MARKET UPDATE – EQUITIES, COMCAST/TIME WARNER & LLOYDS

It has been a thoroughly uninspiring session today. After yesterday’ strong rally based on very little, punters took some profit today, as there was very limited positive news to hang one’s hat on. We dined out on Chinese exports yesterday. It was just as well as Mark Carney’s comments brought little to the party and the Street of Dreams’ acolytes will be looking for pearls of wisdom to drip from Janet Yellen’s lips this afternoon. I doubt they will get much joy out of her speech.

There were a few nuggets of news this morning. The Comcast/Time Warner $45 billion merger deserved to grab the headlines beating the Charter’s attempts to sweep up Time Warner. We are back in the heady days of the Time Warner/AOL merger – No we are not! That was Mickey Mouse TMT nonsense – deal was valued at approx. $350 billion ($164 billion paid by AOL for Time Warner represented 45% of the joint company). How mad was that – the worst corporate deal in living memory.

I had a look at the Greek unemployment data. Unemployment at 28% and under 25 year olds 61% is unemployed. So life in Greece is getting better? The 10-year bond yield has fallen from a high of 29% to 7.3%! Is it justified? I don’t believe a word of it!

So to London’s machinations – the FTSE at 3.15pm is down 54 at 6620. The Street of Dreams is also out of sorts – DOW easier by 30 points at 15930 – the futures were down 80 points an hour ago! Not much to crow about on the plus side. IMPS’s trading statement saw its shares grab 5% – a lot for a tobacco company in one session. Shire was 1% to the good. Conversely investors were blue with rage over Tate & Lyle’s profits shortfall and they poured scorn on the shares –down 16%. Rolls Royce whose outlook caused seismic ripples of concern and idle talk of back-handers saw the great engineer larruped by 15%. Aberdeen fared a tad better – -5.9%.

And finally Lloyds Banking Group is down 3.4% – at 80.7p. Why? Good numbers – Lloyds returning to normal? Well a case of travelled and arrived. The outlook was not overly brilliant though mortgages should stand them in very good stead if rates go up in 2015. However Lloyds in the nicest possible way is now ‘Boring Bank PLC’ – so where is the growth? Also though many want to see Lloyds sold back to the public in tranches with confidence growing; others including myself want the ‘Black Horse’ to be sold as a job lot! A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush if conditions and sentiment is positive. There is also another fly in the ointment. Lloyds owns BOS and if the Scottish Independence vote goes awry, who picks up the tab? Finally I watched Antonio Horta-Osorio being interviewed by BBC’S Robert Peston. He is one smooth matinee idol dude! Superficially butter would not melt in his mouth! Mr Horta-Osorio should spend more time with people from low places. He would get a much better idea of how people feel about his charge! He might be surprised at the vitriol. However he has done a great job and his bonus of £1.7 million is deserved, despite the £8 billion PPI debacle.
These are David Buik’s personal views

Twitter – @truemagic68

David Buik

Market Commentator

D +44 (0)20 7886 2775
Panmure Gordon & Co
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