TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday, 16th December 2015
“Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
Robert Frost – poet – 1874-1963
I think it is only fair that I should be allowed to vent my spleen on certain passions I retain. One of those passions is Fulham FC. I like to think that the owner, Shahid Khan, has just been every badly advised and misdirected by the managing director Alistair Macintosh and his useless cohorts in the last 2 years. If someone does not take a grip of this club before too long it is heading for relegation yet again. What a tragedy! The club has a great catchment area with a wonderful traditional ground in Craven Cottage and great fans. Fulham has some good players but the team is rudderless and without leadership. Could someone step up to the plate please?
It looks as though Andy Murray has flip-flopped with Jessica Ennis-Hill as a very warm order to win SPOTY on Sunday night. However great an achievement winning the Davis Cup was, despite many major countries not competing, in terms of beating a world class field to win the Tour de France for a second time Chris Froome should be ‘nailed-on’ as SPOTY 2015. However it won’t happen as cycling is no longer vogue because of the drug syndrome. Froome will still get my vote!
“Today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic – If you go down in the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise!” – The FOMC decision tonight!
In terms of abrogation of responsibility and indecisiveness the FEDERAL RESERVE grabs the ‘yellow jersey’ unopposed in 2015. In terms of prevarication, Chairman Yelled and her board have been even less decisive than Hamlet was at Elsinore! So go to it, Madam, tonight and nail it! Lay the ghost to rest! If it turns out to be the wrong decision; so what! Reverse it! No harm done! The Strength of the Dollar has seen China’s PBOC manipulate the Yuan down 8 consecutive sessions!
On a less frivolous note, Panmure’s Chief economist, Simon French makes the following poignant comments – ‘In the event of a rate increase utilities and real estate (where gearing is most acute) are likely to sell off, whilst banks, healthcare and technology may benefit.’ There are far greater luminaries on the subject of the FED than me to comment with authority than me.
On Monday the daily turnover in New York was at its highest for three months. The FTSE 100 yesterday, on the face of it, had a terrific session and I wondered whether similar trading conditions had prevailed – not so. There were great volumes in oils, particularly BP (+2%), Shell (+2.6%) and Tallow (+6%). Miners were also active with Glencoe leading the charge (+3% having been up 6%). Old Mutual enjoyed the mild weather in adding 5%. What surprised me was the performance of the supermarkets. Though Kantor’s appraisal was positive the news from Tesco was not exciting (sales down an average of 3% for 3 months to 5th December, Tesco shares rallied by 4.3%, Morrison by 4.2%, Sainsbury 5.2%, Coad just +0.59% and M&S 1.5%. Apart from that volumes were very average and there was more than just a hint of a ‘dead-cat-bounce’ in equities, despite of the fact the ECB was adding more stimulus packages, which took both the DAX and CAC up 3%.
In passing Prada shares took some stick with profits down 35% in the last trading period. It was interesting to note that possible predators are knocking at RBS and Corsair’s doors to buy Williams & Glyn Bank, which consists of 300 odd RBS branches which were originally headed in the abortive direction of the Cooperative Bank thanks to an EU edict. This bank employs 4,500 people and services 1.8 million customers including about 25k SMES. The price tag is purportedly £1.5 billion if it is decided that a sale is the preferable route rather than an IPO. The abortive merger between Schneider Electrical and Aveva saw the latter’s share price fall by 36% initially. I won’t waste your valuable time talking about UK inflation which rallied from -0.1% to +0.1% last month. Panmure’s Simon French has already provided the market with some great analysis. Comments made by Mark Carney suggest that the UK is not quite ready for a rate increase.
The Street of Dreams continued its renaissance thanks to expectations of a FED hike, a rally in oil and commodity prices – energy sector was up about 3%. The DOW was up 0.90%, the S&P 500 by 1.06% and the NASDAQ by 0.87%. Banks were also in demand with Goldman, JP Morgan, Citigroup and BOA all up between 2.5% and 3%. Ahead of the ‘Star Wars’ premier, Walt Disney was up 2.5%. The first weekend is expected to generate $30 million in receipts and the film plus ancillary products $2 billion in the months to come. It is interesting to note that in the US cinemas have become more popular with IMAX’s share price having rallied 26% in the last year. Apple’s shares were down 1.77% yesterday and at $110 a share it is way off its best level of $134 this year. iPhone sales are looking a little brittle, which is why some semiconductor shares have been found wanting – ARM holding.
On the back of the pick-up in New York and a rally in energy prices Asia enjoyed an exhilarating session – The ASX closed +2.42% and Nikkei 2.61%. Towards the close the Shanghai Composite was +0.17% and the Hang Seng +1.99%. The FTSE 100 opening was reflective despite good results from Dixon Carphone +3.2% and SuperGroup up 8.5% at 8.10am. Eyes down for a full house in Washington this evening.
UK companies posting results this week – Wednesday – Dixon Carphone, SuperGroup, Thursday -Premier Farnell, Friday – Carnival, Trinity Mirror
US companies posting interim results this week – Wednesday – Joy Global, Jabil Circuits, FedEx, Thursday – Oracle, Red Hat, AAR, Friday – Lennar, Darden Restaurants
Economic Data – Wednesday – FOMC meeting, UK employment Thursday UK Retail sales
Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co