Thursday, June 20, 2024

Biden rolls out infrastructure plan and Fed publishes stress test results

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Hello and welcome to the working week.

Investors will have a close eye on the fallout from the aborted uprising in Russia over the weekend, with many expecting a move into havens such as US government bonds and the dollar when markets open.

In the US Joe Biden will launch the Investing in America roadshow with a big infrastructure funding announcement at the White House.

This will kick off a three-week tour of the country, where the US president will be joined by vice-president Kamala Harris and senior cabinet members to trumpet the administration’s achievements and plans to replace creaking infrastructure, boost manufacturing capacity and nurture clean energy technology development.

China’s premier Li Qiang will deliver the keynote speech at the 14th Summer Davos gathering in Tianjin, while Emmanuel Macron will make a three-day state visit to Germany, the first such trip by a French president in 23 years. The visit comes as tensions between the two countries simmer on issues ranging from energy policy to China.

Banking will be in the spotlight again in the US when the Federal Reserve publishes the results of its annual stress tests, the first since a string of bank failures in the spring.

“Dieselgate” comes to a head, with former Audi boss Rupert Stadler due to be sentenced by a German court after his confession that he suspected emissions cheating before the scandal was uncovered.

A separate case will open in Germany’s highest civil court to decide whether VW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz must compensate buyers of vehicles whose emission cleaning system works only at certain temperatures.

The week ends with the start of this year’s Tour de France. With impeccable timing comes the film The Last Rider, which profiles Greg LeMond, a winner from a more innocent age of the Tour, and it is worth a watch, according to the FT film reviewer Leslie Felperin. Whatever exercise you are planning, enjoy your week.

What do you think? Email me at or, if you have received this note in your inbox, hit reply.

Economic data

There is a run of US data this week, starting with the Conference Board’s consumer confidence data and culminating with the final first-quarter GDP figures.

Elsewhere, there are inflation figures from Canada, Italy and France, and consumer confidence data from Germany.


Retail is a theme for this week’s earnings, but the outlook from two of the big players has been mixed. Primark owner Associated British Foods warned in April that sales growth would slow due to cost of living pressures hitting consumer spending, while H&M this month said it was optimistic about sales. The British discounter B&M, which has traded well through the economic downturn, updates on trading in its latest quarter on Thursday. More details about these and the other companies reporting below.

The end of the month also brings a rush of chief executive exits, for very different reasons.

Starling Bank founder Anne Boden steps down as chief executive, having said she wanted to remove any potential conflict of interest from her being a significant shareholder in the fintech.

Unilever will be led by outsider Hein Schumacher after Alan Jope, who retires on Friday, was the subject of investor discontent over the consumer group’s performance during his tenure.

Meanwhile, Caroline Silver becomes Barratt Developments chair, succeeding John Allan who agreed to step down to prevent allegations of misconduct during his time as CBI president becoming disruptive to the company.

Key economic and company reports

Here is a more complete list of what to expect in terms of company reports and economic data this week.


  • The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, Germany’s highest civil court, decides compensation claims against Volkswagen, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

  • Germany: June Ifo Business Climate index

  • Results: Associated British Foods trading update, Carnival Q2


  • Sentencing in the “Dieselgate” trial of former Audi boss Rupert Stadler.

  • European Central Bank Forum on Central Banking, where ECB president Christine Lagarde, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey, Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell and Bank of Japan governor Kazuo Ueda share a panel debate.

  • Dame Elan Closs Stephens becomes acting chair at the BBC.

  • Canada: May consumer price index (CPI) inflation rate data

  • Germany: monthly retail sales data

  • UK: British Retail Consortium shop price index

  • US: Conference Board consumer confidence figures plus new home sales

  • Virgin Galactic due to launch Galactic 01, its first commercial space flight.

  • Results: Accsys Technologies FY, Petrofac trading update, Prosus FY, PZ Cussons Q4 trading update, Telecom Plus FY, Walgreens Boots Alliance Q3, Wise FY


  • Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Silvana Tenreyro speaks at the Society of Professional Economists event in London.

  • Egypt, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE: financial markets closed for Eid al-Adha.

  • France: June consumer confidence figures

  • Germany: June GfK consumer climate survey

  • Italy: CPI inflation rate figures

  • Manchester United, the English football club at the centre of a bidding war, holds its annual general meeting in Rochester, New York

  • UK: Bank of England quarterly bulletin

  • US Federal Reserve publishes annual stress test results

  • Results: General Mills Q4, Micron Technology Q3


  • Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell speaks at Bank of Spain Conference on Financial Stability in Madrid

  • Germany: June flash harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) and CPI inflation rate data

  • US: Q1 GDP and Q1 PCE price index

  • Results: B&M European Value Retail Q1 trading statement, De La Rue FY, H&M H1, McCormick & Co Q2, Moonpig FY, Nike Q4, Rite Aid Q1, Serco trading statement


  • Caroline Silver becomes Barratt Developments chair

  • Keith Barr steps down as InterContinental Hotels Group chief executive, to be succeeded by Elie Maalouf

  • Anne Boden steps down as Starling Bank chief executive, replaced on an interim basis by John Mountain

  • Alan Jope’s last day as Unilever chief executive. He will be succeeded by Hein Schumacher tomorrow

  • EU: June flash HICP inflation rate figures

  • France: June flash HICP, CPI and producer price index (PPI) inflation rate data

  • Germany: June unemployment rate figures

  • Japan: May unemployment rate

  • UK: final Q1 GDP figures

  • US: May PCE price index

  • Results: Constellation Brands Q1

World events

Finally, here is a rundown of other events and milestones this week.


  • QS World University Rankings published

  • Canada: the country’s financial capital Toronto holds a mayoral election with dozens of people running to replace John Tory, who resigned earlier this year

  • Germany: Decision expected on how to raise the country’s minimum wage

  • UK: opposition Labour party leader Keir Starmer speaks at the New Statesman ‘Politics Live’ conference in London. Across town, defence secretary Ben Wallace speaks at a conference organised by defence and security think-tank Rusi

  • US: President Joe Biden begins Investing in America tour of the country to tout his administration’s achievements


  • China: Premier Li Qiang due to address the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum’s 14th Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin

  • UK: former health secretary Matt Hancock due to answer questions and give evidence to the UK’s Covid-19 Inquiry. Also, the British Medical Association’s strike ballot of consultant doctors in England closes

  • US: arraignment of Walt Nauta, aide to former president Donald Trump, on numerous charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record and corruptly concealing a document or record


  • EU: European Council meeting of EU heads of state and government, chaired by the EC president Charles Michel

  • UK: parliamentary committee questions Democratic Unionist party leader Jeffrey Donaldson about the effectiveness of the institutions formed under the Good Friday Agreement


  • Netherlands: the annual Tall Ships Races, an event to encourage international friendship and training for young people in the art of sailing, sets sail

  • US: president Joe Biden travels to New York. Across town, Republican presidential candidate and Florida governor Ron DeSantis attends a private campaign fundraiser hosted by Wall Street executives



  • Canada Day

  • EU: Spain assumes the revolving six-month presidency of the economic bloc

  • 110th Tour de France cycling race begins with a 182km medium-mountain stage beginning and ending in Bilbao, Spain


  • Emmanuel Macron begins a three-day state visit to Germany

  • UK: 24-hour strike by members of the Aslef union at the rail company Avanti West Coast in a dispute over changes to sick pay

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