TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 29th March 2016
“When George’s Grandmamma was told
That George had been as good as gold,
She promised in the afternoon
To buy him an Immense BALLOON.
And so she did; but when it came,
It got into the candle flame, And
being of a dangerous sort
Exploded with a loud report!
The lights went out!
The windows broke!
The room was filled with reeking smoke.
And in the darkness shrieks and yells
Were mingled with electric bells,
And falling masonry and groans,
And crunching, as of broken bones,
And dreadful shrieks, when, worst of all,
The house itself began to fall!
It tottered, shuddering to and fro,
Then crashed into the street below-
Which happened to be Savile Row.
When help arrived, among the dead
Were Cousin Mary, Little Fred,
The Footmen (both of them), the Groom,
The man that cleaned the Billiard-Room,
The Chaplain, and the Still-Room Maid.
And I am dreadfully afraid
That Monsieur Champignon, the Chef,
Will now be permanently deaf-
And both his aides are much the same;
While George, who was in part to blame,
Received, you will regret to hear,
A nasty lump behind the ear. Moral:
The moral is that little boys
Should not be given dangerous toys.
Hilaire Belloc – author & poet – 1870 – 1953
I am reading a book anyone over the age of 50 should thoroughly enjoy if they are intrigued with the law and the mystique of court room dramas. It is written by Thomas Grant, on the ‘Case Histories of Lord Jeremy Hutchinson QC’, who as 101 years old yesterday. Amongst the people he represented in court were ‘George Blake’ and ‘John Vassall’ – both spies, tried and convicted in the ‘60s. Christine Keeler, Penguin books’ defence of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Mayflower books’ defence of ‘Fanny Hill’, Kempton Bunton for the theft of Goya’s painting of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery, Tom Keating for forging great works of art and United Artists for ‘The Last Tango in Paris’ were amongst the notorious legal battles he built his brilliant and indefatigable reputation on with unparalleled powers of oratory as well as always being the epitome of charm.
So the European Bank holiday came and went. The Street of Dreams experienced a choppy session yesterday in very quiet sepulchral trading conditions. Initially shares dropped on falling oil and energy prices. However nondescript consumer spending data, virtually unchanged from the month before, took the wind out of the sails of the continuing threat of higher rates being implemented in the US, come June. In fact this uninspiring data ventures to suggest that 1st quarter US GDP may be no more than +0.9%. Notwithstanding that the prognosis for Friday’s Non-Farm Payroll data is expected to include confirmation of about 213k jobs having been created in February, despite the tough winter. If true, the FED’s Janet Yellen and her cohorts have another difficult conundrum on interest rate policy to decipher!
So despite some M&A activity, which included Hong Kong’s Anbang raising its price for Starwood Hotels to $82.75 a share, NTT buying Dell’s IT service units for $3.05 billion and more froth on gossip that Microsoft is still running the ruler over Yahoo!, the three main US bourses closed on a relatively flat note – DOW +0.11%, S&P 500 +0.05% and the NASDAQ easier by -0.14%.
Yesterday China’s industrial profits rose at the fastest rate since 2014. However the effect of Asian equities on a net basis over 2 days has been negligible. At the close the NIKKEO closed down -0.18% and the ASX was 1.57% easier. Just after lunch the Shanghai Composite was down 1.35 and the Hang Seng was near enough flat.
Bank holiday papers are often short of copy and this weekend was probably no different. The Sunday Times speculated that Shell was giving due consideration to the sale of North Sea assets post the acquisition of BG Group. Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden let it be known that all assets were under consideration or assessment – not just those assets in the North Sea. There was talk that Glaxo Smithkline was looking at its overall taxation position as well as attempting to provide easier access to cancer drugs to poorer nations. The LSE/Deutsche Boerse deal is far from being put to bed. Objections as to domicile as well as sovereignty are now being raised in Germany as well as here in the UK. We expect ICE to come in today and spoil the party with a higher bid. No doubt ICE will be encouraged by these developments as will those supporting ‘no deal.’ It is hardly surprising that the UK’s largest banks have vigorously encouraged the new challenger banks to pay their share of the £2.5 billion bank levy. At 11.00am this morning many are expecting the BOE to announce stricter and tighter criteria for ‘Buy to let’ lending. Today is a quiet day for corporate results. AG Barr the owners of Irn Bru, Tizer and Orangina, posted results this morning. Results were in line with expectation – profits up 7% and a 10% increase in dividend. Shares were virtually unchanged at the opening. With 2 years notice being given to many companies in regards to sugar content in drinks, contingency plans including greater exports could result in little tax being raised. The it would be ‘job done!’
The FTSE surprisingly opening up 46 points 6153, despite the hijacking of an Egyptian aircraft which was forced to head for Larnaka in Cyprus. Drugs, banks oil and mining were all better.
UK companies posting results – Tuesday – AG BARR, Wednesday – CARNIVAL PLC, Thursday – BOOKER, Thursday – HILTON FOODS, WIRELESS GROUP, JAMES HALSTEAD, CHESNARA, CMC MARKETS, and TUI TRAVEL
US companies posting interim results –Tuesday – SONIC, LENNAR – Wednesday MICRON TECHNOLOGY
Economic Data – Tuesday – US CONSUMER CONFIDENCE, Wednesday – US ADP INDEX, Thursday – UK CURRENT ACCOUNT & FINAL GDP for 2015, Friday – UK PMI MANUFACTURING & CONSTRUCTION, US NON FARM PAYROLLS & EMPLOYMENT DATA.
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