by veteran commentator Norm Ornstein for a subscriber-exclusive event assessing the US mid-term results. Join for free today and you can submit questions in advance for our panel.
You can also subscribe to the Swamp Notes newsletter, which does a great job probing the intersection of money and power in American politics, and is currently free to read.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the COP27 gathering in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, takes stock of the climate news of the days (and weeks) to come. More than 100 world leaders will attend, including Rishi Sunak after finding time in his diary, but not King Charles.
Again, you can get more info from the FT. Starting Monday, FT Live will host a series of in-person, virtual and hybrid discussions with leading sustainability thinkers and senior FT journalists. Each will complete the themes defined in the program of the presidency that day. Register your interest here.
Inflation is the main theme of economic news this week with updates to the consumer price index and producer price index from the United States, China, Germany and from Japan. Whatever the US figure, Fed Chairman Jay Powell made it clear in his comments last week that his team will do what it takes to drive inflation out of the economy. The consensus is for a 0.7 percent increase in the US monthly figure to create an 8.1 percent annual figure.
The Bank of England’s grim projections last Thursday that the UK is entering its longest recession since World War II set the tone for this week’s big UK economic news: the first estimate of third quarter GDP on Friday . This should show a contraction of around 0.2% QoQ.
With UK high street sales falling and rumors of a prolonged recession, UK retail is not in a good position. But this week could offer some respite – and we’re not just talking about the return of free coffee at Waitrose.
Marks and Spencer will report its first results under new management on Wednesday after former chief executive and lifer Steve Rowe retired over the summer. His replacement, Stuart Machin, has already announced his stall in terms of accelerating the overhaul of the store base and doubling down on cost-cutting efforts, so the focus is likely to be on current commerce. Rival Next stuck to its full-year guidance last week after sales held steady in early fall. M&S investors – who haven’t received a dividend since November 2019 – hope Machin will do the same.
WHSmith’s profits are set to rebound as the global travel industry recovers from Covid lockdowns. Travel revenue, much of which comes from airport stores, was already well above pre-pandemic levels when it was last updated in early September. Meanwhile, there were few signs of a slowdown in airport duty-free group Dufry’s quarterly results last week.
The main constraint lies in the capacity limits of the main airports, in particular at London Heathrow. There will no doubt be further talk about this on Monday when Ryanair publishes the first half figures. Low-cost airlines like Ryanair have to adapt to the end of, uh, low-cost air travel, the response to which has been to try to pick up business from the more expensive carriers.
The end of the tech earnings news for the season is likely to continue the gloom. Lyft, reporting Monday, last week announced major job cuts, its second round of layoffs in recent months. Lyft isn’t alone among tech companies having to tighten its belt, but that doesn’t look good for the ride-hailing service, a small rival to Uber, which is also selling its vehicle service business.
Elsewhere, we have a handful of drugmaker updates. BioNTech, which reported on Monday, is among several Covid-19 vaccine producers that have begun raising the price of their vaccines amid concerns about falling demand in 2023. Airfinity, a data analytics group on the Health, predicts a drop in Covid vaccine sales of around a fifth to $47 billion next year. There are also concerns over AstraZeneca, which reveals third quarter figures on Thursday, after the nasal version of its Covid vaccine failed in trials. Better news is expected from German drugs and chemicals group Bayer, whose figures are known on Tuesday.
Read the full schedule for the week ahead here.