TODAY’S FAYRE – Monday, 7th March 2016
“When I would muse in boyhood
The wild green woods among,
And nurse resolves and fancies
Because the world was young,
It was not foes to conquer,
Nor sweethearts to be kind,
But it was friends to die for
That I would seek and find.
I sought them far and found them,
The sure, the straight, the brave,
The hearts I lost my own to,
The souls I could not save.
They braced their belts about them,
They crossed in ships the sea,
They sought and found six feet of ground,
And there they died for me.”
AE Housman– poet – 1859 – 1936
There have been a few distasteful utterings as well as a bit of political skulduggery this weekend that leave a great deal to be desired regardless of how passionate any leader or group of activists on their specific subjects feel. Firstly, if it’s true and whether it was out of desperation or not, but for J-C Juncker to suggest that if the UK votes to leave the EU, that action could be a catalyst to triggering World War 111 is contemptable, irresponsible jingoistic nonsense. He should be ashamed of himself. Also to add salt in to the wound, by suggesting that those who doubt the validity of the EU should visit the war graves to remind themselves of the atrocities. M Juncker – the UK, Sir, is the last country to suffer from amnesia over those dark days of our history!
Finally, how sad it is that the BCC’s Director-General John Longworth was forced to resign for his personal and honourable conviction, believing that the UK would flourish more, raving removed the EU vice like gripping tentacles of federal control – my interpretation, not his words. One get the feeling he did not make this far-reaching decision unassisted. One suspects that No: 10 was not unhappy to see the back of Mr Longworth.
After 6 years in the hands of its US founder Vernon Hill and private equity METRO BANK took a bow as an IPO this morning when conditional trading started in this challenger bank, which has 40 branches and 200,000 customers. Shares valued at £400k at £20 each were offered for sale valuing Metro Bank at £1.4 billion – lower than the original assessment of £2 billion. However this is sensible as banking will be going through tough times with greater capital requirements. So it is best for all concerned, which includes Vernon Hill, Ken Moelis, Richard LeFrak, Blackrock and Fidelity, that this IPO gets off to a good start with a bit of momentum behind it. Perhaps the main shareholders are happy that the stock remains with them and institutional fund managers as £20 a share would not encourage retail investors as the unit value is too large. Had it been me I would have advised more shares and a lower price to build up a decent sized and varied share register.
This bank has yet to make a profit but in 2015 cut its losses from £41.1 million to £40.7 million. This the first new high street bank for 100 years. It follows in the wake of Clydesdale Banking Group IPO in January where shares were up about 12.7% on Friday (Issued at 180p closed 203p on Friday). At 8.10am the shares were trading conditionally at £20 or just above. Very little business in conditional trading – in fairness the shares are in safe hands.
UK companies posting results this week – Monday – Escher Group, , RTC group, Clarksons, Tuesday – Foxtons, Paddy Power Betfair, Worldpay, Regenersis, Wednesday – DS Smith, G4S, StatPro, Prudential, Lookers, Thursday – Aldermore, Cineworld, Michael Page, Ophir, Marshalls, Robert Walters, Amec, Wm Morrison, Friday – Pace, Old Mutual, Computacenter
US companies posting interim results – Monday – Urban Outfitters, Wednesday – Korn/Ferry, Thursday – Dollar General
ECONOMIC DATA – Tuesday – BRC Sales, Wednesday – RICS, UK Industrial production and Manufacturing output, Thursday – BOE quarterly bulletin, Friday – UK Trade Balance
Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co
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