MARKET UPDATE – HSBC, VODAFONE, DIXONS & CARPHONE

It is 4.28pm the FTSE 100 is up 11 points at 6850. It just won’t go down! You would be forgiven for thinking that the Chinese data on property lending was discouraging enough for equities in Europe to pause for reflection. There is no US data to worry about and we have to wait until Thursday before UK GDP numbers are posted. Despite the rather anaemic data of last week in the US, the Street of Dreams refuses to be downhearted and there was no sign of investors having a dose of the ‘pip!’ The three main US indices on Wall Street were up an average of 0.9% as I scribe!

Bunzl excelled itself with numbers – up 7%. Bovis Homes also pleased their acolytes. Initially Bovis shares rose like the proverbial grilse – up 4% but eased back to +2%. Panmure’s Mark Hughes is of the opinion that after a terrific run, house builders, may before too long, be transferred from ‘hold’ from ‘buy’ recommendation. AB Foods look as if it is becoming too reliant on Primark with food taking on a spear carrying role – down 2.7%. There has been massive volume in Vodafone – 254 million shares traded today – up 5.8%. We’re back to turnover in 2000. I smell the possible stench of M&A plus the offload of the unwanted VZ stock on the US market hasn’t been as smooth as silk.

As for HSBC, punters are looking to niggle at what look like marginally disappointing numbers. However this bank looks as sound as a pound with decent tier one capital, a broad based business. Clever observers are whingeing about PPI, LIBOR and money laundering, which I think is yesterday’s news. Foreign Exchange fixing allegations, if true, may cause a ripple or two! Considering the profit made – circa £14 billion, perhaps £2.3 billion in bonuses is almost tolerable and Stuart Gulliver’s £1.8 million almost parsimonious.

The big M&A news today was the proposed love affair between Carphone Warehouse and Dixons. The market thinks it makes sense pooling the resources of 1300 shops (800 Carphone and 500 Dixons) – Carphone +8.4%, Dixons +6.5%

I just had a cursory look at Fusionex. That has been a decent little ‘Arfur Daley’ since December – up from 300p to 735p – though no trade to speak of today.

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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