MARKET UPDATE – ROYAL MAIL & ABBVIE

At the time of writing it is 3.20pm. The Street of Dreams is trying to rally – without too much success. The DOW was 50 points to the good, but it is uncomfortable in its own skin, as it awaits the FED minutes tonight, waiting for a pointer on interest rates. The FTSE 100 doesn’t believe a word of it. It is down 24 points at 6713 and has hardly moved for 2 hours. Volumes are derisory with only 307 million shares changing hands on the LSE so far today. This ridiculous level of activity will fail to ‘buy the bay a new coat!’

Having suffered the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ yesterday, easyJet, Randgold and Fresnillo have regained some poise – up 2.4-3%. M&S remains friendless in the ring losing another 2% today. Tui Travel also surrendered another 2% on top of yesterday’s ‘tonking!’ Insurance had a bad day with Admiral down 5% and Aviva easier by 2.8%, even though Panmure’s Barrie Cornes reiterated its ‘BUY’ recommendation.

I must confess that I am not surprised, though very disappointed that Dr Cable has been criticised and virtually censored by the BIS Committee over the handling of the Royal Mail IPO. It is not often I come out in support of the Good Doctor from Twickenham, but he was dead right to give the punter a sporting chance with this sale. With what was in the pipeline, Royal Mail Group had to be a ‘nailed-on-certainty’ with plenty of slack for the investor. What on earth is the point of the committee recommending the banning of banning independent City advisors? It makes a mockery of the system. Mr Bailey and his mates are being naïve in not acknowledging the need for this cheap entry, knowing the size of other IPOS such as Lloyds about £12 billion, TSB £2 billion and Williams & Glyn £1.5 billion.

AbbVie’s Chief Executive Officer Rick Gonzalez said in a telephone interview yesterday that he had spoken to most of Shire’s major shareholders, and that in his opinion, they backed a deal. AbbVie backtracked from that revelation today. The company issued a statement saying that it had not received written commitments of support from shareholders and, without those, U.K. takeover rules don’t allow the company to claim backing from investors.

These comments, in my long and not very distinguished career, are unprecedented. Comments of that nature could be interpreted as price sensitive. It is clear that the offence of market abuse will be committed if an individual “gives a false or misleading impression” to the market……

May I venture to suggest that Mr Gonzales could have been close to staring over the precipice of market abuse? Not since the Guinness/Argyll Foods deal back in 1986, shortly after the advent of ‘Big Bang’, has such a price sensitive furore been created, which could have had nasty repercussions in the market place. One can only assume that the advising investment banks, lawyers and PR consultants had not ticked the necessary boxes! OOO Lala – Prenez-garde! Thank goodness there were no measurable price movements in either AbbVie or Shire shares. Maybe Mr Gonzales’s advisors, lawyers and PR consultants were not around to hold his hand as to the intricacies of company law and regulatory requirements

These are David Buik personal views

Twitter – @truemagic68

David Buik

Market Commentator

D +44 (0)20 7886 2775
Panmure Gordon & Co
One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom
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