The annual wind down to silly season took a genuinely surprising twist this year when a couple of major news stories broke that triggered a hurried rescheduling of summer holidays. Of course, an escalating European sovereign debt crisis and the threat (albeit modest) of financial Armageddon in the States ought never really get in the way of a decent beach break. However, the opportunity to put the boot in to News Corp meant journalists and politicians were more than willing to put the Sangria on hold.

Expectations that Rupert Murdoch’s proposed outright acquisition of British Sky Broadcasting (LON:BSY) would be waved through by government officials, were dashed last week. Shares in the satellite broadcaster had been cruising close to 850p for five months before a catastrophic failure connected to phone hacking caused the price to, well, dip to more like 700p. In New York, shares in News Corp slipped by $3 to $15.40 through July but perked up following the Murdochs' appearance before MPs in London. Meanwhile, speculation over Prime Minister David Cameron's connection to the original BSKYB bid refused to go away.

Stockwise, the big news in the US was Apple’s (NYSE:AAPL) indefatigable rise and a share price that is closing in on $400. In the third quarter the technology giant sold 20.34 million iPhones and 9.25 million iPads and its available cash jumped by $10 billion to an eye-watering $76.2 billion. That was good news for London listed Arm (LON:ARM), which supplies a lot of the chips that Apple uses in its devices. Shares in ARM gained more than 4% to 608p on the news.

Quarrelling among US politicians over deficit reduction, budgets and how exactly everyone was going to get paid if the country’s self-imposed debt ceiling wasn’t lifted, added to the uncertainty in London. On the upside, the political and economic posturing plumped up the price of gold to over $1,600 per ounce before slipping. Winners on that front were African Barrick Gold (LON:ABG) ,which saw its share price jump from 419p to 472p between July 12 and July 18, and Randgold Resources (LON:RRS), which leapt from 5215p to 5560p in the same period. Elsewhere, platinum and precious metals group…

Unlock the rest of this Article in 15 seconds

or Unlock with your email