“Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The exhibit binders were sacked on the trial table with care,
In hopes that the jury would soon reappear.
The judge and her clerk, to their chambers they fled,
While visions of case law danced in their heads.
And co-counsel in her suit, and I, in my tie,
Had just settled our brains for an award that was sky high.
When out on in the jury room there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the seat to see what was the matter.
Away to the room, the clerk flew in a flash,
Tore open the door and threw up the sash.
The foreman came forward, with his hair white as snow
Gave the lustre of hope that we would soon be able go.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature note, with an answer I may fear.
The Clerk took the note and moved so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be the verdict.
More rapid than eagles, the jury they came,
And the judge emerged and called out each of their names!
“Now Foreman, Now Juror 2, 3 and 4!
On,Jury 5 and 6 and the alternates galore!
To the top of the jury box! To the top of the wall!
Now hurry to get seated! Hurry you all!”
The Foreman was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
Upon speaking a few words, he went straight to his work,
And read the answers on the verdict sheet, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the jury all rose!
The Judge thanked the jury, and she sprang up from the bench,
And away they all flew out the courtroom then went.
But I heard the Judge exclaim, as her robe disappeared out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
Clement Clarke Moore – poet – 1799 – 1863
Christmas spirit has obviously reached the Kremlin these days. I am almost suffering from cardiac arrest at the prospect of Mikhail Kordokovsky, the former oligarch, once the richest man in Russia, being pardoned and enetually released after over a decade in prison. Mr Kordokovsky used to own billions of Dollars/Rubles in the oil company Yukos, which the government seized. Kordokovsky was sufficiently ill-judged to go ‘head to head’ with Putin and was found guilty of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering. He will be released next August. Let’s hope at the age of 50 he survives another eight months in a Siberian prison. Also the two members of the punk band Pussy Riot – also still in prison – and Greenpeace activists detained for their protest at a Russian oil rig in the Arctic may will shortly be set free.
As just stated it is Christmas; so this note will be brevity personified! Markets are still coming to terms with tapering QE in the US. The fact that rates will remain close to zero indefinitely could mean that bank shares become attractive as the cost of borrowing remains indecently cheap, whilst at the same time the yield curve steepens for those wishing to borrow. There are many who believe that quantitative easing could prove to be a poisoned chalice, which could eventually hamper growth. Every time growth starts to flag and unemployment starts to increase, more money and stimulus will be just poured in to the system. The omens for the US economy next year are positive, but I wonder that when tapering is increased above the current $10 billion a month withdrawal, the US economy will be robust enough to keep growing? Time alone will tell.
BAE System shares may come under the cosh today, as news broke that UAE withdrew their £10 billion contract to provide 60 Eurofighter Typhoon jets. It also transpires that BAE Systems may also be under duress, as to whether it can secure its recently negotiated deal to provide Eurofighters to Saudi Arabia.
The Indian government is claiming $604 million from Vodafone as back tax after it secured Hutcheson Lampoa’s operation in India. Vodafone, needless to say will be appealing.
Astra Zeneca has agreed to pay Bristol Myers Squibb £2.5 billion for its share in the partnership to manufacture and distribute diabetes drugs.
Finally a comment on Gordon Brown’s speech yesterday at Huffington Post convention, when he warned of another imminent financial collapse as the world had not learned sufficient lessons from the 2008 banking crisis. Is the market really interested in his views on this subject? I don’t think so. We have continued to listen to Greenspan pontificate after his litany of errors at the FED, when he should have spent his time attempting to improve his golf handicap and his skiing! It is rather like asking Ronnie Biggs, a few years ago, to lecture a convention of burglars on how robbing people is wrong and immoral! The Former UK PM would be better advised sticking to the excellent job he is doing with charitable work in Africa, which is essential and I am sure rewarding!
Merry Christmas to one and all!
These are David Buik’s personal views
Twitter – @truemagic68
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