TODAY’S FAYRE – Sunday 23rdApril 2017


“I found a ball of grass among the hay
 progged it as I passed and went away;
And when I looked I fancied something stirred,
And turned again and hoped to catch the bird—
When out an old mouse bolted in the wheats
With all her young ones hanging at her teats;
She looked so odd and so grotesque to me,
I ran and wondered what the thing could be,
And pushed the
 knapweed bunches where I stood;
Then the mouse hurried from the
 craking brood.
The young ones squeaked, and as I went away
She found her nest again among the hay.
The water o’er the pebbles scarce could run
And broad old cesspools glittered in the sun.


John Clare – poet – 1793-1864



William, Duke of Cambridge, officiated at some of last week’s investitures at Buckingham Palace. He would have enjoyed an eclectic bunch of recipients, which included making Mark Rylance, the celebrated left-wing actor, a knight of the realm as well as honouring Mrs Posh Beckham with an OBE for her contribution to girl bands and fashion! Sir Mark adorned a new ‘titfer’ – rather less tatty and more in keeping with a grandiose occasion! I wonder if Dave is still smarting over ‘no’ knighthood being forthcoming in last year’s New Year’s honours list!


Many people over the years have admired the interpretations of Georges Simenon’s French detective ‘Maigret’ by Rupert Davis and Sir Michael Gambon.  However in recent years Rowan Atkinson has left a huge impression with his recent portrayals.  I just love the way his performance is under-cooked and very low ‘key.’ I think he’s a better ‘straight’ actor than he is a satirical comedian.


Although Bertolt Brecht’s play ‘THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI’, adapted by Bruce Norris for the Donmar was tumultuously received by the audience, I did not care for it at all.  I suppose I am just tired of ‘left-wing’ political adaptions of a perfectly good story, based on a parody of ‘Hitler’s story’ in a speak-easy in Chicago. I also got the ‘pop’ at the two Mayor Daley’s of Chicago during the days of prohibition and in the 70’s by father and son, but the ‘Trump’ invective we could have done without!  However odious people find President Trump, it brought nothing to the production at all.  I suppose if it made Sir Lenny Henry feel better, job done. Sir Lenny confirmed that he is a very decent Thespian, but the play was not for me.  Frankly I didn’t have the intellect to gain full enjoyment.

Well against all the odds, PM May, frustrated by subversive activity over BREXIT, finally called a General Election last Tuesday, supposedly against her better judgement. She felt that the Government could not negotiate a satisfactory BREXIT deal with the likes of Tony Blair, Jeremy Corbyn, ‘Little Timmy’, Nick Clegg, Gina Miller, Nicola Sturgeon and others constantly trying to sabotage her efforts.  She was right – even if some polls say her lead in the polls has been slashed due to alleged and spurious tax increases and the fact that she changed her mind!  The suggested cut in Mrs May’s popularity could make this a very messy seven weeks of unpleasant rhetoric.  So for once Trump’s adventures in Syria, Afghanistan and flirtation with North Korea were off the front pages and PM May took pride of place!


The markets coped quite well. The FTSE 100 fell by 2.9%, which was a currency ‘trade-off’ as Sterling rose against the Greenback by a similar amount. Conversely the FTSE 250, which is probably a more accurate barometer of UK activity fell by only 0.3% in the same period. The strength of Sterling was down to a strongly held perception that Mrs May should get a decent mandate from which to negotiate her BREXIT, rather than some half-baked plan being hurled back to and from Brussels. On Saturday the Times poured cold water on the idea that the UK was higher in the queue than the EU for a negotiated trade deal with the US. That I doubt, as the US has always taken an inordinate amount of time over any trade deal and apart from TPP, which it has pulled out of in January, no trade deal of any substance or complexity has been pulled off since ‘the Old King Died!’ Trying to deal with 27 countries?  I suspect I will be pushing up daisies before a US deal with the EU is consummated!



The earnings season was in full flow last week.  In the US most companies did not disappoint, maintaining a decent increase in profits with the exception of Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson.  The S&P 500 added 0.97% in value over the week. Europe’s indices eased by 0.75%.  Japan’s Nikkei added 1.5% thanks in the main to a weaker Yen. Here in London mining, oil, tobacco and some banks felt the wheels of pain across their backs thanks to the strength of Sterling. Though AB Foods pleased their acolytes, the same could not be said for Burberry, which did well at home but saw sales drift in US and Asia and as for Debenhams, there was a little ‘trouble at mill.’  Some outlets are being closed as margins are squeezed due to inflation and the tepid reception to their fashions. Unilever seem to respond well to the threat of Kraft Heinz’s predatory instincts hovering over CEO Paul Polson’s shoulder. Reckitt Benckiser seem on course to buy baby food titan Mead Johnson.  



This coming week the earnings season sees the floodgates open. In the UK Lloyds Banking Group update the market with a trading statement on Thursday, with Barclays and RBS stepping up to the plate on Friday. RBS is expected to post a small profit of about £70k for the first quarter up from a loss of £963m.  We also expect more meat on the bone in regards to Williams & Glyn – its sale or appropriating £750 million towards SME as well as improved capital requirements.  Barclays is expected to post a profit over the same period of £1.5 billion up from £902 million and Lloyds Banking Group should post a comfortable profit of £1.2 billion.  When CEO Bill Winters presents Standard Chartered Bank’s credentials a modest profit of $290 million.


AND SO TO THE FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TONIGHT! – TOO CLOSE TO CALL, but if Melenchon & Le Pen make the final ballot! Look out!  However I suspect it will be Macron & Le Pen, with the natural conservative (small C) culture of the French prevailing. However Mme Le Pen is far from dead in the water post the recent shootings in Avenue des Champs Elysee!


UK companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – Amex Foster Wheeler, Whitbread, BHP Billiton, Carpetright, Virgin Money – Wednesday – LSE, GKN, Croda International, Standard Chartered Bank, Proactis Holdings, Glaxo SmithKline, Boohoo, Metro Bank, Tullow Oil Thursday – Persimmon, Jardine, Lloyd Thompson, Cobham, Aggreko, Harvey Nash, Travis Perkins, C4X Discovery, Lloyds Banking Group (TS), Weir Group, Schroders, Astra Zeneca, WPP, Kaz Minerals, Howden Joinery, Friday – Barclays, RBS, Rotork, Hastings – 2nd May BP, 3rd May Royal Dutch Shell, 4th May HSBC


US companies posting numbers – Monday – Alcoa, Kimberley-Clark, Hasbro, Whirlpool, Tuesday – Caterpillar, 3Ms, Lockheed Martin, JetBlue, Valero Energy, Freeport-McMaHon, Coca-Cola, Pulte, Biogen, Texas Instruments, Wednesday – Nasdaq, PepsiCo, Boeing, Twitter, Procter & Gamble, Hershey, General Dynamics, PayPal, Amgen, Thursday – Ford, Raytheon, Zimmer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Mead Johnson, CME! KKR! AbbVie, Intel, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks


 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 – Thursday 20thApril 2017


“There it was I saw what I shall never forget
And never retrieve.
Monstrous and beautiful to human eyes, hard to
He lay, yet there he lay,
Asleep on the moss, his head on his polished cleft
small ebony hoves,
The child of the doe, the dappled child of the deer.

Surely his mother had never said, “Lie here
Till I return,” so spotty and plain to see
On the green moss lay he.
His eyes had opened; he considered me.

I would have given more than I care to say
To thrifty ears, might I have had him for my friend
One moment only of that forest day:

Might I have had the acceptance, not the love
Of those clear eyes;
Might I have been for him in the bough above
Or the root beneath his forest bed,
A part of the forest, seen without surprise.

Was it alarm, or was it the wind of my fear lest he
That jerked him to his jointy knees,
And sent him crashing off, leaping and stumbling
On his new legs, between the stems of the white


Edna St Vincent Millay – poet – 1892 – 1950



After Tuesday’s surprise election announcement, it was only a matter of minutes before the bottles of vitriol and acrimony started to leak profusely. I have to admire PM May – perfect casting for the job in the current circumstances – irritated by small talk, cold, calculating, focused, resolute and appearing to be immune to serious criticism. She seems very determined to do a very decent job for the people of this country and will not be deterred by the endless barrage of Corbyn platitudes on redistribution of wealth, which is laudable but disastrous as the cost of his plans will bring the UK economy to its knees. Also it’s high time the saboteurs of BREXIT – Blair, Mandelson, Clegg, Farron, Campbell and Miller were put to the sword.  If they don’t like BREXIT and they have every right not to then galvanise the voters to remove Mrs May and the Conservatives from government on 8th June 2017.  Otherwise pipe-down, challenge by all means but respect democracy!


This election campaign is dangerously long. Therefore I believe Mrs May is spot on, in thinking that anything positive for her campaign could ever come out of TV debates. These debates tend to be of far more benefit to the underdog. David Cameron gained nothing from them at the last election.  The choice seems clear to her – LEADERSHIP – back me or sack me! Why skid on a few banana skins, when it isn’t necessary?



Many investors were trying to put geopolitical problems behind them yesterday, but the influence from the UK election call and the cloudy uncertainty that continues to permeate from the French Presidential scene has been too powerful. So the fact that in the US inadequate interim results were posted by Johnnie & Johnnie and Goldman on Tuesday took the wind out of market acolytes’ sails, thus failing to compensate for the other factors. American Express posted adequate numbers which saw its stock price rise by 2.23% after hours and by 15% in the last year. eBay’s efforts were rather good. Though this tech/retail giant certainly beat the Street’s estimates, the second quarter outlook was disappointing.  There is no doubt that this stock has travelled and arrived – down 1.9% yesterday but is has performed in a ‘gangbuster’ fashion in the last year – up 32%.  Perhaps not quite as good as Amazon but wow! – Amazon up 42% in the last year! There is concern about OPEC’S story line.  Their plans on production seem to be falling apart as oil prices have fallen 3.8% in recent days. Exxon Mobil’s share price has hit a 14 month low. That will concern Rex Tillerson or maybe he has sold all his stock options? Gold has also pulled back from $1290 to $1280 an ounce as the markets calms down over North Korea.


Yesterday the FTSE opened up just below the Plimsoll line cut its losses but eventually closed the session down 33 points at 7114. As Sterling strengthened, some Dollar related stocks suffered such as Diageo and a few of the miners.  Investors vented the spleens against Burberry down 7.94%.  Sales in the UK were good, BUT obviously suffered in the US and Asia due to the Pound’s weakness. Some domestic diehards without serious BREXIT connotations, rallied to the cause – Sainsbury +5%, EasyJet +4.9% and NEXT +3.2%, though rising inflation must be a concern. Conversely the FTSE 250, the real barometer to the UK economy added 0.62% – nearing a record.


At the IMF meeting in Washington, concern was expressed that banking debts, which are heading towards E1 trillion in size, incurred by the likes of Deutsche, Credit Suisse and RBS, was damaging recovery. That is like saying is the Pope a catholic, but point taken.  Having upgraded the UK economy a couple of days ago, the IMF apparently started muttering (unconfirmed) about BREXIT and how the UK did not understand the dangers to its financial markets.  I think we here in the UK have the matter in hand. There was also criticism of the possible dangers from relaxation on regulation in the US. Elliott Advisors amongst other shareholders in Akzo Nobel have rejected £1.3 billion sweetener for shareholders to prevent a takeover by Pittsburgh Glass. A hostile bid is expected for the Dutch mogul which bought ICI and Courtaulds in years gone by. Asian markets made a tepid effort to come to hand with sparse guidance from New York – ASX +0.21%, Shanghai -0.29%, HS +0.30%, Nikkei +0.23%.


When you are under the cosh from predators such as Kraft Heinz, it is amazing the size of the rabbit that can be pulled out of the hat.  Paul Polson of Unilever posted excellent results today for the last quarter with a 6.1% increase in sales to E13.3 billion. Dividend is up 12%. Sales growth for the year is expected to be maintained between 3.5-5%.  Emerging markets have done well.  The sale of Flora and Stork is under way. Shares have risen 18.8% in the last year much of that down to the Kraft bid of $115 billion on 27th February. Sky posted revenue of £9.46 billion for the last 9 months.  Revenue in UK only rose 4% but in Germany and Italy it was up 28% and 25% respectively.  100k new customers were added.  Though the churn rate last quarter was alarmingly high at 11.6% Sir Jeremy Darroch the CEO says it has evened out.  We await news on the 21st Century takeover.  Now that Bill O’Reilly the FOX presenter has been hosed maybe Karen Bradley will see her way clear by nodding it through. Debenhams like many retailers is having to cut costs as and may be closing as many as 10 stores and a similar number of warehouses with no doubt jobs to go too!  There are slew of earnings out there.  If I rattle them off I will bore people more than I do already!


UK companies posting results this week – Thursday – Hvivo, Debenhams, Unilever, Acacia Mining, Sky, Senior, Go-Ahead, Moneysupermarket, Evraz, Man Group, Essentra, Friday – Reckitt Benckiser

US companies posting results this week – Thursday – Philip Morris, PPG, Bank of New York, Mellon, DR Horton, Travelers, Visa, Mattel, Friday – GE

Economic data out this week – Thursday – Phili-Fed Manufacturing Index, Friday – UK Retail Sales


 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 – Wednesday 19thApril 2017


“The shining line of motors, 

The swaying motor-bus, 

The prancing dancing horses 

Are passing by for us.


The sunlight on the steeple, 

The toys we stop to see, 

The smiling passing people 

Are all for you and me.


“I love you and I love you!”– 

“And oh, I love you, too!”– 

“All of the flower girl’s lilies 

Were only grown for you!”


Fifth Avenue and April 

And love and lack of care– 

The world is mad with music 

Too beautiful to bear.”


Sara Teasdale – poet – 1884 – 1933


Considering the parlous sate Leicester City found themselves in two months ago, the recovery of their form under Craig Shakespeare has been nothing short of miraculous.  The Foxes may consider themselves a tad unlucky to lose the replay and the quarter final tie 1-2.


 There is little point in mentioning trivial matters such as football and the arts when the only subject on anyone’s mind at present is the snap General Election called by PM May yesterday, in response to subversive tactics adopted by all the opposition parties and some of her own MPS preventing the Government from doing its job properly – that is to say delivering BREXIT unfettered, clean and clearly, without being sabotaged at every nuance and act of legislation.  Those determined to block the government’s programme for leaving the EU have been given their wish.  It is now up to these parties to persuade the voters in the UK of the errors of their ways and have BREXIT turned over in the ballot box. I don’t think they will, as there are no real leaders waiting in the wings ready or respected enough to govern. So if Mrs May wins this election for the Conservatives clearly and by a decent margin, maybe she can get on with the job in hand. My concern is a 7-week campaign is too long – too much time has been accorded to slip up on political banana skins waiting in spurious places.  I fear her majority will not be as great as the polls suggest.


Markets on the whole welcomed the news with an opportunity of clearing up doubt, uncertainty and a few anomalies, with slight concern expressed about a seven week campaign. Sterling enjoyed gyrations mainly on the upside with our beloved Pound preening itself like a peacock at $128.20. There is a price to pay for Sterling firming by over 2%. It would inevitably hit the value of FTSE 100 stocks with so many of them related to Dollar income and profits – hence the FTSE fell by 2.45% to 7150, with miners, oil, banks and tobacco suffering the most. Nil-desperandum! This morning at 10.00am the FTSE 100 just eased by 10 points to 7140, but had erased losses by 11.00am. However the FTSE 250 was in a very positive frame of mind – up by 1%, nudging record levels.


Not only do US equity markets have to deal with the prospect of Trump failing to get his legislation through Congress, but they also had to deal with a few disappointing results from the 1st quarter earnings season. The fact that Goldman Sachs missed quite badly was a shock considering how well JP Morgan, Citibank and Bank of America have done. Their efforts on fixed interest trading from their high standards, was lamentable – up only 1% in terms of revenue. Goldman shares fell by 4.72%. Traders were almost as unhappy about Johnson & Johnson’s efforts – with shares dropping by 3.1%. Markets in New York closed as follows – DOW -055%, S&P -029% and NASDAQ -0.12%. Asia responded negatively to U.K. Election shock waves, dipping sentiment on the Street of Dreams and a strong ¥en half way through the session – ASX -0.61%, Shanghai -1.06%, Hang Seng -0.71%, Nikkei-0.01%.


Len McCluskey, head of Unite – well his timing was priceless threatening industrial action for 7000 BMW workers over pension rights. You have to wonder if this guy is ‘brain-dead!’ – Industrial rights? Of course, but talk don’t threaten at this time? Don’t moan about jobs and then attempt to throw the baby out with the bath water!


I’m glad that Chancellor Hammond has agreed to dispose of RBS even at a loss. Hopefully he will do it as a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bank. The toxic assets always have a price and splitting the bank will help give NatWest, Ulster, Coutts and RBS north of the border the fillip they deserve to crack on with life. RBS share price was up 1.82% at 228p on news of the proposal. However it is still a million miles away from 503p breakeven price – the cost to the taxpayer was £45 billion. This morning AB Foods pleased their acolytes with results – up 3.5%, but Chris Bailey, CEO of Burberry struggled before he hands over to Mario Gobbetti of Celine in July – Burberry shares down 5.75%.


UK companies posting results this week – Wednesday – AB Foods, Segro, Burberry, Henderson, Bunzl, Fenner, RELX, Greggs, Rentokil Initial, Rio Tinto, Thursday – Hvivo, Debenhams, Unilever, Acacia Mining, Sky, Senior, Go-Ahead, Moneysupermarket, Evraz, Man Group, Essentra, Friday – Reckitt Benckiser

US companies posting results this week –Tuesday – Bank of America Merrill, Abbotts Labs, Goldman Sachs, Charles Schwab, Harley-Davidson, Yahoo!, Wednesday – Blackrock,  American Express, Abbotts Labs, eBay, Thursday – Philip Morris, PPG, Bank of New York, Mellon, DR Horton, Travelers, Visa, Mattel, Friday – GE

Economic data out this week – Wednesday – Beige Book, Thursday – Phili-Fed Manufacturing Index, Friday – UK Retail Sales


 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 ​


It started off a lovely breezy spring morning on Cheapside.  Punters took their time to shake off the Easter Blues. Wall Street cracked on yesterday – up 0.85%; Asia stuttered over geopolitical problems, though Japan’s Nikkei was closed – down in Shanghai (-0.8%) and Hong Kong (-1.4%).

The FTSE 100 opened at 8.00am down 25 points, based on a rally in Sterling to $1.2575, with mining, oil and bank stocks on the slide.  By 9.00am the FTSE was down by 70 points with these main sectors down between 2-4%. Then came an announcement that Theresa May would make a statement from Downing Street at 11.15am. There was plenty of speculation as to what was the message.  Clearly calling a General election was at the top of the agenda.  And so it transpired at about 11.07am.  It was a very strong, resolute and bold statement.  PM May made it very clear that the decision was reluctant.  She had no alternative but to call one courtesy of subversive activity from the SNP, Lib-Dems, Labour and the House of Lords over BREXIT, making it impossible for the Conservative administration to govern.


Though I am a commentator of financial issues, I must say I think a 7 week election campaign is far too long – too many possible banana skins to slip up on. There are millions of disenchanted REMAIN voters out there who could vote tactically against the government over BREXIT. If it was a question of leadership and personality it would be a no-brainer – Mrs May is a ‘slam-dunk!’ However the country has never been so divided and surprises may be there a plenty. There is little comparison to the 1987 election when Margaret Thatcher sent Labour and Neil Kinnock packing. At that time the Conservatives were returned against a rejuvenated Labour party which had suffered under Michael Foot in 1983. This year Labour is in total disarray with Westminster playing all the subversive cards at their disposal. Back in 1987 the overall Conservative government fell to 102 from 144 in 1983.  There were 3 million unemployed against 1.5 million today.


Prior to the announcement Sterling started to slide down to $1.2490, but the FTSE was still sliding – down 90 points due mainly to uncertainty. However post the statement Sterling rallied like a grilse back to $1.2660.  However the FTSE surrendered another 30 points – down 125 at 7202 at 1.06pm, thanks to increasing support for Sterling, which damages the value of so many constituent stocks. Also frankly with a P/E ratio of 16.5 times earnings, the FTSE 100 was beginning to look a little rich for many peoples’ blood. So the reaction by investors was predictable.


Frankly folks it is a sea of red! – The main losers are BP -3.5% and Shell -3%.  Miners are down between 2-4%.  Others to surrender value include Unilever -1%, Diageo -1.5% and Reed Elsevier -1%.  Banks have had a heavy heart – Barclays -3% and HSBC -1.5%. The DOW futures are down 35 points as I write with decent figures posted by Johnson & Johnson to Bank of America Mellon.


TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday 18thApril 2017


“The Silver Birch is a dainty lady, 

She wears a satin gown; 

The elm tree makes the old churchyard shady, 

She will not live in town. 


The English oak is a sturdy fellow, 

He gets his green coat late; 

The willow is smart in a suit of yellow 

While brown the beech trees wait. 


Such a gay green gown God gives the larches- 

As green as he is good! 

The hazels hold up their arms for arches, 

When spring rides through the wood. 


The chestnut’s proud, and the lilac’s pretty, 

The poplar’s gentle and tall, 

But the plane tree’s kind to the poor dull city- 

I love him best of all!”


Edith Nesbit – poet – 1886 – 1924


As France heads to the first round of the Presidential election it is ‘nip & tuck’ as to who will go through to the final round in early May. The Far-Left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon has come rattling up on the rails with a very strong showing based on cutting EU regulation and hiking taxation to as high as 90% in places. In the first round he is expected to poll 19.5% of the vote with Francois Fillon from the right expected to attract a similar percentage. Marine Le Pen from the far-right may poll 23% with Emmanuel Macron, the ‘preppy banker from Paris’ with the matinee idol good looks as though he expects to capture about 24%. However one wonders whether Erdogan’s worrying victory in Turkey could have adverse effects on French immigration pressures, giving Le-Pen some momentum next Sunday.

As we know the press has slammed the doors in Le-Pen’s face and domestic banks won’t lend her a brass farthing or maybe I should say centime for her campaign. Those that know tell me that Le-Pen and Macron will go through in the first round and that Macron will triumph in adversity on Sunday 7th May. The French are culturally and notoriously conservative and absolutely loathe change. Despite the hereto successful rhetoric of Le Pen and Melenchon for dramatic change, I suspect that France will take the easy option and vote for the youthful Macron. France always ‘bottle it’ – famous last words!


What a colossal disappointment the final episode of ‘Broadchurch’ was? They wind the audience up for 7 episodes and let is down with the biggest damp squib of an episode imaginable, leaving nothing for the imagination in what had been a gripping ‘whodunit!’


That was a really bad election result in Turkey. It’s such a shame that this beautiful country of 70 million people is no longer a democracy. If you disagree with the regime in Turkey, it appears that you find the quickest route to prison, without trial or any discussion. The US and most of Europe will be very unhappy with this parlous state of disrepair. The immigration problem may well be exacerbated in the EU.


Spokesmen from North Korea spent much of the day yapping away about what rockets and a compendium of nuclear war heads they might use if provoked by President Trump. The Street of Dreams paid not a scrap of interest as investors took all three markets higher yesterday – DOW +0.90%, S&P 500 +0.86% and the NASDAQ by 0.89%. Netflix grabbed the major earnings and corporate news headlines with a 34% increase in revenues to $2.64 billion in the last quarter. Net profit was up from $28 million to $178 million. 4.95 million subscribers were added in the quarter slightly shy of the expected 5.2 million. This shortfall was put down to its flagship programme revenue being put down to the 2nd quarter rather than the first. Before the close shares were up 3% before closing 1.56% up on the day. After hours trading saw shares down by 2%. However they are up 32% in the last year.


Today results from Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Mellon and Yahoo! will be eagerly awaited. The market consensus for Q1 earnings growth is +10.4% for the S&P 500 companies. That would be the strongest growth rate in over 5 years, i.e., since Q3-2011 when earnings were recovering sharply from the Great Recession. One caveat to the strong +10.4% consensus for Q1 earnings growth is that top-line growth is being artificially boosted to some extent by the sharp year-on-year recovery in petroleum earnings from last year’s recessionary levels. The energy sector is expected to show nearly 6-fold earnings growth in Q1. Excluding the energy sector, the S&P 500 index is expected to show a more modest, but still respectable, +6.5% increases in earnings. We should all keep a watching brief on US markets. Many believe that Trump’s inability to get through the repeal of Obamacare could well adversely affect the tax reform legislation which Trump is desperate to introduce particularly corporate rates of tax – down from 35% to 15% over a two-year period.


London was obviously closed yesterday. This morning at 8.50am the FTSE 100 was down 80 points at 7249. Ashmore posted numbers in line with expectation leaving its shares unchanged. A strong Pound and weak Dollar have affected mining (2-4%), oil (BP -2%), pharmas (small) and tobacco stocks. Banks have also eased by 2% on average. Conditions are quiet, but equities do not appear to want to fall vigorously out of bed. It was feared that an alleged sex scandal at Fox News which is thought to have resulted in $10 million being paid to four harassed ladies, may prevent 21st Century buying the remaining 61% of Sky. Certainly investors do not think that this news will affect Culture & Media Secretary Karen Bradley’s decision as to whether she should block this deal, which could be much to the chagrin of Tom Watson and all newspaper proprietors apart from Times The Sun and the WSJ. Shares are down by -0.05%. Akzo Nobel we hear is still putting in a rear-guard action to fight off a $19 billion takeover by PPG.


UK companies posting results this week – Tuesday – Ashmore Wednesday – AB Foods, Segro, Burberry, Henderson, Bunzl, Fenner, RELX, Greggs, Rentokil Initial, Rio Tinto, Thursday – Hvivo, Debenhams, Unilever, Acacia Mining, Sky, Senior, Go-Ahead, Moneysupermarket, Evraz, Man Group, Essentra, Friday – Reckitt Benckiser

US companies posting results this week – Monday – Brown & Brown, Netflix, Tuesday – Bank of America Merrill, Abbotts Labs, Goldman Sachs, Charles Schwab, Harley-Davidson, Yahoo!, Wednesday – Blackrock,  American Express, Abbotts Labs, eBay, Thursday – Philip Morris, PPG, Bank of New York, Mellon, DR Horton, Travelers, Visa, Mattel, Friday – GE

Economic data out this week –  Monday – US Empire state manufacturing Index, Tuesday – NAHB Housing data, Germany’s ZEW, Wednesday – Beige Book, Thursday – Phili-Fed Manufacturing Index, Friday – UK Retail Sales


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 – Monday 17thApril 2017



Take this kiss upon the brow!

And, in parting from you now,

Thus much let me avow —

You are not wrong, who deem

That my days have been a dream;

Yet if hope has flown away

In a night, or in a day,

In a vision, or in none,

Is it therefore the less gone?

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.


I stand amid the roar

Of a surf-tormented shore,

And I hold within my hand

Grains of the golden sand —

How few! yet how they creep

Through my fingers to the deep,

While I weep — while I weep!

O God! Can I not grasp

Them with a tighter clasp?

O God! can I not save

One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?”


Edgar Allan Poe – poet – 1809 – 1849


It was with a degree of some trepidation that we took in Jim Broadbent’s latest film ‘The Sense of an Ending’ at the weekend, based on the book by the virulently anti-Brexit Julian Barnes. The critics had been underwhelmed, many only scoring it with two stars on the grounds that it was a frustrating story that perhaps lacked emotion with the story line occasionally dragging. Jim Broadbent is a sensational actor, but in his role as a divorced pensioner with some dark passages in his life, I thought occasionally he lacked contrition and warmth. But towards the end the story-line came alive.


There were some delightful cameo roles, played by Harriet Walters, Michelle Dockery and best of all by Charlotte Rampling, who said very little but her sullen and haunting facial expressions were worth the price of admission. I enjoyed this film enormously and felt the critics were unnecessarily hard on this very satisfactory movie.


So the parade in Pyongyang – attempting to convey the impression of a massive show of military strength – came and went. Then came the missile launch – plop! It failed but the threat and stench of fear remains. The keys to a cessation of military and nuclear proliferation lie in the hands of China and the mood of President Trump and more to the point his advisors such as Rex Tillerson, ‘Mad-Dog’ Jim Mattis and General David Petraeus, who are switched on sensible people.  The temperature, however seems a little lower than it was on Good Friday.


North Korea is an economic desert and if China truly understands the threat of nuclear weapons in the hands of an unreliable despot, President Xi will hopefully attempt to throw a bucket of cold water on this potential crisis before it gets out of hand. There is no economic doubt that Russia and China are keeping North Korea alive.  It is interesting to note that China has stopped importing coal from North Korea in recent days. So perhaps that was a veiled-threat to Kim Jong Un to cool his heels!


We wiled away a couple of hours on Saturday wandering around The Queen’s Gallery looking at self-portraits by the likes of David Hockney to Leonardo Da Vinci to Sir Joshua Reynolds to Sir Edwin Landseer to Sir Peter Paul Rubens to Lucien Freud.  A few shone through in what I thought was quite a thin gathering of masterpieces. On the whole as an exhibition it was disappointing.


It never ceases to amaze me how philosophical and relaxed so many traders and investors are when confronted by geopolitical crises of considerable magnitude and the threat of military turmoil in comparison to a decade ago. Considering what happened in Syria, the atrocities in Cairo and in Stockholm and the unbalanced Kim Jong Un thumping his nuclear tub, I am totally ‘non-plus’ that global indices have taken it all in their stride. Last week the S&P eased by 0.75%, with the FTSE shedding 2.8%, much of it down to a modest drop in the Dollar reflected in softer mining, Pharma, tobacco and bank stocks. European bourses fell by 2.66% with the Nikkei dropping 1.07% thanks to a strong Yen. The FTSE might have fallen further but for the fact that oil prices were up 1.4% on the week. Gold rallied to $1288 an ounce, encouraged by punters losing some appetite for risk.


On Easter Bank Holiday Monday many markets are shut, but Asian markets are down an average of about 0.5% as I write, despite decent growth figures out of China. GDP came in at 6.9% for the 1st quarter.  Government estimate for 2017 was 6.5%.  Last year China grew by 6.7% – the lowest growth rate for 26 years. The main issue concerning the Chinese economy is debt – both public and private.  Many believe the banks are very much under the cosh with underperforming loan portfolios. The OECD expressed concern that debt ratio to GDP in China came in at an alarming 250%. There is every chance that growth has been exaggerated, but it would appear that the heat is now out of the kitchen for the time being.


There was some interesting pieces of corporate news heading towards Easter last week, but everything was overshadowed by the atrocities in Syria and the sabre-rattling over North Korea.  Tesco posted an improved figures for last year, with sales overall up by 4.3% to £49 billion.  However one-off-disbursements like a £235 million fine for over-stating profits and an over-zealous outlook for 2017 bearing in mind inflation and hostile competition from Lidl and Aldi, saw investors take the shares south by over 5%.  At last major fund managers are finally taking their responsibilities seriously by bringing their influence to bear over excessive executive pay.  Many were highly amused that Credit Suisse senior managers volunteered a 40% bonus cut for the last year. I would not be too worried about Lloyds Banking Group moving a few people to Germany post BREXIT decision. Lloyds is a domestic bank and has virtually no European presence! It looks as though the World Bank may knock back Greece on new loan proposals. I was highly amused to see that BSG mining is going to sue George Soros for $10 billion for alleged accusations of defamation and fraud.


Friday was an extremely important day for the start of the US earnings season. Three major banks posted numbers – Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.  JPM and Citibank both saw profits up by 17% for the first quarter.  JPM also saw record investment bank earnings. The shares in these banks were up over 20% since the election on 8th November through hope and expectations that the Trump administrations would cut regulation (Dodd/Frank and even reintroduce Glass-Steagall), spending public money like water and cut taxes.  Congress is proving tricky for Trump over getting some of this legislation through.  Shares in Wells Fargo and Citibank are now only up 17%, though JPM remains up 22%. Banking results on the whole beat expectations in comparison to profits estimates for S&P constituent stocks, which are expected to increase by 11% on average.  No wonder Donald Trump is wanting a lower Dollar.  He needs it for exports, whilst his legislation programme flounders.


The start of next week will be nervous but interesting. I don’t see a major ‘sell-off’ as conditions feel a little less electric! However there may be small but temporary set-back.



UK companies posting results this week – Tuesday – Ashmore Wednesday – AB Foods, Segro, Burberry, Henderson, Bunzl, Fenner, RELX, Greggs, Rentokil Initial, Rio Tinto, Thursday – Hvivo, Debenhams, Unilever, Acacia Mining, Sky, Senior, Go-Ahead, Moneysupermarket, Evraz, Man Group, Essentra, Friday – Reckitt Benckiser

US companies posting results this week – Monday – Brown & Brown, Netflix, Tuesday – Bank of America Merrill, Abbotts Labs, Goldman Sachs, Charles Schwab, Harley-Davidson, Yahoo!, Wednesday – Blackrock,  American Express, Abbotts Labs, eBay, Thursday – Philip Morris, PPG, Bank of New York, Mellon, DR Horton, Travelers, Visa, Mattel, Friday – GE

Economic data out this week –  Monday – US Empire state manufacturing Index, Tuesday – NAHB Housing data, Germany’s ZEW, Wednesday – Beige Book, Thursday – Phili-Fed Manufacturing Index, Friday – UK Retail Sales


 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 – Thursday 13thApril 2017


“Ah, you should see Cynddylan on a tractor.

Gone the old look that yoked him to the soil,

He’s a new man now, part of the machine,

His nerves of metal and his blood oil.

The clutch curses, but the gears obey

His least bidding, and lo, he’s away

Out of the farmyard, scattering hens.

Riding to work now as a great man should,

He is the knight at arms breaking the fields’

Mirror of silence, emptying the wood

Of foxes and squirrels and bright jays.

The sun comes over the tall trees

Kindling all the hedges, but not for him

Who runs his engine on a different fuel.

And all the birds are singing, bills wide in vain,

As Cynddylan passes proudly up the lane.


Rev RS Thomas – poet – 1913 – 2000


On non-market related issues suffice to say referee’s penalty award against Leicester City in Atletico Madrid’s backyard wasn’t one – a poor decision! It could prove costly in the second leg! From the sublime to the ridiculous, I do wish the Beckhams would stop using their children as commercial brands. You’d have thought that post his outburst on failing to secure a knighthood he would have battened down the hatches and kept Brooklyn from the tattoo needles, whilst keeping his children out of the public eye. But no! Posh just loves the old publicity!


It was a strange day yesterday with equity markets not particularly enamoured with life’s immediate political prospects. In fact on the whole investors and traders virtually withdrew labour rather than just shut up shop.  Each index showed signs of nervous twitches. When you look at US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson; he gives you confidence that he is a thoughtful man of stature, who selects his words very carefully. Unfortunately President Trump and Sean Spicer are not very bothered about the diplomatic niceties of life – they frighten ordinary folk with their aggressive and thoughtless rhetoric. US/Russian relations are in the vortex of despair. One hopes that the US Navy does not provoke Kim Yong Un and that China helps keep military insanity at bay.


On the domestic front yesterday and today the news was mixed but far from disastrous. The FTSE was rather listless and unsettled and closed -16 at 7348. Rolls Royce was a shining star adding 2.5% on news that it won a contract for an automated crossing system in a Norwegian fjord. Post the Tesco results supermarkets were taken lower on outlook and inflation issues – Tesco -5.t%, Sainsbury -2.7% and Wm Morrison –1.7%. The news on employment data was mixed. Good news that 45k people came off the unemployment register and that the rate of 4.7% was maintained at 1.5 million. Wage inflation, however, fell from 2.3% to 2.2%. This is not good news as with inflation likely to hit 2.7% even 2.8% by the end of the summer this will mean that folk will have less disposable income. Retail could contract – GDP will suffer. However by August London should be swarming with tourists.


Dunelm and WH Smith yesterday posted adequate results without making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end! In the case of WH Smith it seems that the sale of ‘5 on BREXIT ISLAND’ seems to have abated falling sales. The British Chamber of Commerce’s report posted today was cheerful, uplifting and encouraging with the service sector looking really ebullient with manufacturing orders increasing, resulting in export orders looking very healthy. RICS’s report on housing was on the whole negative with house prices in the London area looking as if they have peaked.


Meanwhile on the Street of Dreams President Trump said that the dollar “was getting too strong,” though he also said he would like to see interest rates stay low. I suspect he would to boost exports, since he is having huge difficulty getting his legislative programme through Congress. Even his $1 trillion infrastructure spending programme is far from a ‘slam-dunk! Industrials and materials were the biggest drags on the market along with financials, while utilities and telecommunications gave the S&P 500 its biggest lift.


The S&P financial index was down 0.9% a day ahead of results from three major banks in what will mark the start of the corporate earnings season. Small-company stocks did far worse than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index gave up 18 points, or 1.3%, to 1,359.Delta closed down 0.5% despite a better-than-expected quarterly profit. Markets closed as follows – DOW: 20,591 -0.29% +4.19% S&P: 2,344 -0.38% +4.74%, NASDAQ: 5,377 -0.40% +10.57%.



In quiet trading conditions the strength of the Yen put the Nikkei to the sword today and Chinese markets were encouraged by more robust trading data in March with exports up 16% and imports by 20%. Markets were heading for the close as follows – NIKKEI: 18,394 -0.86% -3.90%, HANG SENG: 24,342 +0.12% +10.47%, CHINA: 3,513 +0.13% +6.20%, ASX: 5,888 -0.76% +3.95%.



The US 2nd quarter earnings season gets under a wet sail today with three of the major banks reporting results – JP Morgan, Citibank and Wells Fargo. Since Election Day on 8th November 2016 these banks have rallied by 22.6%, 17.4% and 17% respectively based on hope and expectations of higher interest rates, reduction in Dodd/Frank regulation and infrastructure spending. In the past week these share prices have come off their best levels as it seem unlikely that Trump will be able to deliver many of these policies in full.



Akzo Nobel has felt the wrath of Elliott Advisors with founder Paul Singer to the fore, who is moving to have its chairman removed. As an activist shareholder, Elliott certainly brings its influence to bear where ever it sticks its nose in to as an active shareholder – Ask Alliance Trust, Poundland, BHP Billiton and now Akzo!


In closing I fully endorse the sentiments of Ofcom in stating unequivocally the service provided by Broadband in the UK is worse than that of the banks. The UK’s broadband service is third world at best. So many parts of the country have inadequate access – this appalling for education as well as business. Government – DO SOMETHING!


 UK companies posting results this week – Thursday – Hays, Avocet Mining, PZ Cussons

US companies posting results this week – Thursday – JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo.

Economic data out this week – Thursday – BOE Credit, Friday – University of Michigan Consumer Confidence, US CPI and Retail sales


 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 – Wednesday 12thApril 2017


“Not often con brio, but andante, andante

Horseless, though jockey-like and jaunty,

Straddling the touchline, live margin

Not out of the game, nor quite in,

Made by him green and magnetic, stroller

Indifferent as a cat dissembling, rolling

A little as on deck, till the mouse, the ball,

Slides palely to him,

And shyly, almost with deprecatory cough, he is off.


Defenders towards him, the ball a bait

They refuse like a poisoned chocolate,

Retreating, till he slows his gait

To a walk, inviting the tackle, inciting it.


At last, unrefusable, dangling the ball at the instep

He is charged – and stiffening so slowly

It is barely perceptible, he executes with a squirm

Of the hips, a twist more suggestive than apparent,

That lazily disdainful move toreros term

A Veronica – it’s enough.

Only emptiness following him.


Now gathers speed, nursing the ball as he cruises,

Eyes judging distance, noting the gaps, the spaces

Vital for colleagues to move to, slowing a trace,

As from Vivaldi to Dibdin, pausing,

And leisurely, leisurely, swings

To the left upright his centre, on hips

His hands, observing the goalkeeper spring,

Heads rising vainly to the ball’s curve

Just as it’s plucked from them; and dispassionately

Back to his mark he trots, whistling through closed lips.


Expressionless enchanter, weaving as on strings

Conceptual patterns to a private music, heard

Only by him, to whose slowly emerging theme

He rehearses steps, soloist in compulsions of a dream.”


Sir Stanley Matthews


Alan Ross – celebrated sports columnist – 1922 – 2001


I must confess that when I heard that Germany and Italy refused to support ECO Secretary’s motion at the G& meeting to impose further sanctions against Russian and Syrian Military personnel, I could only guffaw with contemptuous laughter. I have always been concerned that the EU is disingenuous, with each component country concerned with its own individual issues and needs rather than the common good. Yesterday’s decision really only endorsed my original decision to vote to leave, rather than continuing to play this ridiculous charade that we must stick together through thick and thin. Of course Germany and Italy are more reliant on energy supply and trade than other EU members. So no surprise the way they voted. At least at an early juncture we know where we stand.



It appears that Sean Spicer, the White House Press head honcho is not growing in diplomatic stature.  That was a terrible faux-pas of his talking about an analogy with ‘Hitler’ and ‘sarin gas!’ This guy needs to go back to school and learn a little sensitivity. That was quite shocking as was the aggressive, if not violent man-handling of a passenger by United Airlines personnel, due to ‘over-booking’ for this flight. Initially after the news United Airlines share price fell by 1.1% costing $255 million – a mere bagatelle consider its market capital stands at $22 billion.  After hours the shares were only down 0.4% at $70.40! – How cynical is that?


Yesterday was one of those days when the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing or even thinking!  Most investors, traders and analysts focused on the political abuse being hurled across the globe by Trump, Putin, Kim Jong Un, Tillerson, Johnson and Spicer – all inconclusive stuff, but very worrying. The world has rarely looked in a more parlous and dangerous state than it did for the highly toxic ‘Bay of Pigs’ confrontation just off the shores Cuba back in 1961! Investors did not panic.  They just sat on their hands and ruminated. The FTSE bobbed around like a cork in a bath in a fairly sustainable range.  It started down 10 points rallied through the morning up by 60 points, fell back to ‘unchanged’ thanks to New York having little stomach for a battle and closed up 16 points at 7365. Miners and oil and defensives such as ‘Diageo’ to the fore. JD Sports grabbed the yellow jersey closing up 8.4%%.  It is interesting to note that the FTSE 250 breached its all-time record, despite the ‘REMAIN prophets of doom’ over BREXIT – up 0.2% at 19306!   


In New York investors were not only reflective but lethargic. The three main indices closed fairly flat though tech stocks have experienced an eight day pull back, though it has been modest. Here are the numbers including YTD DOW: 20,651 -0.03% +4.50% S&P: 2,353 -0.14% +5.13%, NASDAQ: 5,398 -0.43% +10.99%.  Apple appear to have been at it again. Having served notice on ‘Imagination’, which cost the company nearly 60% of its value, it has now turned its attention towards Dialog Semiconductor. It designs chips for the Apple iPhone and relies on 70% of its business from Apple. Reports suggest that Apple have been building a team of 80 technicians to design and manufacture chips, resulting in Dialog losing £1.2 billion in value as the shares fell by 36%. Thanks to Toshiba posting a £4.2 billion loss yesterday, there is considerable angst that the UK’s £10 billion Moorside Nuclear Plant in Cumbria – to trade under the name of NuGen – may be under duress with a very uncertain future ahead of it.   In Asia sentiment was slightly negative with a strong Yen not helping the NIKKEI – performances to date as follows – NIKKEI: 18,505 -1.30 -3.18%, HANG SENG: 24,057 -0.14% +9.33%, CHINA: 3,520 +0.10% +6.40%, ASX: 5,930 +0.03% +4.69%.


This morning Tesco posted a 30% increase in pre-tax profits for the year to £1.28 billion.  Debt is down by 27%.  Like for like sales were up 0.9% on the year and food by 1.1%. Group sales increased by 4.3% to £49 billion. Margins have widened from 1.8% a year ago to 2.3%. Dave Lewis the CEO was upbeat about the £3.7 billion purchase of Booker. It remains to be seen whether Schroders and Artisans have been sufficiently impressed.  Dividends should start to return.  Tesco shares were down 5.6% this year as against a rally of over 30% last year. Tesco shares be stable this morning. Inflation is an issue for Tesco going forward.  The FTSE is expected to open up flat. Dunelm, WH Smith and PageGroup posted satisfactory numbers if not electric.


 UK companies posting results this week – Wednesday – Dunelm, Tesco, WH Smith, PageGroup, Thursday – Hays, Avocet Mining, PZ Cussons

US companies posting results this week – Wednesday – Delta Airlines, Thursday – JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo.

Economic data out this week – Wednesday – UK Employment data, Thursday – BOE Credit, Friday – University of Michigan Consumer Confidence, US CPI and Retail sales


 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​


I spent much of the day looking at various news channels particularly the reports of the G7 FM meeting in Lucca, ending up thoroughly dismayed that ‘Worzel Gummidge’ – alias Boris Johnson – had failed to persuade Germany and Italy from proposing further sanctions on military personnel from Russia and Syria, prior to Rex Tillerson heading off ‘hot-foot’ for Russia to meet the steely-eyed and humourless Lavrov. Mind you there’s little on the agenda to be jocular about.


On that news the Pound lost a few cents, but the FTSE 100 decided that life could be a great deal worse and spurted on from being 26 points up to being just above the 7400 threshold before settling up 35 points at 7385 at 3.30pm.  The FTSE was probably aided and abetted by CPI coming in again at +2.3% on annualised basis. Even alleged skulduggery in Nigeria, when Shell and ENI bought fields off shore for £1 billion, did not fail to dampen the enthusiasm of investors, nor did the decommissioning of North Sea rigs send more than a tiny ripple across Shell’s share price -0.25%. BP was strong +0.5%. Consumer stocks also attracted attention with Diageo up 1% and BATS +1%. Tesco ahead of tomorrow’s numbers were up 0.7% and M&S was flat at 345p.


JD Sports grabbed the yellow jersey – up 7% on good numbers – eat your heart out Mike Ashley. Vedanta Resources were up 0.25% having been down 2%. Gold put in a strong session flirting with the $1260 threshold with Randgold up 4.5%. At 3.35pm the DOW was down 100 points on geopolitical concerns and thoughts that Trump may have issues getting legislation through Congress.



Panmure Gordon & Co are pleased to announce that it’s research team ranked number 1 in 7 key sectors. We also ranked top 5 in 20 out of the 23 sectors across the UK small & mid cap spectrum out of a total 31 research providers to the platform.


Congratulations to Adrian Kearsey, our support services analyst, who ranked number 1 across the whole UK market!


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