TODAY’S FAYRE – Monday 7th April 2014
“Thou, whose deep ways are in the sea,
Whose footsteps are not known,
To-night a world that turned from Thee
Is waiting at Thy Throne.
The towering Babels that we raised
Where scoffing sophists brawl,
The little Antichrists we praised
The night is on them all.
The fool hath said . . . The fool hath said.
And we, who deemed him wise,
We who believed that Thou wast dead,
How should we seek Thine eyes?
How should we seek to Thee for power
Who scorned Thee yesterday?
How should we kneel, in this dread hour?
Lord, teach us how to pray!
Grant us the single heart, once more,
That mocks no sacred thing,
The Sword of Truth our fathers wore
When Thou wast Lord and King.
Let darkness unto darkness tell
Our deep unspoken prayer,
For, while our souls in darkness dwell,
We know that Thou art there.”
Alfred Noyes – poet – 1880-1958
With the greatest respect in the world and despite the fact the boat race is part of Britain’s heritage, if there is a more boring sport in the world I am less than convinced that I have witnessed it. Synchronised swimming and speedway run it quite close, but frankly it has no peer in the realm. The bravery of these oarsmen knows no boundaries and the pain barrier that they breach must be excruciating. Yet I have watched it every year without fail since 1956!
I understand that Paul O’Grady and Graham Norton are the bookies’ favourites to take over from Sir Bruce Forsyth as compere for ‘Strictly Come Dancing!’ God give me strength! Well at least I will finally revert to my music centre and listen to a Verdi or Puccini opera on a Saturday night, after a decade of SCD!
I have little to add to Sunday’s missive apart from the fact that Friday’s tech sell off on the Street of Dreams is likely to trigger a lower opening in Europe this morning. Asia has not enjoyed a happy session today. The Shanghai Composite has been closed. The ASX was down 0.18%, the Hang Seng was easier by 0.68% at lunchtime and the NIKKEI was down by 1.87% as it headed for the close. Not surprisingly shares such as Softbank took a bit of a hit. Industrial shares were also friendless in the ring. Market geeks seem convinced that the US employment data posted on Friday would give FED chairman Yellen sufficient encouragement to raise rates in the spring of 2015. We shall see. The FTSE 100 is expected to open down 46 points. The DAX may be easier by 72 points and the CAC by 30 points
We have been inflicted with another dose of Monday merger mania today. France’s Lafarge and Switzerland’s Holcim confirmed that they would merge virtually as equals. This deal will value the joint venture at about E55 billion. The company will be known as Lafarge/Holcim. The competition regulators will no doubt attempt to stick their oar in as this joint venture would control about 40% of the cement manufacturing market. Many of you will remember that Lafarge bought Blue Circle Industries in January 2001. Both companies have major shareholders – Holcim have Thomas Schmidheiny and the Russian oligarch Filaret Galchev and Lafarge have strong support from Groupe Bruxelles Lambert and Albert Frere. We should hear more details from Vivendi about the sale of SFR to Altice/Numericable of France for £11.1 billion.
Finally the Cooperative Bank’s can of worms could be opened this week when results may be posted. If so, expect a loss of about £2 billion. US hedge funds, led by Silver Point and Aurelius, now own 70% of this bank, after the refinancing. If a greater loss than the £1.5 billion capital short fall is posted, then the shareholders in the Coop will have to stump up another £125 million to meet their 30% share of the loss.
These are David Buik personal views
Twitter – @truemagic68
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