TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Monday, 10th November 2014

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”

John McCrae – poet & Canadian soldier – 1893-1918

I was wondering whether there had been fundamental changes made by the FA in regards to the rules of the game. When I played and when I first started watching, if you prevented an opponent from challenging for the ball in the penalty, it was a penalty. If you persistently did it you were sent off. Either the rules have changed or referees are in need of a visit to Dolland & Aitchison for a new pair of contact lenses. The likes of Shawcross of Stoke City, Williams of Swansea and Skertl of Liverpool spend their entire time locking their arms around their opponents’ waist in their own penalty area. In days gone by they would never have seen a Premiership match though! Gentlemen, interpret the laws of the game or tell us about the new changes.

I must confess to not being a ‘petrol head.’ Nonetheless this year’s FI championship has been a ‘hum-dinger’, with the spoils to be decided in Abu Dhabi, the last race a very long and gruelling competition – Hamilton or Rosberg?

As a rather insignificant consultant for ‘Business for Britain’ I was delighted to see that another 500 signatures of business leaders had been added to the existing members to a letter to all political parties, exhorting them all to promise a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU by 2017. ‘Business for Britain’ is relentless in its quest to have the existing deal with the EU torn up and renegotiated. This august group took out a double-paged spread in The Sunday Telegraph. There are some distinguished captains of industry and business on this list – Sir Stuart Rose, Sir Michael Hintze, Lord Harris, Lord Simon Wolfson, Robert Hiscox and Lord Bell that number amongst those who have expressed their concern about the UK’s ongoing involvement on unsatisfactory terms. John Cridland, the Director General of CBI will, at today’s CBI gathering, implore delegates that the only way forward for the UK economy to continue expanding through its membership of the EU. He represents about 200k associated businesses from an administrative capacity, but I suspect some of them are very wary of that prospect. One thing seems certain every FTSE 100 CEO seems to be a rock solid supporter with perhaps only Lord Wolfson listening to alarm bells. These companies have their butter currently too thickly spread with EU butter, though Dollar earnings are even more important. Mr Cridland did express his concern that Germany and France were doing nothing like enough to reflate their economies with infrastructure projects and nor was the ECB getting on with genuine QE. I think Mr Cridland needs reminding that that Chancellor Merkel does not do debt!

I doubt John Cridland’s cause will be enhanced this week when Ed Miliband extols the virtues of EU membership in his speech to the CBI Conference at 2.30pm this afternoon. His credibility has been seriously examined in recent weeks and his comments could fall on deaf ears. I am told that DPM Clegg will be scaremongering on the same issue. Again few will be leaving the work place or finishing their lunch to be enchanted by his passion for bureaucracy and federalism.

Though the week gets off to a slow start, the APEC Conference in Beijing is easily the most important event with the attendance of Obama, Putin and Abe to meet the Chinese hierarchy being of particular significance. The temperature in Ukraine seems to have been raised with Donetsk looking an uncomfortable place to be, thanks to an escalation of Russian rebel inspired violence. Can there be any serious constructive ‘head banging’ between the US and Russia? It needs to happen, with the Russian economy falling out of bed in concert with the Rouble, which has fallen by 30% against the Dollar so far this year and by 42% in the last year and 60% in the last 5 years. Also oil has drifted off by 23% in the last 6 months. Are China and Japan going to become good companions? Could China be the honest broker between US and Russia or are we going to see sanctions increased and a return to the ‘cold war?’ People have tended to make light of his conference. They should not, as it has huge ramifications. If sanctions get ugly and Russia imposes reprisals the world could be heading straight back in to recession. The problem is Putin will not lose face and if Russia suffers he is a past master at spin in persuading the people that it is the West’s fault.

Asian markets were mixed this morning. Shanghai and the Hang Seng were up by nearly 2% thanks to links between these two centres being imminent and thus likely to improve trading conditions. The NIKKEI was down 0.6% thanks to a weaker Yen. Lonmin posted a loss for $188 million for the year. Trinity Mirror posted a fall in revenues of 5% for the quarter, but digital revenues had increased by 44% and profits for the year were expected to come in – in line with expectations. Carlsberg expects to maintain profits forecasts for the year, but lager sales to Germany have fallen by 6% plus there is a currency issue. Carlsberg’s shares has fallen 6.8% so far this year. European markets are expected to open in a reflective mood this morning whilst US payroll numbers are digested. One point of concern was the slow wages growth – just 2%, but the working week data looked positive with labour working longer hours.

UK companies posting results and trading statements this week – Monday – TRINITY MIRROR, DIGNITY, HAMMERSON, AREVA, Tuesday – BTG, FENNER, SPEEDY HIRE, VODAFONE, TALKTALK, Wednesday – CSR, J SAINSBURY, BURBERRY, G4S, INTERSERVE, SSE, WH SMITH, PUNCH TAVERNS, MONEYSUPERMARKET.COM (TS), TULLOW (TS), BARRATT DEVELOPMENT (TS), SIG (TS), Thursday – VEDANTA, SAB MILLER, GENEL, £I GROUP, OPHIR ENERGY, WS ATKINS, TED BAKER, ROLLS ROYCE (TS), LSE (TS), ITV (TS), Friday – AGGREKO, PREMIER FARNELL, RESTAURANT GROUP.

US companies – Monday – DEAN FOODS, Tuesday – DR HORTON, Wednesday – VALERO ENERGY, ADT CORPORATION, MACY’S, BEAZER HOMES, JC PENNEY, Thursday – VIACOM, KOHL’S & NORDSTROM.

David Buik
Market Commentator

D +44 (0)20 7886 2775
Panmure Gordon & Co
One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom
http://www.panmure.com

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