TODAY’S FAYRE – MERKEL & LABOUR

TODAY’S FAYRE – Monday, 25th September 2017

 “If I should die, think only this of me:

That there’s some corner of a foreign field

That is for ever England. There shall be

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;

A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,

Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,

A body of England’s, breathing English air,

Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

 

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,

A pulse in the eternal mind, no less

Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;

Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;

And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,

In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.”

 

Rupert Brooke – poet & soldier – 1887-1915

 

 

I was in good order first thing until a cab driver thought I came down with the last shower, resulting in him taking me all over ‘hell’s-half-acre’ to get me to my destination. It also took twice as long as it should have and at almost twice the cost. However I have recovered my equilibrium.

 

Now to affairs of state! Chancellor Merkel, as expected was returned for a fourth time over the weekend’s General Election with greatly reduced support. She only polled 32% of the popular, though that was 12% ahead of her nearest rival. Interesting to note that despite capturing 42% of the vote PM May is terribly vulnerable due to various pariah factions in the Tory party. Andrew Neil makes the salient point that Berlin will now be paralyzed for weeks/months as Merkel tries to form four-party coalition, inhibiting her ability to help Macron or May! Not so sure that she wants to help PM May. I would have thought that hell had a better chance of freezing over than the EU adopting a softer tone to the negotiations, despite Mrs May conciliatory presentation in her speech.

 

No one should be surprised that the Far-right found their voices in the back of their larynxes. Immigration in so many respects should not be a problem, but if you don’t have contingency plans for a huge in flow in terms of accommodation, schools and healthcare, it then becomes a HUGE problem and so it has! If you ship in 1.3 million refugees and put most of them in East Germany where wages are lower without infrastructure, a protest vote will manifest itself and it has with a vengeance. Also when one considers what happened at the Referendum, the US Presidential Election and the UK General Election, it is becoming crystal clear that the ‘Establishment’ is not the flavour of the month. Until the EU understands that it has to control immigration unless each country has the infrastructure to support it, the problem will continue to become acute!

 

So the Labour Party Conference is now under ‘a wet sail’, with more enthusiastic delegates attending than in living memory. The educated ‘left’ are on a roll, with that ‘prophet of doom’ Owen Jones to the fore, spreading his personal brand of bile amongst the party faithful. Their dreams are fanciful. However the way the Government is currently performing, it looks as though we may have to dive in to a vortex of despair for 5 years, to realise how damaging a left-wing Labour government would be to the UK economy. It’s an awful price to pay for the indulgence of whimsical intellects!

 

Certainly Labour’s financial front bench got off to a terrible start at Conference as far as business and the City is concerned, but the party faithful will be delighted. John McDonnell served notice on BBC Today that Parliament would decide the compensation for re-nationalising water. That is outright theft. There is already a legal/commercial procedure. The introduction of a transaction levy on all financial deals is a death warrant for the City and its prowess as a leading financial centre. Finally John McDonnell was telling the Sunday Times how confident he was of picking up investment for technology from fund managers. When they take a deeper look at his policy ideals there may be a change of heart even though his understanding may be a figment of his imagination.

 

At 9.50am the FTSE 100 is down just 12 points at 7298 having been down 35 points at the open. Dealers and analysts are contemplating their navels – over or undersized – a typical Monday morning non-event!

 

 

 David Buik

 

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

+44 (0)20 7886 2775

 

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

 

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF ​

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TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Sunday, 24th September 2017

Now entertain conjecture of a time
When creeping murmur and the poring dark
Fills the wide vessel of the universe.
From camp to camp, through the foul womb of night
The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fixed sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other’s watch.
Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames
Each battle sees the other’s umbered face;
Steed threatens steed in high and boastful neighs
Piercing the night’s dull ear; and from the tents
The armorers, accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation.
The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll,
And, the third hour of drowsy morning named,
Proud of their numbers and secure in soul,
The confident and overlusty French
Do the low-rated English play at dice
And chide the cripple, tardy-gaited night,
Who like a foul and ugly witch doth limp
So tediously away. The poor condemnèd English,
Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
Sit patiently and inly ruminate
The morning’s danger; and their gesture sad,
Investing lank-lean cheeks and war-worn coats,
Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
So many horrid ghosts.”

 

William Shakespeare – poet & playwright – 1564-1616

 

PM May’s defining speech on BREXIT in Florence – conciliatory and warm in its presentation though it was – has understandably received very mixed press. The ‘REMAINERS’ can hardly contain their joy at the prospect of ‘No BREXIT’ or at least a lengthy postponement. Many ‘LEAVERS are apoplectic at the prospect that what they voted for will never be delivered. Big business and the City will be relieved that government policy buys them time for a smooth transition out of the EU or a Heaven sent opportunity to make contingency plans. The deeply divided Cabinet will not make on-going deliberations anything but tortuous. Foreign Secretary Johnson is already bleating that he does not believe the UK should adopt any new EU legislation after 29th March 2017 and many will support him on that issue.

 

The joker in the pack is of course the EU and its negotiators, whom I think we will find will make ZERO effort to negotiate a mutually agreeable deal. Puerile and fatuous comments have already been made by President Macron, as he struggles to bring the French labour markets back on the bridle.  Chancellor Merkel may well be returned over the weekend for her 4th term, but she may have less authority than she had before in Germany, though I doubt that will be the case in the EU. There is still a glimmer of hope that the will of business industry and commerce will prevail over political petulance.

 

 

Observers should not be too bothered that S&P and more recently Moody’s have downgraded the UK credit rating to an Aa2 rating from Aa1, due to concerns about the excessive level of debt and the possible damage BREXIT might inflict on the economy. Many in financial markets remain incandescent that these rating agencies failed to flag up the credit/banking crisis, which eventually led to a deep-seated recession in 2008/9.  They hardly covered themselves in glory. The UK debt is brilliant run and orchestrated by the DMO, under the leadership of Sir Robert Stheeman and its prowess is the envy of international debt markets.  There is plenty of liquidity in gilts and many would be surprised if this unwelcome news affected yields in a material way.

 

 

Last week was always going to be about four issues.  Until they were resolved equities were always going to appear to be relatively moribund. The FED declared its hand, indicating a possible hike of 25 basis points in December and tapering QE by $10 billion a month. Then, after a continuing exchange of personal insults, was Kim Jong Un going to keep firing missiles?  That remains in abeyance, as the world waits for an H-bomb test in the Pacific. Thirdly May’s speech came and went. Finally we await the results of the German election. What markets did not legislate for was Iran’s Rouhani’s reaction to Trump threatening to pull the nuclear deal. This threat triggered some missile tests in response to the US President’s unneighbourly comments.  The President has a point but his comments lacked statesmanlike panache!

 

The S&P 500 closed virtually unchanged on the week. The Dollar initially firmed but surrendered some value at the end of the week. Gold eased by $24 an ounce to $1300. Oil rallied 1.6% on the week to $56 and change a barrel. Apple experienced its worst week for 17 months shedding 6.2% in value.  There was a feeling it was just a tad over-priced and too many global authorities were gunning for it for tax and regulation irregularities.  The FTSE added 1.3% thanks to Dollar strength. There was only a limited amount of corporate news with Kingfisher gaining star rating by posting rather less than awful numbers – up 5% on Wednesday. Investors will be watching the level of manipulation at L’Oréal.  Its main shareholder. Lilianne Bettercourt died. Nestle has a 30% stake and would like to increase its stake. It remains to be seen if it allowed to in the next six months. Ryanair had a bad week from a PR perspective.  Michael O’Leary’s inter-personal skills from a professional standpoint were really put to the test, as its pilots refused an E14k bonus for not taking holidays, as hundreds of flights were cancelled. Most companies would have seen its share price larruped on the back of that news but Mr O’Leary is Irish. Ryanair’s was almost unchanged on the week. Uber lost its London license and has 21 days to appeal. I cannot help feeling that if it gives certain guarantees it may get it back. However expect competition from Lyft, which intends to gate-crash the party.   I will never use Uber – not prejudice. It’s just I’m a Londoner and like Black cabs and if all else fails mini-cabs. There was a dispiriting rumour that BT may attempt to cut the benefits of 80k pensioners with a view to filling in its £14 billion pension black hole. The Sunday Times’s business editor, Iain Dey rightly flagged up a ruse that a Labour government, which will attempt to nationalise the water industry without compensation.  By my book that is daylight robbery. Last week European bourses added an average of about 0.7% and the NIKKEI, on the back of a weaker Yen grabbed in 1.9%.

 

Finally this week, despite the concerns of PM May and BIS Secretary Greg Clarke the US fund Canyon Bridge has agreed terms to buy Imagination Technologies, which were ditched at the altar by Apple, for 182p a share which represents a 47.4% increase on the 21st June share price. Canyon Bridge currently has no plans to make any changes to the continuing employment of employees and management, nor does intend to change the principal locations of Imagination’s places of business, or redeploy any fixed assets of Imagination.  Canyon Bridge’s investment strategy is not to take businesses to China but to make them more competitive in China – offering access to the largest market in the world. Imagination has today separately announced that it has entered into an agreement with Tallwood MIPS, Inc., a company indirectly owned by Tallwood Venture Capital, with respect to the disposal of MIPS. Imagination and CBFI have agreed that the completion of the MIPS Disposal is a condition of the Acquisition. I am reliably informed that Canyon Bridge wants to reiterate that its investment in the UK will preserves jobs and allows a UK company to target the not insubstantial China markets.

 

UK companies posting results this week – Monday – MJ Gleeson,  Tuesday – AG Barr, Horizon Discovery, Faroe Petroleum, Close Brothers, Card Factory, Animalcare Group, HIS Markit, Carnival, United Utilitis, Thos Cook, Wednesday – SSE, PZ Cussons, ImmunaPharma, Halma, Grainger Thursday – Allergy Therapeutics, Midatech, Harvey Nash, Euromoney, Moss Bros, Friday – Carillion, CVS Group

 

US companies posting results this week – Monday – Red Hat, Tuesday – Darden Restaurants, Micron Technologies, Nike, Wednesday – Jabil Circuits, Thursday – Vail Resorts, KB Homes

 

Economic data – Monday – Germany ifo, Tuesday –  BBA mortgage applications, US New Home Sales and Consumer Confidence, Wednesday – US Durable Goods & Pending Home Sales, Thursday – US trade Balance, US GDP estimate, Initial Jobless Claims, Friday – UK Gfk Consumer Confidence, Nationwide House Prices, UK Mortgage Approvals & Net Lending, UK GDP forecast, US Personal Spending, Chicago PMI, University of Michigan Consumer Confidence.

 

 David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF

TODAY’S FAYRE – PM MAY MUST BE PREPARED TO WALK AWAY IF ALL ELSE FAILS

TODAY’S FAYRE – Saturday, 23rd September 2017

 

 

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;

Or close the wall up with our English dead.

In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man

As modest stillness and humility:

But when the blast of war blows in our ears,

Then imitate the action of the tiger;

Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,

Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;

Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;

Let pry through the portage of the head

Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it

As fearfully as doth a galled rock

O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,

Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.

Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,

Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit

To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.

Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!

Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,

Have in these parts from morn till even fought

And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:

Dishonour not your mothers; now attest

That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.

Be copy now to men of grosser blood,

And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,

Whose limbs were made in England, show us here

The mettle of your pasture; let us swear

That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;

For there is none of you so mean and base,

That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,

Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:

Follow your spirit, and upon this charge

Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

 

William Shakespeare – poet & playwright – 1564-1616

 

In isolation PM May’s eagerly awaited speech in Florence was a decent effort – full of passion, warmth, kindliness and a desire for reconciliation. It was imperative that Mrs May left a good impression with voters as she has been virtually invisible since the disastrous election on 1st June. She clearly felt that this bastion of culture was the right environment to kick start the EU withdrawal negotiations, which had come to a grinding halt. However hardened political observers were unable to listen to her speech without degrees of surprise, dismay and irritation – ‘remain’ or ‘leave.’ However everyone must acknowledge that getting the balance right in this speech was always going to be very difficult, with the Tory party so horribly divided on this subject.

 

The first impressions PM May left me with were as follows – ‘I don’t really want to leave the EU, but the country has voted accordingly, so let’s make the best of bad job. I am going to make a stack of concessions and I expect you (EU) to respond in a positive manner so that we can live happily ever after. We will be out of the EU in 5 years from the date of the Referendum in June 2016, but we’ll still be best mates. We will pay you billions to leave and we will continue to respect the ECJ until 2021. We will also support the defence of the EU and continue to be a major contributor to security issues.  And in passing, please don’t punish us too much when it comes to trade deals! Oh and by the way we won’t conclude any other trade deals around the world until the 2-year circa period of transition has been completed.’ On the positive side it appears Citizens’ rights to remain in the EU/UK are close to agreement. Also a decent outcome for Ireland and N Ireland is a pre-requisite.

 

Frankly that is not what the public voted for! The majority voted to leave whatever the ‘why’s or wherefore!’ We must not forget that the EU is NOT our friend. The constituent countries are, but that is a different kettle of fish. The UK is dealing with an obsessed bureaucratic federalist and ideological club that has no democratic constitution. 

 

Due to the disastrous result from the General Election the EU feels that it is in the driving seat over these negotiations. It further thinks that the UK will capitulate on every issue. Juncker, Verhofstadt and to a slightly lesser degree Barnier enjoy their continental arrogance and diplomacy is not part of their DNA. The EU had shown no inclination to reform in the last three years, sending David Cameron home with ‘diddly-squit’ in the spring of 2016. Since March 2017 the gang of three have made zero concessions on ANY front.  Remainers will say ‘WHY SHOULD THEY?’ They are in the driving seat and the UK served notice to leave. The reason is, we need to negotiate a deal and if that is not possible, the UK must make contingency plans. Long protracted negotiations are not what the majority of people in the U.K. voted for! They voted to leave ASAP.

 

Personally I am very proud of the manner in which PM May delivered an over-conciliatory speech. She deserves credit but she may have been naive. Also she was taking one hell of a risk with a bunch of bureaucrats representing 26 European countries, most of whom to not want to see the EU compromised.  Of course some are running out of patience and may shortly vote with their feet – Italy, Poland and Greece somewhere close to the top of the queue. 

 

Owen Paterson MP made a few very salient comments. The most important one was warning of the dangers of a protracted period of inertia, which prevents the UK making other trade deals, which could damage the economy.

 

The reception to the speech by the EU, particularly M Barnier was qualified.  He approved on the conciliatory tone but felt the speech still lacked content. It would be unfair to pre-judge the situation. However I have severe doubts, that when the dust settles, M Barnier and his colleagues will be any less compromising as they have been to date.  THEN PM May must show resolve and be prepared to walk away. To quote her – “NO DEAL IS BTTER THAN A BAD DEAL!”

 

 David Buik

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Friday, 22nd September 2017

 

 

When I heard at the close of the day how my name had been receiv’d with plaudits in the capitol, still it was not a happy night for me that follow’d,

And else when I carous’d, or when my plans were accomplish’d, still I was not happy,

But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of perfect health, refresh’d, singing, inhaling the ripe breath of autumn,

When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and disappear in the morning light,

When I wander’d alone over the beach, and undressing bathed, laughing with the cool waters, and saw the sun rise,

And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way coming, O then I was happy,

O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food nourish’d me more, and the beautiful day pass’d well,

And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening came my friend,

And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll slowly continually up the shores,

I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as directed to me whispering to congratulate me,

For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same cover in the cool night,

In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was inclined toward me,

And his arm lay lightly around my breast – and that night I was happy.

 

Walt Whitman – poet – 1819-1892

 

I expected this Friday to be a relatively momentous occasion for PM May and the people of the UK. The Prime Minister is to set out her stall with her government’s vision of the future in a speech in Florence, in the hope of kick starting the negotiations with Brussels, which have never really got underway. The relationship between both sides, though superficially cordial, has come across as caustic and belligerent. M Barnier and his team are very experienced. There is little doubt that David Davis’s team is significantly under-prepared in attempting to implement changes of this magnitude, not helped by the Government having no overall majority, which leaves it weak in terms of negotiating prowess.

 

The EU has to date been adamant that it will not countenance trade negotiations until the divorce bill has been settled. There has been no conciliatory attitude from either side. Even the sensitive issue over citizens’ residency for EU nationals and UK nationals has proved a stumbling block. That issue should have been ‘done & dusted’ weeks ago as an act of good faith rather than be used as a negotiating tool. The weeks and months are ticking away.  Time is running out. So above all else for the UK to have its faith restored in its forlorn PM, bold and resolute leadership qualities need to be displayed in today’s speech above all else. Some vision, a touch of fairness, a hand of friendship but most important of all tough resolution could go some way to sealing what the world might perceive to be a fair deal, if not the start to a sensible accord.

 

PM May is expected to set out her vision of a two-year “implementation period” to avoid the prospect of cliff-edge withdrawal, which could severely damage both the UK’s and the EU’s economy. At the same time the PM will outline the basis of a bespoke future trade model. As a sweetener to the proposed negotiations the PM will offer a palm leaf in the form of an E20 billion contribution to the EU budget for two years.

 

I am fearful that these initiatives may well come to nought.  With the German elections due this weekend, Barnier and his team, who have no power; they are the servants of 27 countries, will be under instructions to give nothing away and to continue to adopt an intransigent attitude.  I hope I am wrong.  But looking in the wings at those two uncompromising hyenas – Juncker and Verhofstadt, who continue to bay for blood with their bellicose rhetoric, it is hard to see a happy outcome. Verhofstadt has been in Ireland emboldening support and stirring up trouble with our nearest ally! It is hard to see a sense of accommodation from these politicians and their bureaucrats, but I have faith in business industry and commerce on both sides of the channel, who will see a need for pragmatism. I am fearful that we may just have to walk away from a bad deal.  That would be a tragedy for all concerned.  However we live in hope that some good sense might prevail.  

 

The markets continue to show little appetite to select another gear with so many political imponderables prevailing.  Yesterday the Street of Dreams showed their ambivalence t the FED’S message that a rate increase was more than on the cards and to the news that the QE $4.2 trillion facility was going to be tapered by $10 billion a month starting in October. Then came the news that President Trump was imposing new sanctions on those dealing with North Korea, which incurred the wrath of Kim Jong Un, who threatened a hydrogen bomb explosion in the Pacific. Markets took cover in Asia, though with the Dollar dipping, gold also pulled back close to the £1300 an ounce threshold. One piece of good news that came out of New York yesterday was the share buy-back of Anadarko, which saw its shares rally by 7%. Wall Street closed as follows – DOW -0.24%, S&P -0.30%, NASDAQ -0.52%. Threats of H-bomb test by North Korea and a lower credit rating for China, due to concern over banking debt rattled Asian markets at the time of writing – ASX +0,35%, Shanghai -0.48%, HS -093%, Nikkei -0.32%

 

Yesterday the FTSE enjoyed an excruciatingly boring session, with investors awaiting comments by the PM in Florence today and some guidance in terms of the outcome of the German elections, which should see Merkel back in power for the 4th time.   Banks fared well but the rest was a morass of indifference. The FTSE 100 closed down 8 points at 7263.  Capita suffered from poor figures and lost 11% in value initially. The OECD posted a horrible prognosis on the UK economy, suggesting growth would fall to 1% next year with frightening forecasts on unemployment up from 4.3% to 5.3% – don’t see that.  These quangos have been negative about BREXIT in the past, take the case of the IMF.  Hopefully the OECD will be wrong again this time. Google paid $1.1 billion for part of the ailing HTC, the smartphone maker from Taiwan.  With the success of its android system Google feels it should be back in the hardware market. HTC share of phones is down from 8% in 2010 to 0.8% today. This morning Smiths Industries posted a 16% increase in profits for the last year.  Saga did not fare quite so well. Profits were down 6.3% in the last 6 months. The FTSE 100 opened its account this morning down

 

UK Companies posting, results this week – Friday – Saga, Smiths Group

 

US companies posting interim results this week – Friday – Finnish Line

 

Economic data due this week –

 

 David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF

MARKET UPDATE

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ – I think we would all be having more fun looking around the Ape House in London Zoo. Gracious me! What a crashing bore. The FTSE 100 is unchanged at 2.45pm at 7275. The volumes are derisory! There is no volatility. Considering the strength of Sterling, miners are holding up well. Sterling based stocks are well supported. The FOMC tonight, PM May on Friday and the German Election at the weekend have forced investors to sit on their hands – what for?  I have no idea.

Kingfisher’s results were less awful than expected – +4.5% and Babcock International’s efforts were praiseworthy – +6.5%. The Street of Dreams is up 5 points at the opening. So roll on 7.00pm BST!!

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 19th September 2017

“The curtains were half drawn, the floor was swept

And strewn with rushes, rosemary and may

Lay thick upon the bed on which I lay,

Where through the lattice ivy-shadows crept.

He leaned above me, thinking that I slept

And could not hear him; but I heard him say,

‘Poor child, poor child’: and as he turned away

Came a deep silence, and I knew he wept.

He did not touch the shroud, or raise the fold

That hid my face, or take my hand in his,

Or ruffle the smooth pillows for my head:

He did not love me living; but once dead

He pitied me; and very sweet it is

To know he still is warm though I am cold.”

 

Christina Rossetti – poet – 1830-1894

 

I doubt the UM General Assembly has ever heard such jingoistic rhetoric from a President of the United States, as was delivered yesterday by Donald Trump.  He certainly did not pull any punches as he chided Kim Jong UN – the Rocket Man – warning him that he would regret any act of military aggression against the United States, as I suspect would the rest of the World.  President Trump seemed none too enamoured with ISIS driven by Muslims extremists, offering them in a rather incendiary manner, little in the way of solace.  Few are around today that remember the solemn words of Harry S Truman before the hydrogen bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but I doubt they were as bellicose as President Trump’s threats.  Let’s hope his advisers can keep the President on the bridle, rather than let him run around, dangerously green.

 

I know the anger and remorse Rio Ferdinand must be feeling at losing his wife, Rebecca, at such a tender age. However at the age of 38, regardless of the incredible shape he is in, he is showing a degree of unacceptable irresponsibility towards his vulnerable children, by attempting to build a career, however short it might be, in the boxing ring. I hope the British Boxing Board of Control do not grant him a licence. He’s a very good football pundit. What’s wrong with that?

 

Sir Vince Cable did a great job rallying the troops at his Lib-Dem conference speech in Bournemouth yesterday. He was relentless in his quest on an ant-BREXIT ticket. He dreams of being the next PM. Dream on! There should be no second referendum. We have moved on Sir Vince; ask the IOD and the EEF. Now we need to secure the best deal for the UK, whilst building a good trading relationship with the EU.

 

International equity markets have felt rather anaemic in the last few days. Investors, analysts and economists have been preoccupied with Trump’s UN bellicose speech, PM May’s forthcoming speech on Brexit in Florence on Friday, with the German General Election following in its wake and of course the 2-day FOMC meeting, starting today, which should pave the way for another modest hike in rates probably in December and the start to some tapering of the FED’S gargantuan quantitative easing of its $4.1 trillion facility. The market wants a steer on how much and when. With inflation in the US down to 1.9% and hourly wage inflation at 2.95% there is certainly scope for some modest adjustments. Unemployment has fallen from 8% nine years ago to 4.4% last month on a string of positive non-farm payroll postings. So Janet Yellen is not expected to delay any announcements. Also Stanley Fischer is due to go as Yellen’s deputy. Who will replace him? In fact will Trump attempt to replace Yellen. It would appear that the President is frustrated with her conservative and ponderous approach to monetary and fiscal policy

 

As I alluded to earlier, Wall Street seemed fixated with President Trump’s UN rhetoric yesterday, with the FED being offered up later as pudding. The 3 main indices closed as follows – DOW +0.18%, S&P +0.11, NASDAQ +0.10% Asian markets stayed on hold ahead of FOMC meeting and guidance on rates/QE, despite the fact Japan posted stellar export growth data – ASX -0.09%, Shanghai +0.22%, Hang Seng +0.33%, Nikkei +0.05%.

 

Yesterday the FTSE added 21 points at 7275 in quiet trading conditions with oil the stand-out sector. Ryanair continues its rehabilitation with its passenger base, by offering a £14k bonus to those passengers, who surrender outstanding holidays due. BIS Secretary Greg Clark is expected to post rules for the protection of UK companies from foreign predators. The basic criteria include 1) no threat to national security 2) HQ to remain in the UK and 3) Research to also remain in the UK. Lord Mandelson and Sir Vince Cable warned against scurrilous behaviour, remembering Kraft’s £11.9 billion bid for Cadbury Schweppes, when Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld promised jobs were safe. The ink was hardly dry before she was proved to have been economical with the truth. Cable and Obama thwarted Pfizer’s aspirations to buy Astra Zeneca for different reasons – tax and protection of jobs and scientific development respectively. Deutsche Boerse failed to gain shareholder approval to buy the LSE.

 

It is interesting to note that France and Germany have hardly, if ever, allowed an overseas predator to buy one of their companies ‘since the Old King died.’ However that does not make them right, as there is a school of thought that says they are too protectionist. It is a question of finding the right balance. Since Toshiba fell from grace Japanese investors have been looking for support for their Cumbrian Moorside nuclear project. China General Nuclear may be prepared to participate in the £15 billion project. Does this Chinese investor meet the security criteria? Finally many also feel that Softbank’s acquisition of ARM Holdings for £24 billion went through with indecent haste.

 

It looks as though Tata have worked out an agreement with ThyssenKrupp to merge their operations making the company the second largest steel manufacturer after Arcelor/Mittal in Europe, serving 31 countries with 48ooo employees. Having agreed a formula on the £15 billion pension hole many of the 4000 Port Talbot workers will hopefully keep their jobs. IG Metall, Germany’s powerful union will be more than look after their workers. Kingfisher posted less awful results – profits only down 5.7% rather than a forecasted 18% saw its shares leap by 5%.

 

UK retail sales grew by an unexpected 1% in August – Consumers are showed an impressive resilience in the face of the on-going real pay squeeze and the imponderable imposed by BREXIT. Panmure’s chief economist Simon French says –

“An increase in household spending adds weight to my view that the MPC will hike interest rates in November, though perhaps only symbolically, as with the Pound at $1.35, inflation should fall to nearer 2% next year.”.

 

 UK Companies posting, results this week – Wednesday – Kingfisher, Babcock International, Thursday – Scisys, Kier Group, Friday – Saga, Smiths Group

 

US companies posting interim results this week – Wednesday General Mills, Thursday – Herman Miller, Friday – Finnish Line

 

Economic data due this week – Wednesday – UK Retail Sales, US Existing Home Sales, Thursday – UK Public Sector Net Borrowing, US Initial Jobless Claims,

 

 David Buik

 

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

+44 (0)20 7886 2775

 

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

 

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF ​

MARKET UPDATE

I am watching US Ambassador to the UN, Nicky Hiley on TV, looking dreamily at her boss, President Trump, who is vociferously under a wet sail at the UN and I must say she looks to me like the kind of person it might be folly to trifle with. I suspect she takes no prisoners! Suddenly I am feeling a cold shiver down my back bone. President Trump’s oratory is all that anyone is interested on the Street of Dreams today, until the FED’S Janet Yellen gets to her feet tonight. Trump certainly entertained his acolytes with an array of jingoistic oratory. As for the FED, market protagonists are asking will there be one more hike in rates this year and will the FED chairman spell out by how much QE will be tapered?   As I speak the FTSE 100 is up 25 points at 7278 at 3.40pm.  The Dow is up a sedentary 25 points.

 

Oil companies have been in the vanguard – Tullow +5%, Cairn +4%, Wood Group, BP and Royal Dutch Shell all up about 1%. Of the banks HSBC has been stand-out – up 1%. Of those companies posting numbers or trading statements, they have performed as follows – Escher Group down 2%, MaxCyte unchanged, Eagle-Eye Solutions -0.5%, Gulf Keystone Petroleum -4% and Ocado down 1%. Initially these shares fell unrealistically by 5% despite turnover increasing by 13%.  There was some concern that customers’ basket content had fallen more than a smidgen. However the market, on reflection, seemed pleased with the overall performance.

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 19th September 2017

 

“I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,

When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;

Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:

The shapes a bright container can contain!

Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,

Or English poets who grew up on Greek

(I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek).

 

How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,

She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand;

She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin;

I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;

She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,

Coming behind her for her pretty sake

(But what prodigious mowing we did make).

 

Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:

Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;

She played it quick, she played it light and loose;

My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;

Her several parts could keep a pure repose,

Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose

(She moved in circles, and those circles moved).

 

Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:

I’m martyr to a motion not my own;

What’s freedom for? To know eternity.

I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.

But who would count eternity in days?

These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:

(I measure time by how a body sways).”

 

 

Theodore Roethke – poet – 1908-1963

 

 

I was very sad indeed to hear that Dame Tessa Jowell has become unwell, suffering from cancer of the brain. We all wish her well and a speedy recovery. Dame Tessa is one of the great voices of New Labour. He exudes decency from every pore. I was personally very sad that she was not nominated as Labour’s candidate to become Mayor of London.  I think the whole London community would have rallied around her as a voice of reason and unanimity of purpose. She would not have tolerated any divisive behaviour.  She has always come across as kind, considerate and very humane.   At the time of ‘9/11’ she handled Cantor Fitzgerald’s and Eurobrokers’ tragic humanitarian issues with great sensitivity and compassion. That will never be forgotten by the families, who suffered such anguish and grief.

 

The ‘Emmy Awards’ brought UK productions or actors to the fore for awards on Sunday night.  It was no surprise that Elizabeth Moss won best actress for her performance in “The Handmaid’s Tale” and no prizes for guessing that Riz Ahmed won the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series. “The Night of.” Both awards were richly deserved – brilliant acting in exciting slightly ‘left-field’ productions.

 

I’ve always been a fan of Gigginstown Stud and the huge contribution it and Michael O’Leary makes to NH racing. However, I am less than convinced that he would number amongst my favourite guests at my dinner table on Saturday night. I am confident he will get over that. However I was aghast that Ryanair’s shares, which had rallied by 30% in the last year, only eased by 2.3% on news that 50 flights a week would be cancelled in the next few weeks affecting 400k passengers due to pilot arrangements having gone awry as well as on-going employment disagreements. I am told that because Mr O’Leary said SORRY and the fact that Ryanair has done so well in recent years he has snatched victory from the jaws of death and got away with it! Those passengers looking for compensation, which analysts say could cost Ryanair £20 million, perhaps should look at the small print. If like easyJet alternative flights are available within 48 hours, it may not be necessary for Ryanair to settle some claims. We await developments.

 

It was sad news that TOYS R US has applied to Chapter 11 for bankruptcy protection. All is not lost but it does not look good, with a debt mountain of $5 billion with $400 million due to be repaid next year and a recent loss posted of $250 million. This company was bought by private equity in 2005 for $6.6 billion (KKR, Bain and Vornado). There are 875 shops in US 765 international outlets and 245 shops using its brand and a workforce of 64,000. Perhaps re-financing may be found for a smaller unit or individual outlets may be bought. Toys are such a competitive business with Amazon rampant in that zone.

 

Yesterday US equity markets on the Street of Dreams seemed wholly preoccupied with the forthcoming UN meeting and tomorrow’s FED meeting. Gold retreated to $1312 an ounce and the Dollar held steady. The three main indices closed as follows – DOW +0.28%, S&P +0.15%, NASDAQ +0.10%. At the time of writing, Asian markets were mixed ahead of FED meeting, with the Nikkei adding +1.45% during today’s session, playing positive ‘catch up ‘after yesterday’s holiday. As we headed to the close the main bourses performed as follows – ASX + 0.10%, Shanghai -0.29%, HS -0.14%.

 

After yesterday’s modest gains, the FTSE was very reflective this morning adding 15 points at 7265. HSBC was in good form adding just under 1%. Yesterday, of the larger cap stocks, BAE Systems added 4% thanks to confirmation that 12 Typhoon fighters valued at $2 billion, had been bought by Qatar. This morning despite revenues increasing by 13% in the last quarter, the shares fell 5% – very much travelled and rived.

 

Much of this morning’s financial press comment revolved around Mark Carney’s comments on his visit to the IMF. Though not officially a ‘REMAINER’, the BOE Governor, is known to be more than sympathetic to that cause. He was unequivocal in stating that ‘BREXIT’ had dealt the UK an economic blow, which would result in a lower growth rate for the UK than the rest of Europe. He spelt out rather a negative outlook. I am less than convinced that the economy will collapse under BREXIT. Inflation currently has risen to 2.9%. Wage inflation is 2.1% on an annualised basis; BUT has apparently run at 3% in the last 3 months. So I suppose Mark Carney and the MPC will want to restore the 0.5% official bank rate, which it cut by 0.25% 13 months ago. However any further hikes may be dangerous. Maybe retail and mortgages (many are fixed rate) can probably cope with a 0.25% increase. I accept that, but it worries me. The Governor has suggested that the UK’S economy is in danger of de-coupling from the EU and the rest of the world. That is a huge assumption and clearly the FX market does not, for the moment, agree – up from $1.20 to $1.35 in the last 9 months. So I hope next month’s move, if it does take place is nor more than symbolic. Otherwise it could be a case of throwing the bay out with the bathwater – folly?

 

 

 

UK Companies posting, results this week – Tuesday – Escher Group, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, Eagle Eye Solutions, Ocado, Wednesday – Kingfisher, Babcock International, Thursday – Scisys, Kier Group, Friday – Saga, Smiths Group

 

US companies posting interim results this week – Tuesday – Adobe Systems, Bed, Bath & Beyond, FedEx, Maxcyte, Wednesday General Mills, Thursday – Herman Miller, Friday – Finnish Line

 

Economic data due this week – Tuesday – UK Current Account, UK Housing Starts and Building Permits, Wednesday – UK Retail Sales, US Existing Home Sales, Thursday – UK Public Sector Net Borrowing, US Initial Jobless Claims,

 

 David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF ​

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Sunday, 17th September 2017

 

“More beautiful and soft than any moth

With burring furred antennae feeling its huge path

Through dusk, the air liner with shut-off engines

Glides over suburbs and the sleeves set trailing tall

To point the wind. Gently, broadly, she falls,

Scarcely disturbing charted currents of air.

 

Lulled by descent, the travellers across the sea

And across feminine land indulging its easy limbs

In miles of softness, now let their eyes trained by watching

Penetrate through dusk the outskirts of this town

Here where industry shows a fraying edge.

Here they may see what is being done.

 

Beyond the winking masthead light

And the landing ground, they observe the outposts

Of work: chimneys like black fingers

Or figures, frightening or mad: and squat buildings

With their strange air behind trees, like women’s faces

Shattered by grief. Here where few houses

Moan with faint light behind their blinds.

 

In the last sweep of love, they pass over fields

Behind the aerodrome, where boys play all day

Hacking dead grass: whose cries, like wild birds,

Settle upon the nearest roofs

But soon are hid under the loud city.”

 

 

 

Stephen Spender – poet, essayist & author– 1909-1995

 

 

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” – Winston S Churchill – Battle of Britain – 16th September 1940

 

It is extraordinary how that exceptional columnist Rod Liddle gets away with being ‘non-PC’, outrageously controversial, humorous, contemptuous and incendiary in a manner that most of us, if we tried to copy his ways, we would have our lapels tugged by the strong arm of the law. I buy the Spectator every week with the express reason to access his column and I also rarely miss an opportunity to read his views in the Sunday Times or the Sun. He articulates his views embarrassingly bluntly, which makes him unique as a columnist. Last week I went to hear him being interviewed by his Editor, Fraser Nelson. I was not disappointed. He covered everything from the Guardian, BBC, The Labour Party, Corbyn, Millwall FC, Middlesbrough and race issues.  The only subject he refuses to write about or be drawn in to argument over, is abortion. The evening was ‘a guinea a minute!’

 

There were two main issues that grabbed the headlines last week and both were interlocked – the surprising threat of higher interest rates in the UK and the value of Sterling which shot up to $1.35.89.  The MPC voted to keep rates unchanged, but a new member, of the committee, Gertjan Vlieghe let his intensions be known that he felt rates could go up by 0.25% this November restoring bank rate to 0.5%, where it stood pre-the –referendum result on 23rd June 2016. I am not exactly a student of economics.  However when wage inflation (2.1%) languishes behind inflation (2.9%), the idea of putting up rates, thus triggering less disposable income could have a very damaging effect on retail and therefore growth.  Surely it might have been better to wait a little to allow inflation to fall next year, which it looks likely to as commodity prices flatten out provided Sterling remains firm. 

 

 

Anyway Carney’s and other BOE luminaries’ thoughts saw Sterling bounce out of the traps adding 2.7% in value against the Greenback.  Also it has risen from $1.20 to $1.35 in the last year. In fairness Mr Vlieghe pointed out that private sector wages had increased by 3% in the last quarter, but the annual rate remains low at 2.1%. To get the balance right is essential. A serious fall in retail activity, which is already under threat thanks to press driven uncertainty over BREXIT, could be hugely damaging for growth. The public’s perception of the government’s handling of BREXIT negotiations is very poor.  That does not help.  Hopefully Mrs May’s speech scheduled for 20th September in Florence may help to clear away the clouds of uncertainty. I think financial markets were delighted to hear that the Bank of England was considering tapering the £475 billion quantitative easing facility. QE feels like a drug that the economy should be weaned off as soon as possible.

 

Global equities put in mixed performances this past week.  The FTSE 100 eased measurably by 2.2% thanks to the glittering performance of Sterling. With so many Dollar earnings related constituent stocks, the fall in the mining, tobacco and drug sectors skimmed the cream off the FTSE. Other stocks such as Diageo, Reckitt Benckiser and WPP have enjoyed better weeks. Carnival also sank by 6%, much of the loss being attributed to the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma. Negative press comment on the indifferent progress being made on the BREXIT negotiations, as previously stated, also did not help. However there was a much better performance from Next, whose shares rallied by 10% on the week and JD Wetherspoon, which posted a stellar performance on Friday, which saw its shares leap like a grilse – up 13%. Markets never do anything by halves these days.  Interserve posted a shocking trading statement and investors vented their spleens taking the share price down by 50%.  Spire Health associated with the insensitive surgeon Patterson, who will now languish in jail for 20 years with any luck, felt the wheels of pain across its back – shares down 16% on the week.

 

 

Conversely the S&P 500 in the US added 1.5%. The Dollar regained its poise and encouraging numbers were posted by the likes of Cisco Systems and Oracle. European stocks rallied by an average of 1.3% and the NIKKEI an agreeable 3.29%, thanks to the weak Yen. Gold fell $35 an ounce from its recent high of $1357. With the aroma of higher interest rates in the air, plus tapering of quantitative easing it was no surprise that 10-year gilt yield flipped up by 15 basis points. Bell Pottinger, unsurprisingly went into liquidation for alleged reprehensible behaviour in South Africa when representing the Gupta family’s business interests. Like many others I was dismayed that Culture Secretary Karen Bradley referred 21st Century’s remaining 61% bid for Sky (valued at £11 billion +) to the CMA for what looks like political reasons rather , commercial ones.  This referral is particularly frustrating as even the EU nodded it through. It will be interesting to see whether Evening Standard Owner Evgeny Lebedev will be successful in buying the Metro for £30-£40 million or whether it might end up in the stable that owns the ‘I’ or will it remain with DMGT. Sir Peter Wood the original innovator of Direct Line and recently successful helping to spin off ‘Gocompare’ is pondering over whether to see his 30.7% stake in concert with the rest of eSure to a possible US bidder for maybe as much as £1 billion.

 

UK Companies posting, results this week – Monday – Finsbury Food Group, Dairy Crest, Tuesday – Escher Group, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, Eagle Eye Solutions, Ocado, Wednesday – Kingfisher, Babcock International, Thursday – Scisys, Kier Group, Friday – Saga, Smiths Group

 

US companies posting interim results this week – Tuesday – Adobe Systems, Bed, Bath & Beyond, FedEx, Maxcyte, Wednesday General Mills, Thursday – Herman Miller, Friday – Finnish Line

 

Economic data due this week – Monday – Rightmove House Price Index, Tuesday – UK Current Account, UK Housing Starts and Building Permits, Wednesday – UK Retail Sales, US Existing Home Sales, Thursday – UK Public Sector Net Borrowing, US Initial Jobless Claims,

 

 David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF

MARKET UPDATE

Today was about the good the bad and the ugly! The good news was the fact that having voted 7-2 to keep rates unchanged the BOE is considering tapering quantitative easing in the months to come. The Pound rose like the proverbial grilse – $1.3371.  Stocks, particularly Dollar related ones took flight – FTSE 100 down 70 points at 7309 at 3.45pm. Miners, though, remained quite resilient, though some eased by 4%. Tobacco and drugs also felt the wheels of pain on their back – down by a average of 2%. Banks were in good order – up by an average of 1.5% apart from Barclays -1%. Gold stocks were weak – -4% on average.  

 

Of those companies that reported today NEXT grabbed the ‘yellow jersey’ – +12% thanks to better than expected outlook. One thing is for sure these days traders express their glee and dismay very positively. So I’ll mentioned the joy now for the bad or pain. Interserve, after a severe profits warning, received a serious larruping – down 50%. Spar healthcare lost 20% exacerbated by its association with Dr Patterson and the resulting claims. Morrison’s outlook did not pass muster – down 6%. Ophir Energy was 2.5% to the good and Haynes Publishing added 3%.  The DOW is up 10 points.