TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday, 28th January 2015
“Ask me no more: the moon may draw the sea;
The cloud may stoop from heaven and take the shape,
With fold to fold, of mountain or of cape;
But O too fond, when have I answer’d thee?
Ask me no more.
Ask me no more: what answer should I give?
I love not hollow cheek or faded eye:
Yet, O my friend, I will not have thee die!
Ask me no more, lest I should bid thee live;
Ask me no more.
Ask me no more: thy fate and mine are seal’d:
I strove against the stream and all in vain:
Let the great river take me to the main:
No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield;
Ask me no more.”
Emily Dickinson – poet – 1830-1886
Three years ago in May my wife and I spent a weekend in Krakow with my dear friend David Schwartz; sadly no longer with us and his wife. As you can imagine the most poignant, painful, devastating and shattering day was spent visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau. Need I say more? It is impossible to adequately describe the feeling of depravity, wantonness and human wickedness. This is no time for avid descriptions. Suffice to say that it was a horrendous experience – one we shall never forget for the rest of our days. Everyone should visit this desolate area of Poland, lest we ever forget. Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the closure of this most fearful of concentration camps.
I wasn’t a great day for equities yesterday. The dapper Alexis Tsipras, the youthful Greek PM – he with the matinee idol good looks – was putting his Cabinet together and a few well worded ‘Ya! Boo! Sucks!’ were being filtered out in to the market that Greece would happily dictate terms to the EU about its plight with austerity, debt and the threat of default. In fact according to them everything in the garden was rosy! I don’t think so! Anyway there are a few weeks before Greece has to come up before the beak in the form of the Troikas, which will decide their economic and financial fate and whether this beautiful country is pointed in the direction of the EU exit door. Yesterday the DAX lost 1.57%, the CAC 1.09% and the FTSE 100 – a mere bagatelle – just 40 points to 6811 (-0.6%). In London most of the companies posting results were just medium sized with perhaps easyJet posting the most pleasing effort. With the Euro having dropped like a stone in recent months and with oil at less than $50 a barrel and the UK economy in relatively chipper nick, if easyJet and Ryanair don’t ‘make a little hay whilst the sun shines’, they never will.
The Street of Dreams had wound themselves up for the mother and father of all snow storms which never really materialised; thank goodness. However some of the earnings were less than impressive, particularly Microsoft, whose profits fell by 10%, saw its shares ease by 7%. Caterpillar fared little better – shares down 8%. When the bell finally clattered Wall Street was in a modest pickle – DOW -1.65%, S&P 500 -1.34% and the NASDAQ -1.89%. Yahoo! served notice to float its 15% stake in Alibaba in to a company called SPINKO! One must surely be forgiven for thinking that Yahoo! looks a little vulnerable. Procter & Gamble, thanks to currency head winds, reported second quarter fiscal year 2015 core earnings per share of $1.06 versus $1.15 the prior year. P&G’s shares fell by 3%.
Then after hours Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO blew the market apart with what can only be described at stellar numbers. In the last quarter Apple sold 74 million units – circa 18million iPhone6, 21 million iPads and 5.5 million Macs. Revenues came in at $74.6 billion with a 7.3% increase in profits to $18 billion! – The largest quarterly profit posted by any company. EPS was $3.06. Apple’s relationship with China is clearly paying handsome dividends probably to Samsung’s chagrin. However some fresh innovation from Apple will be required before too long as the likes of Google’s android is gathering momentum. These were outstanding numbers. The shares moved forward by 6.2% to $115.40. It was only last April that shares were split – 7 for 1 to $75 each!
This morning Asia, after a fairly neutral start saw the ASX close 0.10% and the NIKKEI +0.15%. However just after lunch the Shanghai Composite was down 1.71%, thanks to a decline in profitability of industrial companies, though the Hang Seng was up 0.30%. This morning results from Anglo-American with unspectacular production numbers, but two upgrades, have been posted this morning, Antofagasta and Sage (unch at the open) were being closely scrutinized. H&M believe that January sales will increase by 14% and there are plans to open another 400 shops!! These shares have rallied 17.9% in the last year. What an outstanding retail success – same mold as Inditex and Next!
UK companies posting results and trading statements – Wednesday – ANGLO AMERICAN, ANTOFAGASTA, PREMIER FARNELL, JOHNSON MATTHEY, SAGE, BREWIN DOLPHIN, Economics – FOMC Thursday – ROYAL DUTCH SHELL, RPC, 3iii, DIAGEO, FULLER, SMITH & TURNER, Friday – BT GROUP, VEDANTA RESOURCES – Economics BBA mortgage applications US companies posting interim results –Wednesday – BOEING, FACEBOOK, GENERAL DYNAMICS, Thursday – FORD, ZIMMER, RAYTHEON, CONOCO-PHILLIPS, HERSHEY, PULTE, VIACOM, NORTHROP GRUMMAN, ABBOTT LABS, VISA, GOOGLE, AMAZON, Friday – XEROX, MATTEL, MASTERCARD, CHEVRON.
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