How times change.  Six months ago, you may have expected our weekly missive to be focused around Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, as the two leaders jousted and postured in what seemed an unlikely series of threats.  Since then, we have moved away from mutually assured destruction to something that seemed as equally far removed from the probable: the declaration of the end of war between North and South Korea.

On Friday, the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walked across the military demarcation line which divides the Korean peninsula and was greeted by South Korean president Moon Jae-in.  The summit marks the start to the end of the ceasefire that has plagued the two countries since the end of the Korean war in 1953.  More importantly, it reaffirms both countries commitment to complete denuclearisation and establish a new peace regime.

Although lacking in any detail, the pledge has already seen North Korea promising to close its nuclear test site next month and permit foreign inspections of the facility.  As the two sides look to build on the momentum of their historic summit, there is optimism around further talks, in particular the significant meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Although hugely momentous, the markets are unlikely to be that interested, such is the nature of investing.  Of more importance to the stock market is the hopeful end to another war: the Trade War.  There is a risk that President Trump will change his mind on taxing US consumers of European aluminium and steel, which saw German Chancellor Angela Merkel hurriedly jet off for a meeting at the White House.  Re-imposing taxes on aluminium and steel matters to both US and European markets.  While welcoming European guests to discuss trade, President Trump is sending his own delegation to China to negotiate on tariffs.

One deal that has already been agreed before anyone knew it was happening, is the proposed merger between UK grocers Sainsbury’s and Asda.  The combined entity will create the UK’s largest grocer and although both brands will be maintained, the economies of scale of the increased pact will mean improved purchasing power and the potential of Argos branches inside Asda.  This is expected to generate in the region of £500 million of synergies, with the collective capturing more than 31% of the market.  Nothing is certain though until the competition watchdog has pawed over the details of the deal, however there is recent precedent with the Tesco’s takeover of Booker, which was not blocked.  Both Tesco’s acquisition and the merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda could be seem as a defensive move against both the discount German supermarkets and the global disruptor that is Amazon.