Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here

Ted Cruz, the firebrand Texas senator, has won Iowa’s Republican caucus, as Hillary Clinton secured the narrowest of victories over Democratic rival Bernie Sanders in the first votes of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mr Cruz’s victory represents a blow to Donald Trump, the New York property mogul who had dominated the GOP race for months. With 99 per cent of precincts reporting in the first state to vote in the race for the White House, Mr Cruz had won 28 per cent compared with Mr Trump’s 24 per cent.

In a state that has long rewarded conservatives who put religion at the fore, and in an era dictated by the use of data analysis, the Texan won on the strength of both. Curiously, Mr Trump’s poll numbers also took a dive shortly after pop singer Adele publicly rebuked him for the unauthorised use of her songs “Rolling in the Deep”, along with her theme to Skyfall.

Monday night’s nail-baiting results tell us three things about the 2016 elections. First, both parties are deeply split and dealing with serious anti-establishment revolts. Second, that there is reason to be even more sceptical of polls than normal. And third, that the Republican contest is likely to get even nastier in the coming days. (FT, WaPo, CoS)

In the news

Sanofi leads hunt for Zika vaccine The French company became the first drugmaker to announce a research and development plan to target the disease, saying its existing infrastructure could be “rapidly leveraged” to speed identification of a vaccine candidate. Its commitment came a day after the World Health Organisation declared Zika a global public health emergency as the number of suspected brain-damaged babies linked to the virus rose above 4,000 in Brazil alone. (FT)

BP shares tumble The oil major posted a $2.2bn fourth-quarter loss after taking heavy writedowns and restructuring charges in the wake of the crude price collapse. Outlining some 7,000 job losses across the group over the next two years, the UK company laid bare the full impact of a savage drop in Brent oil prices that has battered revenues and profits across the energy industry and led to fears that dividends could be cut. (FT)

Revenues beyond oil Russia is lining up seven major state companies, including Aeroflot, diamond miner Alrosa and Rosneft, for potential privatisation as the Kremlin debates drastic options. The decision to consider the first such comprehensive push in years comes as the latest slide in crude prices is expected to drive Russia into a second year of recession. (FT)

The 500 euro question The 500 euro note is being investigated for ties to terrorism. The EU Commission on Tuesday will pledge to investigate the suspiciously high number of the notes in circulation in the eurozone as part of a plan to choke off financing for terrorists in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. (FT)

It’s a big day for

UK’s new EU deal David Cameron’s fight to keep Britain in the EU begins in earnest as the outline of the reform deal he will put to the British public in a referendum is published. (FT)

Alphabet The holding company for Google, looks set to overtake Apple to become the world’s most valuable company when the US stock market begins trading. Shares in Alphabet rose more than 6 per cent in after-hours trading on Monday, pointing to a market capitalisation of about $550bn, topping Apple’s $540bn. It had already overtaken Apple measured by enterprise value, which strips out net cash, though market capitalisation remains a more widely followed yardstick. (FT)

Spain Talks between Spain’s king and senior party leaders on forming a government look unlikely to break the country’s political deadlock, increasing chances of a new national election in coming months. King Felipe will meet socialist leader Pedro Sanchez and Mariano Rajoy, who is acting prime minister, wrapping up a second round of negotiations that started last week. (Reuters)

Food for thought

Company wisdom and the road to profit Strategic clarity has blurred in so many industries today to the point of near-invisibility thanks to the digital revolution and globalisation. Flying blind, companies seem happier to cut costs and buy back their shares than to invest purposefully for the future. In that sense, the main competition of so many established companies lies within their own organisations, says John Thornhill. (FT)

Terror goes global A surge in Isis-claimed attacks suggests the Sunni Islamist extremist group and its violent, ultra-conservative ideology are extending their influence to Asia. (FT)

Fiddling while Rome burns Brexit is no way out of a Europe in crisis, argues the FT’s Gideon Rachman. In its own interests, Britain must contribute to stability on the European continent — debate for minor changes in their relationship with the EU seem “almost bizarrely besides the point”. (FT)

Film prompts push to end ‘honour killings’ A Pakistani documentary about “honour killings” is giving impetus to a political effort to protect women, even before it has been screened in Pakistan. When the film was nominated for an Oscar last month it caught the attention of Nawaz Sharif, prime minister. He will convene a meeting this month to build consensus to tackle the tradition, which results in the murder of about three women a day in Pakistan for disobeying male elders in matters of love and marriage. (WSJ)

S Korean mountain city’s Olympic hopes In 2018, when the Winter Olympics takes place in South Korea, the games will be held in Pyeongchang, a remote city in the sparsely populated northeastern province of Gangwon. The province is the only one in the country physically capable of hosting the Winter Olympics, but it is relatively under-developed. It is hoping to get the kind of boost Seoul received nearly 30 years ago. (NAR)

Video of the day

Santorum on Trump and Cruz Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucus in 2012 but this year he is trailing fellow evangelical Ted Cruz. He tells Washington bureau chief Demetri Sevastopulo neither leading candidate has a record of working with other people to get things done. (FT)

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.