TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday 14th April 2016
” When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;–then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.”
John Keats – poet – 1795 – 1821
As confidence in PM Cameron’s government’s EU Referendum policy starts to fade, YouGov’s polls look very interesting – determined to remain 30%; determined to leave 29%. 13% don’t know if it’s Tuesday or Wednesday. 15% are leaning to stay and 14% may vote ‘out!’ Shares in Manchester United FC have fallen by 26% since November 2015 – from $19 to $14.02 yesterday. With little prospect of winning either the Premiership or regaining Champion League status, the outlook for investors appears a little bleak. I say investors, but it really only concerns the Glazer family and their cronies – so my heart hardly reaches out! I suppose the FA Cup provides the possibility of a little solace!
We are having to remind ourselves that the S&P 500 and Dow Jones are just 2.4% from taking out the 19 May 2015 all-time high. It just doesn’t feel right in the wake of falling global growth, a Japanese economy that just won’t get back on the bridle, a brittle Chinese economy, deflation, instability of oil and commodity prices and the threat of higher rates in the US. Many have missed this last significant rally since the 11th February.
New York enjoyed a splendidly buoyant session yesterday – quite why is hard to fathom. Yes, JP Morgan’s results were better than expected but profits were still down on last year (7% as against expectations of 13%) and impairment charges were marginally higher than estimated, though in the comfort zone relatively speaking. However JPMorgan’s corporate and investment banking divisions were damaged by the market turmoil, with profits falling by 21%, the consumer banking division posted a 4% gain in net revenues and a 12% rise in profits, boosted by the sale of shares in Square, its payment operation. We shall know a fair bit more about the US banking sector when BOA and Wells Fargo step up to the plate today, with Citigroup reporting tomorrow and Goldman Sachs next Tuesday. The IMF’s report on the robustness of Eurozone banks did not make pretty reading. The August body suggested that there may be a £700 billion black hole in their books, with banks in Greece Portugal and Germany not addressing non-performing loans adequately.
It is also fair to think that expectations from the Doha OPEC oil conference are high. In other words a level of accord on curbing supply will be agreed. But may we remind ourselves that there are two ‘certs’ in life – rent day and death! The DOW finished yesterday’s session up 1.06%, with the S&P flourishing to the tune of 1% and the NASDAQ on top of its game adding 1.55% with Apple +1.45%, Alphabet +1.16% and Yahoo! +1.77% showing the way.
Reams have already been written on yesterday’s domestic London equity scene. Suffice to say that yesterday’s measurable rally of the banks is believed to be a closing out of some very short positions; hence the exacerbated gains. Today I don’t think I bring anything to the party. Overnight a weaker Yen sent the NIKKEI towards outer space. I hope punters and investors enjoyed today’s ride – +3.25%. The ASX closed up 1.3% towards the close and as they headed for lunchtime noodles the Shanghai Composite was down 0.5% with the Hang Seng up 0.77%. Oil and commodity prices were off their best recent level.
The FTSE has failed to flatter this morning and at 10.50am is down 5 points at 6355. We have had an array of results. Two retailers failed to pass muster – Burberry with CEO Chris Bailey finding life for luxury good in Asia tough going – down 6%. Mothercare fared even worse with numbers that were way short of expectation. Investors were visceral in their treatment of this company down 18%. Debenhams said goodbye to CEO Michael Sharp, who posted a decent statement – shares up 1%.
We eagerly await the comments from today’s MPC meeting. The bank will no doubt provide guidance as to interest rate, with any possible hike unlikely until next year. It is interesting to note that mortgage lending has dropped. Uncertainty?
UK companies posting results –Thursday – BURBERRY, UNILEVER, DEBENHAMS, JD SPORTS, PZ CUSSONS, PERSIMMON (TS), HAYS (TS), POUNDLAND (TS), MOTHERCARE (TS), Friday – MAN GROUP
US companies posting interim results –Thursday – BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH, WELLS FARGO, BLACKROCK, Friday – CITIGROUP
Economic Data –Thursday – UK MPC MEETING, Friday – UK CONSTRUCTION OUTPUT and TRADE BALANCE
Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co
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