TODAY’S FAYRE – Sunday, 7th September 2014

“It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be?

That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.”

C Day Lewis – poet, author & academic – 1904-1972

There have been several memorable portrayals of the evil and duplicitous King Richard 111 on the stage and film, including brilliant efforts from Laurence Olivier in 1955, Alan Badel in 1976, Ian McKellen in 1995, and Kevin Spacey in 2011. I think Martin Freeman’s performance in the current Jamie Lloyd’s production also ranks very highly. He transforms Plantagenet/Tudor issues written by Shakespeare in to a modern day approach in a dazzling manner. The costumes at the Trafalgar Studios production are military uniforms from soldiers from the ranks to Royal ceremonial military dress in the mid- sixties. This play was action packed and considering the limited space on the stage, it seemed remarkably authentic. Apart from Martin Freeman in the lead role, Gina McKee put in a really polished performance as Queen Elizabeth, the mother of the two Princes in the Tower of a London. Other supporting roles were played by Philip Cumbus (Richmond), Gerald Kyd (Catesby), Paul Leonard (Stanley), Forbes Masson (Hastings), Mark Meadows (Clarence/Lord Mayor), Lauren O’Neil (Lady Anne), Maggie Steed (Queen Margaret) and Jo Stone-Fewings (Buckingham).

You would have been forgiven for thinking that the Leader of the Opposition was batting on the same side as the Government over Scottish Independence. But oh no! Ed Miliband had to score some cheap shots at the expense of David Cameron! In terms of diplomacy Mr Miliband does not have a clue! It’s extraordinary that since Messrs Miliband and Brown have become involved the “No!” vote, the campaign has gone pear-shaped. YouGov’s poll giving the “YES!” Campaign a 51-49% barring the undecided certainly gave Independence voters some momentum, putting them under a wet sail. This conundrum was definitely not part of the original script. As for Mr Miliband purporting to have said he’ll put guard’s on the borders, how inflammatory is that comment?

Autumn stare us in the face. Many have returned to work; children are back at school. However markets remain strangely calm considering the turmoil abroad and at home. The Russia/Ukraine ceasefire seems non-existent. The West’s war against terrorism is under a wet sale! Here at home Scotland is close to serving notice to the Union with its ‘long goodbye’, which would be completed in 2017 and issues over the radical renegotiating of membership terms with the EU remain unresolved. The danger from this final UK issue is exacerbated by the fact the EU’s economic recovery is just not happening. Yet against an astonishing number of economic and political imponderables, equities have kept their poise, even though growth areas such as the US and UK are expected to see GDP fall from these current relatively dizzy levels. Last week the S&P closed down just 0.26%. The August Non-farm payroll number of 142k jobs created in August was disappointing, even though the unemployment rate fell a pip to 6.1%. However the FTSE added 0.52%, European stocks an average of 1.62%, thanks to the ECB’s new stimulus policies, announced on Thursday, of buying in asset backed securities, perhaps as much as E500 billion to add to the surprise of repo rate being eased from 0.15% to 0.05% and the deposit rate falling from -01% to -0.2%. Many observers would not be surprised if the ECB, with the EU blessing, orchestrated surreptitiously a 10% fall in the value of the Euro in the months to come. It would certainly help an export drive.

There were many stories to ruminate over, considering the lack of volumes in the market. BP’s treatment by the US courts over the Deepwater Horizon disaster was ludicrous, unbalanced and discriminatory in the extreme. The manner BP was excoriated by the FED judge beggar’s belief – potentially another $18 billion fine seems just arrant nonsense. Frankly the PM and the foreign office should attempt to bring influence to bear. It won’t happen, despite the fact the UK acts like a lap dog to the US’s political and military needs. The Coop Bank made a small profit, despite losing 38k customers. The Board adopted much of Lord Myners’s corporate governance recommendations. The MPC voted for no change in rates and QE, despite conflicting evidence from economic data. The drop in wages by 0.6% in the last 3 months was very left-field. Clearly there was some ignorance about this number.

In general terms mining and energy stocks came under the cosh on both sides of the pond. Dollar General failed to land Family Dollar. Retailers disappointed in places on the Street of Dreams with Abercrombie & Fitch, GAP and Macy’s disappointing. Car sales in the US were very robust with sales of 17.53 million expected to have been reached this year – the best number since 2006. In Europe Zalando, the German on line retailer may take its IPO bow soon, but it must expect ‘hot competition’ from Burberry, Inditex and H&M, all of which are raising their game in terms of on line sales. Rocket Internet the main shareholders in Zalando will not be selling their stake.

Details of the eagerly awaited Alibaba IPO were posted late last week. This ecommerce titan, hailed as China’s answer to Amazon/eBay, was unveiled as the largest tech IPO in history, pricing its initial public offering at between $60 and $66 a share, thus valuing the business at up to $167bn. The valuation is sensibly conservative compared with some analysts’ predictions of $200-$250 billion, However the Chinese tech-retailer giant will be larger than Amazon and Facebook.

The 15-year-old company aims to raise up to $24.3bn through its initial public offering, a figure which would put it ahead of Visa’s 2008 IPO which raised $19.7bn. It may also rank as the largest share sale America has ever seen. Founded by Jack Ma, Alibaba operates a string of online marketplaces in China. There are 279m active buyers a year. They are also hugely profitable, unlike Amazon, growing at the pace of a start-up. Profits nearly tripled to 12.3bn yuan (£1.2bn) in the last quarter alone, as sales jumped 46pc. Roadshows start next week and the float is expected to take place the week beginning 15th September.

Finally that old chestnut bankers’ pay is grabbing headlines again, as the Treasury prepares to do battle with the EU over the proposed implementation of a cap on pay and bonuses. Any such nonsensical piece of restrictive practice would seriously disadvantage London with New York and Hong Kong! All other European financial centres are Mickey Mouse in comparison to London.


In the US monthly company retail sales number are posted on Wednesday. US results – Monday – CAMPBELL SOUPS, Tuesday – BARNES & NOBLE, KRISPY KREME, Friday – DARDEN RESTAURANTS.

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 – The information in this e-mail and any attachments is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee(s). If you are not an intended recipient, please delete the message and any attachments and notify the sender of miss-delivery: any use or disclosure of the contents of either is unauthorised and may be unlawful.

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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