TODAY’S FAYRE – Monday, 28th July 2014
“Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.”
Wilfred Owen – poet & soldier – 1893-1918
100 years ago today Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia – The start of the Great War 1914-1918.
Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera ‘Hansel und Gretel’ was performed at West Green Opera last weekend by the Garsington Opera Company. This little known work was splendidly produced with excellent sets as well as blissful singing performances in beautiful surroundings – with floodlit award winning gardens, a wonderful picnic and great company, which contributed hugely to the enjoyment of the occasion.
It is over 30 years since a filly last won the King George V1 & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot – ‘Time Charter’, trained by Henry Candy in 1983. On Saturday Sheikh Hamdam’s Taghrooda, a 3-year old filly bolted up to win with a little in hand last Saturday. The John Gosden trained daughter of ‘Sea the Stars’ was brilliantly ridden by Paul Hanagan. She is now 3/1 favourite to win the ‘Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.
Equity markets were veritably on fire in Asia this morning, having been spirited up by an encouraging Chinese stimulus programme, with Shanghai closing up 2.8%, the Hang Seng by 0.9% and the Nikkei by 0.4%. This euphoria certainly did not spill over in to Europe. Though the days started brightly with Reckitt Benckiser and Ryanair posting decent and much better results respectively, there was no momentum behind the markets. With the advent of social media, iPads and iphones, the lure Rock, Cape Ferrat, Cote D’Azur and the Algarve has encouraged dealers, traders, analysts and management to take extended holidays, in what appears to be balls-achingly boring, tired and listless markets. Volumes are non-existent and whenever management can use an excuse to sit on their hands, with alternative asset classes offering scant encouragement, it does.
The FTSE opened up 13 points but has spent the next 3 hours surrendering whatever value had been gained. Ryanair, after posting sales up 11% last quarter and profits up 152% from €78 million to €197 million, watched its shares rally by 5.1%. By 11.00am it had given all but 0.5% back. Glaxo was rumoured to be open-minded about hiving off its healthcare business, reported in many newspapers this morning. However Panmure’s Savvas Neophytou was dismissive of what he regarded as fertile imagination. He felt action of this nature would make a mockery of Glaxo’s £20 billion strategic deal with Novartis over vaccines and healthcare. Reckitt Benckiser posted decent results with a profit of just over £1 billion. Again some sort of break-up of its health care operation was mentioned in dispatches.
Reckitt chief executive Rakesh Kapoor has been keen to focus the company on its 19 ‘power-brands’ such as Durex condoms and Finish dishwasher tablets. This consumer goods giant also makes Nurofen and Dettol and maybe in plans to spin off its US-based pharmaceutical business. RB’s shares were up 2%, but are now down 2.1%. Amongst the other losers today are Aberdeen Asset -3.2%, RBS 2.6% and Glencore 2%.
Tomorrow DOMINO’S PIZZA, BP, GEM DIAMONDS, GKN, DRAX GROUP and TULLETT PREBON step up to the plate and in the US AETNA, REYNOLDS AMERICAN, McGRAW HILL, MERCK, CORNING, PFIZER, AMGEN, TWITTER and WYNN RESORTS post interim numbers.
On Wednesday the first official estimate for 2nd quarter US GDP will be posted after the appalling 2.9% fall in the 1st quarter. The IMF has raised its expectation to 1.8% for the years. Over 200k jobs should have been created in the in July in the US. Friday will reveal all.
These are David Buik personal views
Twitter – @truemagic68
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