TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday 20th April 2016
“In a stage-coach, where late I chanced to be,
A little quiet girl my notice caught;
I saw she looked at nothing by the way,
Her mind seemed busy on some childish thought. I
with an old man’s courtesy addressed
The child, and called her pretty dark-eyed maid,
And bid her turn those pretty eyes and see
The wide extended prospect.
‘Sir,’ she said, ‘I cannot see the prospect, I am blind.
‘ Never did tongue of child utter a sound
So mournful, as her words fell on my ear.
Her mother then related how she found
Her child was sightless.
On a fine bright day
She saw her lay her needlework aside,
And, as on such occasions mothers will,
For leaving off her work began to chide.
‘I’ll do it when ’tis daylight, if you please,
I cannot work, mamma, now it is night.
‘ The sun shone bright upon her when she spoke,
And yet her eyes received no ray of light.”
Charles Lamb – poet, author & essayist – 1775 – 1834
Though a few senior political commentators scoffed at the content of Michael Gove’s presentation yesterday in favour of ‘Vote Leave’, I am very hopeful there will be a change of heart when “three wise financial gurus’ put some meat on the bone for the undecided to chew over early next week. Yes HM Treasury and the Bank of England have set down their stall and they seem very much in unison as to their views. For me the Treasury’s prognosis was too extreme and Mark Carney was vigorously and correctly defending the BOE’S right to express a duty of care opinion on a BREXIT outcome. However there is no denying it brings political influence to bear!
Europe enjoyed an exhilirating day’s trading, as it quickly forget being chained to the house of bondage just over 2 months ago, when investment sentiment was dire. China was heading for the abattoir; oil was $27 a barrel, growth prospects were unappetising and earnings appeared to offer little solace. Oh ye of little faith (and that included me)! Investors and analysts have girded up their loins and markets have risen like the phoenix from the ashes – the FTSE has rallied 15% from 11th February and the US markets are not that far away from last year’s record levels (circa 2%). The FTSE ended the session up an ebullient 51 points at 6405, with mining stocks blazing the trail – financial stocks weren’t too shabby either. Just to put a little colour on the fable, Anglo-American added 8.5% and BHP Billiton 5.2%.
On the Street of Dreams Netflix was clattered, losing 12% in value yesterday and investors were hugely disappointed with IBM’S outlook. Punters skimmed 5% off the share price, leaving the NASDAQ down by 0.4% on the day. However all in all the DOW +0.27% and the S&P 500 – +0.31%, wiped their faces leaving both indices within a couple of percent from their all-time high last May. The Dollar surrendered a little ground and oil shed 2.5% to $40.02 a barrel. Despite seeing profits down by 57%, Goldman Sachs’s share price rallied by 2.3% based on the fact the results were slightly less awful than expected. Intel served notice to release 11% of its work force. Yahoo! lost 0.52% but there results are probably of secondary importance in comparison to their future, which may fall in the hands of Verizon. Johnson & Johnson made steady progress and their shares responded accordingly.
In Asia China had a bad session with confirmation that China’s GDP is only 6.3% and not 6.7% as previously posted last week. The Shanghai Composite was down 2.3% towards the close and the Hang Seng was 1% easier. The NIKKEI closed 0.2% to the good and the ASX posted an unexciting 0.5% gain. There have been a slew of earnings this morning in Old Blighty. ARM Holdings pleased its acolytes – +2.5% and N Brown did not – -10%!
UK unemployment data will be posted today. The figure may drop a smidgen but the figure we should all be looking at is wage inflation. With wage inflation unlikely to be much above 2%, the BOE will be unmoved in terms of a rate hike. With inflation at 0.5% the BOE would want wage inflation to hit 2.5%+ before becoming excited. What is interesting is that job vacancies will be at their all-time high – 775k, with shortage of requisite skills being a problem. The FTSE was down 20 points at 6385 at 9.05am.
UK companies posting results – Wednesday – N BROWN, ARM HOLDINGS, MONEYSUPERMARKET (TS), GKN, TRAVIS PERKINS, PUNCH TAVERNS, Thursday – ANGLO-AMERICAN (TS), SEGRO (TS), GO-AHEAD (TS), SAB MILLER (TS), SKY, LADBROKES, COMPUTACENTER, PETS-AT-HOME, Friday – RECKITT BENCKISER (TS)
US companies posting interim results – Wednesday – ABBOTT LABS, COCA-COLA, YUM BRANDS!, AMERICAN EXPRESS, MATTEL, BARNES & NOBLE, Thursday – ALPHABET, CITIZENS FINANCIAL, MICROSOFT, GENERAL MOTORS, PULTE, DR HORTON, NANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, BIOGEN, VISA, BJ RESTAURANTS, SCHLUMBERGER, Friday – CATERPILLAR, KIMBERLEY-CLARK
Economic Data – Wednesday – UK EMPLOYMENT DATA, US EXISTING HOME SALES, Thursday – UK RETAIL SALES, ECB PRESS CONFRENCE, US CONSUMER CONFIDENCE, Friday – GERMANY IFO REPORT
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