TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday, 21st January 2015
“Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.
Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit’s carnal ecstasy. Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.
Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.”
WH Auden – poet – 1907-1973
The fact that the publication of ‘The Chilcot Inquiry’, after nearly 6 years of ‘ducking and diving’ by the main dramatis personae, has been postponed until after the General Election is a national scandal. If it is not a ‘cover-up’, then a government statement should be made as to why it has been put on ice for at least another four months. Few will buy the idea that insufficient time to debate its findings would be found ahead of the election – balderdash! Also the ‘tooing & frowing’ of evidence between the inquiry and witnesses has taken too long. With the Iraq war proving to have been an unmitigated disaster, surely we, the great unwashed British public, are entitled to an explanation and to have questions answered. The fact that President Bush and PM Blair may not have felt comfortable with some of its contents and findings is, by now, surely irrelevant.
In his state of the union address, President was at his best in giving a passionate address on poverty, greater distribution of wealth, increasing taxation of the rich and hammering companies who squirrelled away profits, avoiding taxation, as well as extolling the virtues of the TPP trade agreement. Wonderful rhetoric! The President was at his most mercurial! Congress loved it! However the President is just like Tony Blair. Tony Blair used to use an estuary accent when away from Whitehall. Today the President accentuated his ‘Osarks & Ouachitas’ hill-billy accent. Not necessary, in attempting to get your point across! It’s not natural Mr P!
Most people who know me well are aware of my contempt for the Davos WEF and all the trappings that go with it. Nothing tangible ever seems to come out of these bun fights. To add insult to injury, the business world generally goes on hold for 4 days. This year, I doubt it will have that luxury, as tomorrow the eagerly awaited content of Mario Draghi’s very own ‘Pandora’s Box’ will go on show! The box is supposed to contain a massive QE programme to fight deflation and deliver growth. Expectations run very high and I smell disappointment in my nostrils, before he even opens his mouth – the possibility of too little too late. There are also disturbing vibes coming from Italy and France in Davos for a need to see then end to austerity. Wedges in the EU continue to be driven where they hurt. It also seems inconceivable that Greece will be in disagreement about ending austerity after Sunday’s General Election, which could see a Syriza ‘left wing’ led coalition in power.
The Street of Dreams got off to a poor start yesterday, thanks in the main to disappointing results from Johnson & Johnson and Morgan Stanley – the latter saw fixed interest products profits fall by 81% in the last quarter. However later in the day great numbers from Netflix, who increased its subscribers by 1.9 million saw its shares rally by 13%. There were also strong perforamnces from Apple, Yahoo! and Micron Technologies, all of whom added about 2.3%. Delta pleased its acolytes and was up 7.3% on the session. Initially the Dow was down 150 points, but at the close it was up by 0.02%. The S&P 500 was 0.15% to the good and the NASDAQ was firmer by 0.44%.
Yesterday the FTSE 100 had added a rather sedentary 34 points at 6620. It was quiet with banks and mining stocks showing a little form with Unilever slightly disappointing its followers. There is no doubt that a 4.6% currency overhang damaged the bottom line. This morning in Asia, Chinese bourses were rocking and rolling half in response to the adverse treatment meted out by the authorities to curb trading and partly in the belief that stimulus packages will continue to be introduced. The Shanghai Composite was up 4.7% and the Hang Seng was ip 1.5% just after lunch. The Nikkei closed down 0.49%
This morning there were some good numbers from Dixon Carphone, Halfords and Pearson. In the case of SAB Miller, this titanic brewer experienced 4% growth in the last quarter though there were weaknesses in China and Russia. WH Smith saw sales down 1%, but profits were better. Poundland’s efforts were not shabby, but the shares have had a good run – so travelled and arrived. Sorry to hear that Reckitt Benckiser was fined £589k for a raft of poorly monitored share deals by its CEO Rakesh Kapoor. This is sad news for a company valued at £37 billion. I am not sure I buy in to this ethical banking and lending by the Co-op. You are either there to do business or not! Why discriminate against fracking or bookmakers if the businesses are sound, make money and create jobs? At 9.30am this morning Labour data is posted by the ONS.
UK companies posting results for the rest of this week – Wednesday – PEARSON, PETS-AT-HOME, JD WETHERSPOON, SAB MILLER, GENEL, FIRST GROUP, POUNDLAND, COMPUTACENTER, HALFORDS, WH SMITH, Thursday – CARD FACTORY, ST JAMES’S PLACE, CHEMRING, EMIS, COUNTRYWIDE, PARAGON, ROYAL MAIL, Friday – PREMIER FOODS, CLOSE BROTHERS US companies posting interim results – Wednesday – AMERICAN EXPRESS, US BANCORP, eBAY, UNITEDHEALTH, Thursday – TRAVELERS, STARBUCKS, Friday – BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, HONEYWELL, MCDONALD’S, STATE STREET. Next week, APPLE, GOOGLE & MICROSOFT post their interim results
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