Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

Good news

Written by Katie Armour, client manager
Edited by Adam Shaw, associate partner

8 February 2022 

Good morning,

Before Sky picked up Russell Howard’s Good News show from the BBC, I was a loyal and avid fan. Each week he offered an uplifting take on the top headlines and in today’s briefing I hope to deliver the same thing I got from it: a hearty dose of inspiration.

Yesterday, for the first time ever, it was confirmed that a paralysed man with a severed spinal cord was able to walk again of his own volition.

Research published in renowned medical journal Nature Medicine detailed how 30-year-old Michel Roccati – who was paralysed after a motorcycle accident five years ago, resulting in his spine being fully severed – was able to walk again after an electrical implant was surgically attached to his spine.

How does it work, you might wonder? Well, the implant boosts the signals that nerves in the spinal cord carry from the legs to the brain. When damaged these signals can become too weak to create movement on their own. There’s a helpful graphic here. Post-surgery, the patient taps a tablet device indicating they’d like to step (or kick their legs to swim) and the computer instructs the electrodes to conduct the action via bluetooth.

So far nine people have received the implant and regained the ability to walk, not quite as normal but enough to exercise their muscles and improve their general health. Michel can now walk a kilometre and climb the stairs.

Professor Grégoire Courtine, who led the team that developed the technology at the Swiss École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, said: “This is not a cure for spinal cord injury. But it is a critical step to improve people’s quality of life. We are going to empower people. We are going to give them the ability to stand, to take some steps. It is not enough, but it is a significant improvement”.

The next step will see the treatment progress to a larger clinical trial of 60-100 patients, overseen by Swiss firm Onward Medical, and scientists will consider how best to miniaturise the computer that activates the pulses so it too can be implanted in patients and controlled with a smartphone.

The use of technology in health treatments is a constant wonder, with this latest development just one of many medical miracles. However, this one feels pivotal given the once impossible things it can make feasible again. Never has “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” felt quite so resonant.

News

Two people have been arrested after protesters surrounded and intimidated Labour leader Keir Starmer and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy in Westminster yesterday evening. The prime minister has come under sharp criticism on the back of the incident as a number of the protesters referenced his false claims that Starmer failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile.

 

Britain is set to send 350 Royal Marines to eastern Europe to take part in “contingency planning” exercises as tensions continue to rise around the build-up of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border. Defence sources have revealed that troops from the 45 Commando were diverted from cold weather exercises in Norway to Poland in preparation. (£)

 

The Scottish Conservatives have called for the contact tracing system to be “wound up” and replaced with a cheaper alternative. The party acknowledged it had been “incredibly useful” but argued it had fast become “redundant” and that funds should be redistributed across the NHS.

Business and economy

BP has announced plans to “accelerate the greening” of the company as it announced its highest annual profits for eight years. The company reported that underlying profit was $12.8bn for 2021, compared with a net loss of $5.7bn the previous year.

 

European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde has signalled a “gradual” shift in policy to tackle record inflation but warned there was “no need to rush to any premature conclusion” as the economic outlook remains “too uncertain”.  Lagarde’s comments were more cautious than last week when she sparked a sell-off in eurozone bond markets by refusing to rule out a potential interest rate rise this year. (£)

 

Shares in Peloton rose by 22% to $30 yesterday, more than the $29 they were listed at when the company floated in 2019 but dramatically less than the $167 they reached at the start of 2021. The jump comes after speculation arose that Amazon, Nike and Apple are all circling to acquire the brand. (£)

 

Softbank’s $66bn planned sale of its UK-based chip business, Arm, to Nvidia collapsed late last night after regulators in the UK, US and EU raised concerns about the effect of the proposed sale on competition in the global semiconductor industry. The deal would have been the largest ever in the chip sector and given Nvidia control of the technology at the heart of most of the world’s mobile devices. (£)

Columns of note

Gaby Hinsliff argues in The Guardian that Carrie Johnson shouldn’t “carry the can for her husband’s mistakes”, stressing that “he’s the one who made a vow to the country”, not her.

 

Norman Tebbit writes in The Telegraph that Putin might invade Ukraine but warns that Russia has a lot to lose, arguing that it will “become poorer as a result of war” and suggesting that the military could turn on leadership. (£)

Markets

What happened yesterday?

London stocks closed in a positive state on Monday as investors continued to assess the impact of the Bank of England’s latest rate hike.

The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.76% at 7,573.47 and the FTSE 250 was up 0.39% at 21,797.29.

Sterling was in a more mixed state, trading 0.01% weaker against the dollar at $1.35 but 0.18% stronger against the euro, changing hands at €1.18.

In company news:

Mining companies saw a significant boost after metal prices rose, with Anglo American up 1.82% and Rio Tinto up 2.78%.

 

Online review platform Trustpilot saw shares leap by 7.08%.

 

Gambling firm Flutter Entertainment’s shares rose 4.02% after reports that it was launching a last-minute bid to acquire the operating licence of the National Lottery.

What’s happening today?

AGMs

Barkby Group

Numis

TUI AG

 

Final Dividend Payment Date

Netcall

Cerillion

 

Final Results

Ocado

Micro Focus

BP

 

GMs

Clinigen

 

Interim Dividend Payment Date

Uk Mortgages

 

Interim Management Statement

DCC

 

Interim Results

Mattioli

Filtronic

Alumasc Group

 

Q4 Results

BP

 

Quarterly Dividend Payment Date

Blackrock Lat A

 

Q1 Results

TUI AG

 

Trading Announcement

Bellway

did you know

Neptune’s winds are the fastest in the solar system, reaching 2,575 kilometres per hour. (Source: Nasa)

Parliamentary highlights

Source: Financial Times

House of Commons

Oral Questions

Justice

 

Ten Minute Rule Motion

Motor Vehicle Tests (Diesel Particulate Filters)

 

Opposition Day Debate

 

Adjournment

Rail connectivity between Leicester, Coventry and Nottingham

 

Westminster Hall

Yazidi genocide

Provision of grit bins

Potential merits of reopening the Leamside Line

Requests for military aid during the pandemic

Funding of local authorities on Merseyside

House of Lords 

Oral Questions

Ensuring the UK is a world leader in mathematical sciences

The dangers and benefits of e-scooters

The government’s new strategy for international development

Discussions with the government of Greece about returning the Parthenon marbles

 

Legislation

Elderly Social Care (Insurance) Bill

Nationality and Borders Bill

Scottish parliament 

Time for Reflection

 

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

 

Topical Questions

 

First Minister’s statement

Covid-19 Update

 

Scottish Government debate

A new vision for justice

 

Committee Announcement

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Work Committee – Inquiry into the use made of the affirmative procedure during the coronavirus pandemic

 

Business Motions

 

Decision Times

 

Members’ Business Debate

Future of the BBC

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