TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 18th July 2017
“This is the night mail crossing the border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner, the girl next door…
Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from girl and boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or to visit relations,
And applications for situations,
And timid lovers’ declarations,
And gossip, gossip from all the nations,
News circumstantial, news financial,
Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled on the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, the adoring,
The cold and official and the heart’s outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.”
WH Auden – poet – 1907-1973
There wasn’t a great of comment in the press about Marin Cilic capitulation against Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final. From my perspective I think Cilic was completely overawed by the occasion, which caused him to freeze, dissolving him into tears. Croatians are an emotional race so I venture to suggest that raw emotions were his downfall rather than some spurious blister on his left foot! Anyway, take nothing away from Federer’s amazing achievement. I cannot see that record ever being superseded.
Perhaps I am just feeling a little vulnerable, but I am finding the aggression, arrogance and excess of confidence being adopted by Messrs President Emanuel Macron, PM Edouard Philippe, Pascal Lamy, Christian Noyer and Michel Barnier towards the UK nauseating in the extreme. For the avoidance of doubt, Paris, to date, is a Mickey Mouse financial centre in comparison to London. It will be a task of Herculean proportions to compete on level terms with London. If I know the City, it will be up for the fight, regardless of remedial action to be taken by JP Morgan, UBS, HSBC, Goldman, Citbank and others! France’s attitude slightly concerns me as it could lead to other reprisals in our relationship, which could be damaging all the way around as sovereignty in the UK’S case and Federalism in the case of France and the EU take a firmer vice like grip. The UK has no major issues with France, though ‘entente cordial’ seems to be dissipating very quickly. The UK’S problems are with the EU. My hopes and dreams all presuppose that the UK Government and its dissenters start to grow up and behave in a manner expected from people in positions of authority.
There was an interesting piece in the Guardian yesterday on cyber security inspired by comments made by Inga Beale the CEO of Lloyds of London. She has warned that unless cyber security is tightened up, it could cost the world $120 billion (worst guess). ‘Hurricane Katrina’ cost $108 billion in 2005 as the largest single natural disaster. M/S Beale has indicated that a hack on a cloud service could cost as much as $53 billion and attacks on computer operating systems could create havoc to the tune of $28 billion. Governments, business, computer makers and security firms you are on your metal.
Wall Street had one of those nondescript sessions, thanks in the main to Congress failing to acquiesce to Trump’s Healthcare plans to replace Obamacare as well as the plunging Dollar. The main indices closed as follows with YTD performances – DOW: 21,629 -0.04% +9.448% S&P: 2,459 -0.01% +9.84% NASDAQ: 5,839 +0.03% +20.07%.
Health stocks on the S&P 500 slipped in yesterday’s rather anaemic session, partly weighed down by a delay in the US Senate’s consideration of healthcare legislation. The S&P health sector fell 0.3%. Procter & Gamble added 0.5% as investor Nelson Peltz actively seeks a seat on P&G’s board. BlackRock shares fell 3.1% after the world’s biggest asset manager’s quarterly profit came in below expectations.
After the closing bell, Netflix shares jumped nearly 10% following better than expected subscriber growth – up 5.2 million against expectations of 3.23 million taking the total to 36.3 million (29 million in US). 190 countries have access to Netflix and the other piece of good news is that Netflix will spend $6 billion on fresh content. Meal-kit operator Blue Apron Holdings fell 10.5% after an Amazon unit filed a trademark for a competing meal-kit service earlier this month. M&A activity continued to bubble over with diamond producer Dominion Diamond agreed to be bought by Washington Cos. for $14.25 a share, or about $1.2 billion. The company’s stock gained 59 cents, or 4.4%.
Despite better than expected GDP numbers in China up from 6.7% to 6.9% posted on Monday, markets were somewhat somnolent in Asia as the headed to the close as follows plus YTD – NIKKEI: 19,993 -0.62% +4.593% HANG SENG: 26,436 -0.13% +20.115% CHINA: 3,643 -0.56% +9.944% ASX: 5,682 -1.26%, +0.383%
In London yesterday the FTSE 100 gained 25 points. The initial headlines were grabbed by Reckitt Benckiser’s plans to sell food division for circa £2.2 billion to either Unilever or Hormel Foods or McCormick or Pinnacle Foods. I suspect Unilever is in the driving seat. Then it was all about Dame Carolyn McCall serving notice to leave easyJet as CEO to replace Adam Crozier as CEO of ITV next January. Lady McCall knows about the consumer and what she/he requires. She did a good job as easyJet despite scraps with Stelios over her bonuses – She is alleged to have made £30 million during her stewardship. easyJet’s shares in the 7 years she was CEO have rallied from 427p to 1400p today. Her energy and knowledge of the consumer make her a great choice. Her other quality is her strength of character. Just watching her terrifies me to death! Finally Dame Karen Brady is to chair Sir Philip Green’s operations which include Arcadia. What a portfolio – the Apprentice, West Ham United colleague of Davids Sullivan & Gold and chief barker for the King of Gowns & Blouses! Financially she is not about to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune!
Today at 9.45am the FTSE 100 is down points. There were decent trading statements from British Land (+2.5%), IG group (+6%), Headlam (+6%) and Royal Mail – revenues up 1% shares up 3.5%.
At 9.30am Inflation came in lower than expected – down from 2.9% to 2.6%. According to Simon French, Panmure’s chief economist tells me this trend is in line with the US and EU – on its way down from its zenith.
UK companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – NCC Group, IG Group, Headlam, BHP Billiton, British Land Wednesday – Drax, Wizz Air, RPC Group, Evraz, TalkTalk, Severn Trent, Thursday – Sports Direct, Moneysupermarket, Unilever, Howden Joinery, Premier Foods, Anglo-American, SSE, EasyJet, Friday – Acacia Mining, Euromoney, Close Brothers, Vodafone.
US companies posting results this week – Tuesday – IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Harley-Davidson, Goldman Sachs, UnitedHealth, Lockheed Martin, CSX Corpn, Wednesday – Northern Trust, Alcoa, American Express, Thursday – Omnicom, Bank of New York Mellon, Travelers, Abbott Labs, Microsoft, eBay, Snap-on Inc, Philip Morris
Economic data posted this week – Tuesday – UK PPI, CPI & Retail Price indices, Thursday – CBI Industrial Order Expectations, US Initial Jobless Claims, Friday – UK PSBR, US PMI Manufacturing
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