This is an amalgamation of the “best bits” of the daily weekday newsletter/blog woven together to form a concise and coherent view on the things that matter in the commercial and economic news of the week.
The day in brackets refers to the edition where the story appeared. Clicking on the day will take you to the appropriate edition of Watson’s Daily.
SO THE TURKEY/US THING EDGES CLOSER TO RESOLUTION AND WORLD MARKETS TAKE A BATH...
- It seems that Turkey is on the brink of calming the dispute it has with the US (Friday) as it looks like it will relent and let the American pastor at the centre of disputed allegations of espionage go home. Trump slapped sanctions on Turkey to get him back and it looks like they worked (plus Turkey needs an ally right now, so needs to play nice). If Andrew Brunson is allowed to go home (deals like this have fallen through at the eleventh hour in the past), this could really ease pressures on the Turkish economy – especially if Trump lifts sanctions.
- Italy instigated investor nervousness as it railed against the EU (Tuesday) as its proposed budget is likely to get blocked by the EU because it will widen the budget deficit. The EU could look bad whatever it does here – it will look weak if it lets it through, effectively giving Italy a “free pass” and if it doesn’t, the populist right-wing Eurosceptic government will have a field day. Presumably both sides will have to find middle ground.
- Markets took a bath this week (Friday) as investor concerns about an over-heated tech sector, trade war tensions, rising inflation and the prospect of five more US interest rate rises prompted a sell-off.
THERE WERE SOME INTERESTING NEW TECH BITS RELEASED THIS WEEK...
- Facebook unveiled a new gadget this week (Tuesday) in an attempt to enmesh itself even more in our daily lives. The tablet with a clever camera and smart speaker basically brings together functions of existing devices and is intended to help us keep in touch with friends and family. There was a sense of deja vu as Google unveiled a similar device (Wednesday) which has less functionality (no camera) in the belief that privacy conscious users would be tempted to splurge. Which was ironic, because it admitted to a massive data breach (Tuesday)
- Sony committed to a console to replace the PS4 (Tuesday), thus allaying fears that consoles as a concept are going to become extinct in the near-ish future.
FAST FOOD HAD A BIT OF A MIXED WEEK THIS WEEK...
- The week kicked off with Jollibee vowing to take on KFC (Monday) as it opened the first of 25 outlets slated for the UK over the next five years.
- Greggs put in a solid performance in the third quarter (Wednesday), powered by drinks and pizza (aren’t we all?) but then fellow baker Patisserie Valerie had its shares suspended (Thursday) after news of a financial black hole in its accounts. Things are not looking good for its survival as things stand and the future of its 2,500 staff and 206 shops hang in the balance (Friday).
...AND RETAILERS HAD SOME MORE UPS AND DOWNS...
- American retailer Sears gets closer to bankruptcy (Thursday) as the chance of a bailout recedes
- Meanwhile, on the UK high street, TK Maxx announces strong sales figures and increasing market share (Wednesday), French Connection put itself up for sale (Monday) – causing its share price to bounce strongly (Tuesday) – and Coast got a lifeline from sister company Karen Millen (Friday).
There was some quite entertaining banter this week, I thought. A new exciting (and no doubt therapeutic) pastime was highlighted in Axe throwing takes aim at sunny Los Angeles (Reuters, Rory Carrol https://tinyurl.com/y7eou2we) and then there was that new innovation in pizza takeaway technology in Clever pizza box turns into a food tray so you can scoff slices in bed (The Mirror, Robyn Darbyshire https://tinyurl.com/ybfjhbd5).
However, the thing that made me laugh the most this week was this: Thomas Cook plane turns X-rated when the door is open thanks to awkward design flaw (The Mirror, Nicola Oakley https://tinyurl.com/yb93ycz5).
AND ON THAT BOMBSHELL, I hope you have a great weekend!