TODAY’S FAYRE – Friday 15th May 2015


“I said to Love, “It is not now as in old days When men adored thee and thy ways    All else above; Named thee the Boy, the Bright, the One Who spread a heaven beneath the sun,”    I said to Love.    I said to him, “We now know more of thee than then; We were but weak in judgment when,    

With hearts abrim,

We clamoured thee that thou would’st please

Inflict on us thine agonies,”    


I said to him.    I said to Love,

“Thou art not young, thou art not fair,

No faery darts, no cherub air,    

Nor swan, nor dove

Are thine; but features pitiless,

And iron daggers of distress,”    


I said to Love.    “Depart then, Love! . . . –

Man’s race shall end, dost threaten thou?

The age to come the man of now    

Know nothing of? –

We fear not such a threat from thee;

We are too old in apathy!

Mankind shall cease.–So let it be,”    

I said to Love.”


Thomas Hardy – poet & author – 1840-1928


I am less than convinced that we saw the Derby winner in the Dante yesterday. The two John Gosden trained colts – Golden Horn & Jack Hobbs – together with Elm Park finished way ahead of the rest, However there was more give in the ground than perhaps there will be in the Derby and Epsom’s undulating ground will play its part.  Golden Horn’s owner Sir Anthony Oppenheimer is fairly insistent that his colt should head for Chantilly for the French Derby over a mile two furlongs. Personally speaking I am very disappointed that Coolmore feels that Gleneagles won’t get a mile and a half. Perhaps there could be a change of heart before too long.

With the General Election now a week behind us, it is interesting to note some of the inspired appointments made by PM David Cameron. One can understand why Lord Francis Maude has been appointed as Minister of State at BIS & Foreign Office in support of Sajid Javid. Lord Maude’s political durability as a tough negotiator is taken as read when dealing with EU renegotiations. However Lord Livingstone’s prowess as a salesman will be sadly missed.  He would have been the icing on the cake for UK PLC.

Keep an eye on Greg Hands, the new Treasury Secretary, Greg Clark as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy & Climate. Delighted by their appointments and they could be the stars of this administration.

As rising European bond yields continued to cause havoc in many portfolios, with the possibility of a liquidity crisis in the offing, many investment managers on the Street of Dreams decided to comfort themselves with negative PPI data, with the prospect of the FED taking a very relaxed attitude towards an interest rate hike. They also conveniently chose to forget the rather disturbing drop in initial jobless claims, whilst enjoying a weaker Dollar on a temporary basis! These nuggets of data encouraged them to put their buying boots on. So the S&P it another record day, adding 1.08% with the DOW adding 1.06% and the NASDAQ 1.39%. A spooky unsubstantiated bid for Avon kept the market amused. Shares went up 20% but pulled back at the end of the day. Early activity in New York triggered a rally to what looked like a negative session in London – the FTSE was won 50 pints at 9.00am and ended the session up 23 points at 6973.

There was some joyous news for 3i, Restaurant Group and TalkTalk. I was very impressed with ITV’S 14% rise in revenues.  The market thought ITV had ‘travelled and arrived.’ Hats off to Archie Norman, chairman and Adam Crozier, the CEO, who have orchestrated ITV’S renaissance and its share price rally from 52p to 257p in 5 years. This company was dead and buried 5 years ago, with seemingly nowhere to go! Lord Blackwell, the chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, a person not known for making wild assignations, believes that this bank could be out of bondage by the end of the year. With its share at circa 86p, well above 73.8p break even could prove a sufficiently attractive spring board to unload the remaining 9 million shares (19%) with possibly 5 million going to retail investors possibly at a 5% discount.

BP have appointed a spook – Sir John Sawyer – to its board, presumably to assist with Russian negotiations. TalkTalk’s Dido Harding believes that all the frenetic M&A activity within the telecom sector – BT buying EE for £12 m and Hutchison Whampoa buying Telefonica’s 02 for $10.3 bn – will raise costs for all customers! Not sure about that as post-merger costs will eventually be cut to meet competition prices. True to form Greece Yannis Varoufakis is still being as tricky and truculent as ever in agreeing terms with EU/IMF to meet the criteria for the €7 billion bailout cash.  South Africa’s Brait has acquired 90% of New Look. Finally it looks as though Coop Group’s chairman Alan Leighton is close to agreeing a deal with rebel independent cooperatives, when the main board refused board representation for their three nominees. With his experience at ASDA, the Royal Mail and the likes of Leeds United, Alan Leighton is the perfect trouble shooter to get the Coop, after a loss of £2.5 billion, back on the straight and narrow.

US companies posting interim results – 19th May – WALMART, HOME DEPOT, 20th May – TARGET


David Buik – market commentator


Panmure Gordon & Co


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