TODAY’S FAYRE – Friday 19th June 2015
“Frowning over the riddle that Daniel told,
Down through the mist hung garden, below a feeble sun,
The King of Persia walked: oh, the chilling cold!
His mind was webbed with a grey shroud vapour-spun.
Here for the pride of his soaring eagle heart,
Here for his great hand searching the skies for food,
Here for his courtship of Heaven’s high stars he shall smart,
Nebuchadnezzar shall fall, crawl, be subdued.
Hot sun struck through the vapour, leaf strewn mould
Breathed sweet decay: old Earth called for her child.
Mist drew off from his mind, Sun scattered gold,
Warmth came and earthy motives fresh and wild.
Down on his knees he sinks, the stiff-necked King,
Stoops and kneels and grovels, chin to the mud.
Out from his changed heart flutter on startled wing
The fancy birds of his Pride, Honour, Kinglihood.
He crawls, he grunts, he is beast-like, frogs and snails
His diet, and grass, and water with hand for cup.
He herds with brutes that have hooves and horns and tails
He roars in his anger, he scratches, he looks not up.”
Robert Graves – poet – 1895-1985
With two days to go, it looks as though Ryan Moore will beat Pat Eddery’s and Lester Piggott’s record of 8 winners at the Royal meeting at Ascot, having already ridden that number, after just three days. Yesterday Moore rode a 760/1 treble on ‘Curvy’, ‘Waterloo Bridge’ and ‘War Envoy’ – an astonishing price for three Coolmore owned horses. Today punters will be hoping that ‘Hootenanny’ will be cheered up the straight to land the spoils for Ryan Moore in the Commonwealth Cup at odds of about 3/1!
The world at large – well certainly equity geeks – have had a belly-full of Greek drama to last them a life time. ‘Peyton Place’ and ‘Eastenders’ have nothing on this soap opera! So for last night’s EU ministers’ meeting to break up without an accord and to be reconvened on Monday just brought guffaws and shrieks of ridiculed mirth from observers! Come Monday, I imagine the status quo will remain unchanged. Tspiras must be bluffing threatening to turn to Putin for help. The Russian President has financial problems of his own. Also if Putin is allowed to set down his naval stall in the Piraeus, Greece will be frozen out of trading and financial society by the rest of the free world and Tsipras knows that only too well. If Chancellor Merkel and her chums want the light to continue to shine under the EU dream, SWALLOW Greece’s problems and let’s get on with life and you can deal with Spain, Portugal and Italy’s problems on a piece-meal basis. The ECB already has a QE facility of over €1 trillion. What is another €200 billion amongst friends?
By the grace of God, the Street of Dreams chose to ignore the potential ramification of the Greek crisis and Grexit. ‘Bovvered’ was muttered under investors’ breath! The fact that interest rates will only go up in a very slow and orderly manner buoyed a positive sentiment. The DOW added 1%, with the S&P 500 grabbing 0.99% and the NASDAQ 1.34%; the momentum from Fitbits’ thunderous IPO, which recorded a 49% premium on the first day of trading, was there for all to see. This manufacturer of wrist bands, that monitors fitness and calorie intake, managed by James Park, raised $734 million. Shares were issued at $20, after Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and BOA had to adjust the original pricing from $14-$16 thanks to an insatiable demand. This values the company at in excess of $6 billion, with Park’s stock valued at $700 million. Superficially, this pricing of Fitbit looks like a re-enactment of the dot.com boom. However this was the NYSE and not the NASDAQ. Financial advisors of Fitbit’s calibre must surely have done their homework.
Today Asia experienced a rather enigmatic and sepulchral session. Australia’ ASX closed up 1.36%, the Shanghai Composite was down 1.62% and the Hang Seng up 0.60% at lunchtime. Conversely the NIKKEI closed up 0.92%.
The FTSE opened down 7 points at 6700. The market is really only concerned about Royal Ascot. The only news of interest is the fact that Auto Traders pleased its acolytes and the shares rose 1.5% at the opening. This stock is likely to be reweighted tonight. Also In a surprise announcement Group CEO David Nish is to step down and is being replaced by Keith Skeoch who is currently CEO of the investment arm Standard Life Investments. Today is the 20th anniversary AIM. AIM started very conservatively with just 10 companies valued at £25 million setting the ball rolling. However since then it has become an integral part of financial society with 3500 companies, raising over £90 billion of capital. Congratulations for such an innovative idea, which has seen 3500 companies, raising capital and finance, valued at £90 billion in 20 years. This prevents companies with decent business plans having to wait 5 years for a quote.
It appears that NM Rothschild will have the added guidance of Goldman Sachs, who may also be appointed by the government on the sale of its remaining stakes in Lloyds and RBS. Initially, Goldman together with JP Morgan Chase were hired as the privatisation adviser to UK Financial Investments (UKFI), a holding company tasked with managing the taxpayer stakes in toxic debt acquired by banks and building societies in the halcyon days before the 2008 crisis.
Lego, the Danish toy maker has flip-flopped with Mattel, the maker of the Barbie Doll as the world’s largest toymaker. Together with Disney’s film ‘Frozen’ Lego dented the pride and the coffers of Mattel.
David Buik – market commentator
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