Monthly Archives: August 2016

“RETAIL ACTIVITY MAY CONTRIBUTE ABOUT 60% TO GDP, BUT IN THE LAST YEAR RETAILERS HAVE FAILED TO BRING HOME THE BACON!”

“RETAIL ACTIVITY MAY CONTRIBUTE ABOUT 60% TO GDP, BUT IN THE LAST YEAR RETAILERS HAVE FAILED TO BRING HOME THE BACON!”

Company 30/08/15 30/08/16 % gain or loss
M&S 505.50p 343.40p -32.1%
SAINSBURY 240p 243.60p +1.5%
TESCO 185.40p 164.35p -11.4%
MORRISON 109.90p 110.16p +1.0%
OCADO 346.70p 304.10p -12.3%
SPORTS DIRECT 787.50p 297.10p -62.3%
BURBERRY 1341p 1313p -2.1%
NEXT 7750p 5530p -28.6%
AB FOODS 3129p 3037p -2.9%
TED BAKER 3024p 2600p -14.1%
METRO €26.03 €26.50 +1.8%
INDITEX €28.99 €31.89 +10.0%
H&M SKR325.80 Skr263.10 -19.2%
CARREFOUR €28.98 €22.33 -22.9%
LVMH €148.85 €155.05 +4.2%

 

Retail activity is generally acknowledged as the best barometer for economic activity. However it must be over 2 years since we had any food or clothes inflation. So profit margins have continued to narrow for the retailers themselves and many of them have indulged themselves in a fierce and raging price war to increase or maintain market share – none more so than the supermarkets. The performance of the share prices from this sector posted above has been dispiriting at best. Sainsbury and Metro have JUST bucked the trend for the supermarkets but have hardly distinguished themselves. Tesco and Morrison remain in remission.

 

M&S’s performance has been abysmal. CEO Steve Rowe has still failed to grasp the nettle. M&S’S fashion range is dowdiness personified. Even H&M have found the going tough. Carrefour has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and NEXT has been adversely affected by the hand of BREXIT fear, the falling Pound and a slight loss of confidence by the high Street in its range of clothes. AB Food’s share price has probably agonised from the performance of food rather than Primark that continues to acquit itself with aplomb. Even the fabulous internet sight of Ted Baker has felt vulnerable. Retailers’ performance has been pretty motley at best and the yellow jersey goes indisputably to Spain’s Inditex – the owner of the Zara brand!  Ocado has been the most heavily ‘shorted’ UK retail stock, BUT it has recovered by about 12% in the last 3 months.

 

Advertisements

TODAY’S FAYRE – Lord O’Donnell, Barroso, Guardiola, Sir Philip Green & markets

TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 30th August 2016

 

Your questions were answered fully. No. That didn’t occur.
You couldn’t sing anyway, cared less. The moment’s a blur, a Film Fun
laughing itself to death in the coal fire. Anyone’s guess.

Nobody forced you. You wanted to go that day. Begged. You chose
the dress. Here are the pictures, look at you. Look at us all,
smiling and waving, younger. The whole thing is inside your head.

What you recall are impressions; we have the facts. We called the tune.
The secret police of your childhood were older and wiser than you, bigger
than you. Call back the sound of their voices. Boom. Boom. Boom.

Nobody sent you away. That was an extra holiday, with people
you seemed to like. They were firm, there was nothing to fear.
There was none but yourself to blame if it ended in tears.

What does it matter now? No, no, nobody left the skidmarks of sin
on your soul and laid you wide open for Hell. You were loved.
Always. We did what was best. We remember your childhood well.”
 
 
Carl Ann Duffy – poet laureate – 1955 –

 

Considering Pep Guardiola has never spent a huge amount of time on these shores, the Man City manager’s English is perfect, as is his German. Needless to say one would expect his Catalan and Spanish to be fluent, but his English vocabulary? Wow! Not only is he a remarkable and very passionate coach, but he seems to be a highly educated individual, conversant on a wide array of subjects apart from the beautiful game.

Call me a cynic but I smell skulduggery in my nostrils over the forthcoming BREXIT negotiations. Firstly the fact that Denzil Davidson, who helped David Cameron with his abortive negotiations at the EU, has been appointed number 10’s as special EU advisor to help the Rasputin-styled bearded Nick Timothy with EU issues makes me move uncomfortably from one cheek of my backside to the other. Nothing has officially happened yet, but I already smell a watered-down agreement. It feels as if BREXIT does NOT mean BREXIT! 

 
Further to that the unexpected intervention of Lord Gus O’Donnell, who was an outstanding Cabinet Secretary in his day, makes me feel even more disquieted. Lord O’Donnell served two obsessively Pro-EU Prime Ministers in Sir John Mayor and Tony Blair and it would have been three had Gordon Brown been less hell-bent on blocking Tony Blair’s ambitions. Lord O’Donnell himself is a passionate Europhile. He cannot help himself as one of the most celebrated civil servants of the modern era, from adding his two cents worth of unhelpful and negative spin to the unlikely success of the negotiations. 

 
At this juncture it is counterproductive to hear that in his measured opinion negotiations will take a decade! That assessment cannot be countenanced. We have to work on the principle that we have 2 years from the implementation of Article 50 to make this divorce work amicably. Boris Johnson, David Davis and Dr Liam Fox must be given every assistance to deliver BREXIT – not hindrance. If Lord O’Donnell wants to be playful and discourage a break from the EU, he should do it from woolsack in the House of Lords and not stir up a disquieted selfish section of the media, who are behaving like small children by throwing their toys out of their prams.   The government requires every assistance available, to find several hundred trade negotiators to deliver the peoples’ wishes!  How refreshing it was to hear that Lord Mervyn King believes that the UK’S exit from the EU gives the UK a better chance of rebalancing its economy.

 

I am not remotely surprised that there have been 76,000 protestations at the appointment of Jose-Manuel Barroso as chairman of Goldman Sachs London. He despises the UK and rarely has anything positive to say about it. One can only assume that Lloyd Blankfein’s board wanted its bread buttered on both sides to head off BREXIT. As I have said in the past I hope Mrs May dishes out government largesse to more widely to other investment banks rather than into Goldman’s coffers, unless Barosso is removed.

 

I must confess that I don’t hear or read every CBI press release. However I was delighted to see its director general, Carolyn Fairbairn stand up for the UK banking sector in its quest to keep other predator nations from attempting to snitch our banking business way from these shores – very welcome and long overdue. Countries such as France, Germany and Poland don’t have the infrastructure to challenge London in the long term, but it does not stop the charm offensives sweeping across the City of London in tsunami force waves! M/S Fairbairn is right, banks should be allowed ‘off the naughty step’ and there should be some relaxation over the 8% annual levy in the next 5 years. PM May’s Chequers ‘Pow-Wow’ on Wednesday will hopefully reveal many headline plans for BREXIT. The country needs to hear of a plan, though without being jingoistic and unpleasant ‘a la Juncker’, the EU can wait a little longer.

 

The Street of Dreams almost had some spring in its step during yesterday’s session. Market geeks’ response to FED Chairman Janet Yellen’s conclusion to her speech in Jackson Hole, in as much as the US’s economy was robust enough to cope with a rate hike this year, was positive. There was also data that endorsed a spending bounce. Financials were the main beneficiaries yesterday with the sector adding 1.2% in value as the DOW rose by 0.58% and the S&P 500 by 0.52%. The NASDAQ was less ebullient gaining only 0.26%. Despite the threat of having to pay EU authorities back tax totalling several billion Euros, their shares only lost 0.11% yesterday. There has been an 80% jump in a year of live Youtube video viewings, which is putting Facebook and Snapchat on its metal. Alphabet’s shares (owners of YouTube) only rose 0.33%, so one must assume that the news was already in the market. However Apple is also working on iPad upgrades and a refreshed Mac plus the introduction of iPhone 7 on 9th September 2016.

 

In Asia a weaker Yen tried to help the NIKKEI but that bourse failed to respond and closed just below the Plimsoll line – down -0.07% with the ASX up +0.17%. Just after lunch the Shanghai Composite was up 0.10% the Hang Seng was 0.84% to the good.

 

In London this morning there were better than expected results from Bunzl and Petrofac and shares in Ocado may bounce on unsubstantiated rumours that Walmart may be sniffing round Ocado. The eye watering professional fees earned – say $2 billion for the InBev/SAB Miller deal have almost given me a coronary arrest. A former Barclays FX trader, Christopher Ashton has been fined $1.2 billion by the FED Reserve Board for manipulating exchange rates – surprised it was not the SEC! Let’s close on an encouraging note. Well founded rumours suggest that Sir Philip Green may settle the BHS Pension Black Hole with a cheque for £300 million. Let’s hope that is true and that the matter can finally be put to bed!

 UK companies posting results this week – Tuesday – Bunzl, Petrofac, Nordgold, BATM, Wednesday – Chesnara, James Fisher, Diploma, Grafton Group, HSS Hire, 888 Holdings, Punch Taverns, Thursday – Hays, Stylo International, Friday – Go-Ahead Group
 
US companies posting results this week – Tuesday – Christopher & Banks, Abercrombie & Fitch, Fred’s, H&R Block, Wednesday – Brown-Forman, Chico’s FAS, Thursday – Ford (sales), Ciena, Smith & Wesson
 
Economic data due this week –  Tuesday – UK money supply, US Consumer Confidence, Wednesday – UK Gfk Consumer Confidence, US ADP employment Index, Thursday – UK PMI manufacturing, US PMI manufacturing & construction spending, Friday – UK PMI Construction Spending, US Trade Balance, US Non-farm payrolls & employment data
 
 

 

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

+44 (0)20 7886 2775
Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Monday, 29th August 2016

 

Deaf Ted, Danoota, ( and me)………………accompanied by a picture of three on horseback:

 

Thorg hilly grove and burly ive,

Big daleys grass and tree

We clobber ever gallup

Deaf Ted, Danoota, and me.

 

Never shall we partly stray,

Fast stirrup all we three

Fight the battle mighty sword

Deaf Ted, Danoota, and me.

 

With faithfull frog beside us,

Big mighty club are we

The battle scab and frisky dyke

Deaf Ted, Danoota, and me.

 

We fight the baddy baddies,

For colour, race and cree

For Negro, Jew and Bernie

Deaf Ted, Danoota, and me.

 

Thorg Billy grows and Burnley ten,

And Aston Villa three

We clobber ever gallup

Deaf Ted, Danoota and me.

 

So if you hear a wondrous sight,

Am blutter or at sea,

Remember whom the mighty say

Deaf Ted, Danoota, and me-

 

 

John Lennon – singer & lyricist – 1940-1980

 

Lord’s, again, looked a picture on Saturday for the 2nd ODI against Pakistan, which England won with a little bit in hand. However it was the sight of Mr and Mrs Mike Brearley walking through the Grace Gates that brought back fond memories for me as an ardent supporter of Middlesex and England. JM Brearley is 74 and looked as chipper and fit as ever. In my life time he was easily the best tactical captain England ever had. Perhaps DR Jardine – he of body line fame – was King in his time in 1933/4. However I think the great Sir Ian Botham would agree about JMB. Talking of Sir Ian & David Gower, I think I am right in saying that was the last official international match that they will be commentating on for Sky at Lord’s, prior to retirement. Gentlemen, thank you for your wisdom and knowledge. 

 

Many will return from having offered their torsos to the rays on the beaches of the Cote D’Azur, or Formentor or Rock! It’s back to work to confront the vagaries of BREXIT, the robustness/weaknesses of the U.K. economy, the threat of higher rates in the US probably in December, which will influence the shape of their portfolios and their respective investment agendas. 

 

PM May is back at No: 10 and has already set down part of her policy stall, clearly wanting some action from Messrs Johnson, Davis & Fox, supported by all Cabinet members to come up with a plan for BREXIT and the implementation of Article 50 sooner rather than later. Many found Lord O’Donnell’s rather tiresome comments that negotiations could take 10 years resulting in a watered-down continued membership of the EU, which also seemed to encourage certain parts of the media into thinking  re-renegotiations were a definite option. Does democracy mean nothing to these people? There would be all hell to pay if that assessment by the former Cabinet enforcer transpired! Also until a policy has seen formulated we require no assistance generously offered by Germany and we could do without a basin-full of threats from EU until a policy has been formulated. We also need final resolutions from PM May on Hinckley Point and a new airport runway sooner rather than later.

 

Hedge funds will be having a pop at Sterling in the weeks to come, supposedly not believing for one minute that the worst is over. The recent recovery of Sterling to $1.3250 may be short-lived, as the hob-nailed boot brigade hope to take the rate down to $1.2750 in double quick time. Despite the fact that last week there was some decent economic data particularly GDP and retail activity, industrial production and construction data due next week may show signs of weakness and cynics believe that the current improved performance in these sectors could be short-lived.

 

It was not a great week for global equities as the Yellen syndrome made markets wobble. Coupled with the Dollar’s new found strength, investors seemed encouraged to take a little risk off the table. Last week the S&P eased by 0.83%, the FTSE 100 by 0.30%, and the NIKKEI by 1.12%. European bourses bucked the trend by adding a modest 0.45%. Brent Crude eased by 2.7% on the week and gold shed a score to $1320 an ounce. After a buzzed up speech in Jackson Hole by FED Chairman Yellen’s standard, there is a 53% chance of rates being hiked by 25 basis points in December. I still think one needs a Bletchley Park code book to decipher the FED’s policy. I know I am not the brightest pin in the box, but I am all over the place with FED talk. I think Mrs Yellen implied that the US economy was robust enough to cope with a rate rise. Healthcare stocks hit the buffers on both sides of the Atlantic courtesy of Clinton’s jingoistic rhetoric on iniquitous drug prices. On the Street of Dreams gold stocks in the form of Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining both added a short 4%. In London BAE Systems stood out adding 3.2% on Friday with new MOD and Saudi contracts. See there is life after putting too many eggs in the EU basket! In recent weeks the FTSE has retreated from the 7000 threshold and one suspects that when the market’s ‘spivs & Vagabonds’ return from holiday, they might just test investors’ resolve, though were the £ to come under further pressure Dollar earnings may come in to play. However political uncertainty over BREXIT could play the matinee idol’s role in initially taking markets lower.

 

The Sir Philip Green saga has been fizzing all weekend as the final 22 stores out of the total of 164 BHS outlets finally closed yesterday.  Some employees will get jobs if some of these outlets are bought by other retailers.  However in essence 11000 people are no longer employees of BHS and Mr Chappell and 20,000 pensioners look as though they might not get their full entitlement.

 

I suspect the ‘King of Gowns & Blouses’ and his advisors have spent a bit more time on this £570 million ‘Black Hole’ pensions issue than many give them credit for, despite Sir Philip appearing to never leaves his wonderful new toy parked in the harbour of Monaco, after a few sorties around the Greek islands. You may not care for Sir Philip’s moral approach to BHS’S abject failure and the fact that he may well not have ploughed sufficient money back in to the business to keep it refreshed, but I am very confident he has done nothing wrong legally. We must remember that BHS was a PRIVATE company; therefore Sir Philip and Lady Tina were entitled to pay themselves whatever they felt fit, whilst complying with legal obligations. I am sure he regrets selling BHS to Dominic Chappell, who was, in hindsight a very unsuitable steward of a large retailer. But the £1 for sale sign was up for all to see! It’s not rocket science to realise all was not well in the Marylebone Road and if I may be sold bold as to suggest some of the professional advice was way short of the required standard.

 

The nub of the problem is the pension scheme. The former and current directors of BHS are not responsible for the pension scheme.  That is the responsibility of the trustees and Sir Philip, in his day, was never a trustee. The CEO and directors of a company are responsible to the shareholders and sadly not the pension fund.  The pension shortfall is ONLY a moral issue for Sir Philip & Lady Tina – not a legal obligation – so I am told.  Did the trustees make sufficient noise about the ‘Black Hole?’ No doubt we shall find out. Frank Field, his colleagues and the public can spit blood at Sir Philip’s perceived behaviour. He has already offered £80 million, which has been rejected out of hand. If the rumours are accurate Sir Philip may well come up with an amount around £250-£300 million. I wonder if he will offer that amount in full and final settlement. Legally he is entitled to say – ‘take it or leave it!’ If the powers that be take his knighthood away, so be it.  It will be on moral grounds and the perceived ‘unacceptable face of capitalism’ – not for any legal impropriety.  The pensioners deserve all the sympathy in the world; they have been shabbily treated. However business is a raw science and its dog eat dog out there.  It’s no philanthropic society. On the face of it, the Trustees have much to answer for.  All will be revealed in the next few months.

 

UK companies posting results this week – Tuesday – Bunzl, Petrofac, Nordgold, BATM, Wednesday – Chesnara, James Fisher, Diploma, Grafton Group, HSS Hire, 888 Holdings, Punch Taverns, Thursday – Hays, Stylo International, Friday – Go-Ahead Group

 

US companies posting results this week – Tuesday – Christopher & Banks, Abercrombie & Fitch, Fred’s, H&R Block, Wednesday – Brown-Forman, Chico’s FAS, Thursday – Ford (sales), Ciena, Smith & Wesson

 

Economic data due this week – Monday – US Personal Spending & PCE Price Index, Tuesday – UK money supply, US Consumer Confidence, Wednesday – UK Gfk Consumer Confidence, US ADP employment Index, Thursday – UK PMI manufacturing, US PMI manufacturing & construction spending, Friday – UK PMI Construction Spending, US Trade Balance, US Non-farm payrolls & employment data

 

 

 

David Buik
Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co
+44 (0)20 7886 2775
Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Friday, 26th August 2016

 

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
 

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
 

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.”

 

WH Auden – poet – 1907-1973

 

The Jeremy Corbyn/Owen Smith Circus is an excruciatingly boring saga, even for many Labour party supporters, as the candidates continue to faff about with rule book trivia. Labour are losing credibility by the day.  Despite the fact that BBC/Sky/ITV are obsessed about covering this leadership charade, the sooner 23rd September comes the better.  Government needs a robust opposition and it certainly isn’t getting with these two jesters. Sort yourselves out Labour and produce a plausible candidate to hold the Government to account! This nonsense is unhealthy.

 

BREXIT is now starting to ask many searching questions on the job front – in other words dealing with the manual and care work needed to fill some of the 600,ooo job vacancies  that currently exists, as well as the seasonal work required liking picking hops and potatoes, that are mainly filled by immigrants from Europe.  Many of our unemployed don’t fancy these vacancies or the prospect of manual labour.  There is also a movement of Labour issue – all very frustrating. However in years gone by the young of today – 16 years + used to have holiday jobs, which in my day we all relished.  Today, surely this kind of temporary work would help with painful tuition fees. I would love to know why these jobs are no longer or rarely available to the young of today.

 

Let’s start off with some great news, particularly as the “Doubting Thomases’ in the media hardly give the news set out below major bold headlines and the “REMAIN” cognoscente seem reluctant to discuss its merits –

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders announced yesterday that July UK car production continues growth with over one million cars already built this year! WOW! July marks 12th consecutive month of growth for UK car makers, with output up 7.6% to 126,566 units. 1,023,723 cars produced in the year-to-date, the first time the 1m milestone reached in July since 2004. Double digit growth for home and export markers in first seven months as new models drive global demand. All I can say is – ‘Oh Ye of little faith!’ The UK still remains the number 2 car assembly country behind Germany.  What an effort! No one doubts for a minute that there will be pitfalls as the UK negotiates its way out of the EU.  The new trade agreements are likely to offer significant challenges, starting with the diplomatic skills of Messrs Johnson Davis and Fox, who seem to have been remarkably somnolent in the past two months. Had I been in charge I would have been flat to the boards looking for negotiators from across the globe. Maybe these august ministers have been hard at work on these issues.

 

Sports Direct’s chairman Keith Helliwell and CEO Mike Ashley really have been under the cosh. Yesterday a major shareholder – L&G – together with the Investor Forum, which has £14.5 trillion of investments have lambasted this retail titan for further very poor corporate governance. The latter believes that Sports Direct should conduct a thorough independent review. Chairman Helliwell has been accused three times by L&G for its unacceptable stance to dealing with its staff. The unacceptable behaviour includes the following –

 

“Six strikes and you are out” policy – with strikes given to employees if they spend too long in the lavatory, take a break for a drink of water or time off when children are unwell

 

Shop staff asked to clock out early so wages aren’t over budget despite being asked to work overtime

 

Paying warehouse staff below the national minimum wage as a result of bottle-necks in search queues.

110 ambulance or paramedic call outs to Sports Direct’s warehouse in Shirebrook with 50 classified as “life threatening” and one woman giving birth in the toilet

 

Temporary staff promised permanent employment contracts in exchange for sexual favours

 

A year ago Sports Direct shares stood at 765p and today they stand at 305p (-1.53% yesterday).  Not only has the company had corporate governance issues but it has also posted a profits warning a few months ago.  Mr Ashley should not be underestimated.  It would not surprise me if this operation went private again or share ‘buy-backs’ were implemented, if pertinent, to give him greater control, despite already owning 61%! 80% of Sports Direct workers are on ‘zero hour’ contracts.

Yesterday London enjoyed a rather rudderless session as it headed towards the Bank holiday.  There was also the obsession with the Jackson Hole meeting of Central bankers who will all have arrived with their own copy of a Bletchley Park code book to dazzle monosyllabic congenital idiots like me with their economic science. I suppose a rate hike in the US in December is on the cards.  Drug companies in concert with those in the UK were under pressure due to jingoistic comments made by Hillary Clinton on the cost of drugs and patents. She has been on this crusade since President Bill took office in 1992! She has a real chance of bringing change on that front if she makes to Pennsylvania Avenue in November. ITV closed the door finally on Entertainment One and dear Old Peppa Pig!  The FTSE 100 eased by 18 points to 6816.

The session in New York yesterday was just as uninteresting with the DOW, S&P 500 and the NASDAQ all closing just below the Plimsoll line. Most healthcare companies shed about 1% in value.  In Asia, the session was mixed. The ASX closed down 0.43% with the NIKEI down 0.99%, thanks to fall in consumer prices. China was having a more cheerful time of it – just after lunch the Shanghai Composite was up 0.27% and the Hang Seng was 0.34% to the good.  The FTSE 100 is expected to open up relatively flat.

 

·

UK companies posting results this week – Friday – Restaurant Group, Lavendon Group, Marshalls, Computacenter

 

US companies posting interim results this week – Friday – Big Lots

 

Economic data being posted this week – UK 2nd quarter GDP estimate. 

 

 

David Buik
Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co
+44 (0)20 7886 2775
Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom

 

THE MINING SECTOR – MIRACULOUS RECOVERY FROM A TRASHED POSITION – BUT HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN!

THE MINING SECTOR – MIRACULOUS RECOVERY, BUT HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN!

Company 20/1/16 23/08/16 % increase
BHP Billiton 581p 1072p 84.5%
Rio Tinto 1577p 2438p 54.6%
Ango-American 221p 867p 292.6%
Glencore 82p 189p 130.4%
Antofagasta 346p 554p 31.2%
Kaz Minerals 92p 195p 111.9%
Vedanta Resources 213p 537p 152.1%
Randgold Resources 4416p 8035p 81.8%
Fresnillio 641p 1835p 186%
Evraz 59.5p 140.6p 136.3%
DiamondCorp 5.6p 6.75p 20.5%
Gem Diamonds 98p 121p 23.4%
Lonmin 36.75p 222.75p 506.1%

 

 

Many of you will recall that markets were in the depths of despair in January last year with oil looking cheap and the demand for commodities and resources by China having all but dried up.  You couldn’t give mining stocks away. Just as an example at their zenith a few years ago Rio stood at £60 in 2008, BHP Billiton stood at £18 a share in 2008 and £23 in 2011 and Anglo American at £35 in 2008 and £33 in 2011.

 

The recovery from a very ‘trashed’ position has been both gargantuan and miraculous. Is there more gravy to be had! I am not one to answer that question, but I know a man who is!  I will ask Kieron Hodgson, our celebrated mining analysts to write a small piece on this subject when he returns from holiday.

 

TODAY’S FAYRE

  TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday 24th August 2016

 

Of course I was drugged, and so heavily I did not regain

consciousness until the next morning. I was horrified to

discover that I had been ruined, and for some days I was inconsolable,

and cried like a child to be killed or sent back to my aunt.”

 

–Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor

 

Even so distant, I can taste the grief,

Bitter and sharp with stalks, he made you gulp.

The sun’s occasional print, the brisk brief

Worry of wheels along the street outside

Where bridal London bows the other way,

And light, unanswerable and tall and wide,

Forbids the scar to heal, and drives

Shame out of hiding. All the unhurried day,

Your mind lay open like a drawer of knives.

 

Slums, years, have buried you. I would not dare

Console you if I could. What can be said,

Except that suffering is exact, but where

Desire takes charge, readings will grow erratic?

For you would hardly care

That you were less deceived, out on that bed,

Than he was, stumbling up the breathless stair

To burst into fulfilment’s desolate attic.”      Philip Larkin – poet – 1922-1985

 

 

 

On that desperate tone of Philip Larkin’s poem, I give you Marine Le Pen. That comment will set the cat amongst the pigeons of some of those who occasionally flip through these missives!

 

Mme Le Pen may be her father’s daughter in terms of blood but she is very much her own person. In recent years she has removed the bile and hatred from her party ‘Front National’ and given it respect in spades. Make no mistake she is in with more than a squeak of becoming France’s very first Lady at next spring’s French Presidential election. Those who think the EU is strong and that the UK’s exit is a ‘one-off’, I advise you to think again!

 

I read in the Times this morning that Lord Hague the former foreign secretary, has joined a BREXIT lobby-group and will be joined by Lord Davies, the former trade minister, and Sir Michael Rake, the former CBI and BT chairman. Certainly in the case of Lord Davies and Sir Mike Rake they are fierce ‘REMAIN’ acolytes and I would be fearful of a less than positive approach by them, in helping business and commerce with a smooth transition away from the EU.

 

Thank goodness PM May is back from her Swiss holiday. Perhaps we can get down to some serious politics rather than day-in-day-out concerning ourselves with the excruciatingly boring antics of the Jeremy Corbyn circus, which rides in and out of every town with monotonous regularity, rallying the left to the cause whilst adding fuel on to the fire of every public sector dispute. It’s not as if he has anything interesting to say. And as for that train journey…..?

 

I know it is only Wednesday, but already it seems like a very long week with temperatures too high to be wearing a ‘whistle & flute’ when trading volumes are marginally better than derisory. Nonetheless the M&A bandwagon has more than just rolled in to town in terms of the large pharma and chemical deals and there may be a slew of deals of this nature to consider, once holiday makers return to focus on the real world. Yesterday the FTSE 100 added 39 points to 6868 with the rally down to decent numbers from Persimmon (+4.2%), which gave the whole house building sector some momentum, thus removing some ridiculously over-played BREXIT venom from the tiresome on-going debate. Some mining stocks popped their heads above the parapet with BHP enjoying some solace in adding a smidgen short of 4.5%.

 

 

There was a 0.3% increase in growth in supermarket business in the 3 months to 14th August 2016. However it was Lidl and Aldi that seem to have done the best in this period with sales increasing by 12.2% and 10.4% respectively, as they wage war for market share. Tesco’s sales eased by 0.4%, Sainsbury’s by 0.6%, and Morrison’s by 1.8%. There was clearly an Olympic feel good factor as soft drinks and mineral water sales were up 18.5%. There has been no food inflation for the best part of 2 years. The drop in the value of the pound may address that problem but supermarkets are unlikely to benefit much before Christmas and with the price war continuing to rage, how much benefit will be felt may be negligible. The TV media concerned itself with the growing concern over discrepancy over pay between men and women. Some official data from the IFS suggests that women’s hourly rate has fallen by 33% behind men over the past 12 years. With part time employment conditions varying enormously, sadly there is no immediate answer to this issue, which smacks of discrimination – an allegation that would be hotly denied.

 

The Street of Dreams kept its head above water ahead of the Central banks Jackson Hole meeting this coming Friday. Everyone waits for bated breath on news of a rate hike this year. I have been known to have a tilt at the ring and my guess is that we will be none the wiser as Janet Yellen’s FED board continues to ruminate and dance with forward guidance! Material stocks put in some eye catching performance as did the results from Best Buy which beat the street’s expectations and saw it shares fly by 19%! Tech stocks did OK yesterday with a nibble or two for Apple and Cisco. In Asia markets were fairly nondescript in terms of activity. China seems to have a monkey on its back – Shanghai -0.1% and the Hang Seng -1.2% just after lunch. The ASX closed up 0.1% and the NIKKEI by 0.6%.

 

 

There were some interesting company results this morning with WPP leading the way. Sir Martin’s outlook was cautiously optimistic and WPP’S share rose by 3% at 8.30am. Paddy Power Betfair and WH Smith also pleased their acolytes. In the case of WH Smith these shares have rallied by 300% in the last 5 years – a great complement to Kate Swann and the current CEO Stephen Clarke, who have downsized the business just leaving stock on the shelves that folk want to buy! Though Glencore’s results were solid, it will come as no surprise that the shares were off 2%. After all these shares have rallied by 172% since 28th September 2015!

 

UK companies posting results this week – Wednesday – Xaar, Costain, Carillion, Hikma Pharmaceutical, Paddy Power Betfair, Glencore, OneSavings Bank, WH Smith, Thursday – STV Group, John Laing Group, PlayTech, Jimmy Choo’s, Friday – Restaurant Group, Lavendon Group, Marshalls, Computacenter

 US companies posting interim results this week – Wednesday – Williams Sanoma, Thursday – Dollar Tree, Tiffany’s, Sears Holdings, Autodesk, Friday – Big Lots

  Economic data being posted this week – Wednesday – CBI Realised sales, US GDP, Thursday – US initial Jobless Claims, Germany’s IFO, Friday – UK 2nd quarter GDP estimate 

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

+44 (0)20 7886 2775Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom

TODAY’S FAYRE

  TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday 23rd August 2016

 

“That was a pretty one,

I heard you call

From the unsatisfactory hall

To the unsatisfactory room where

I Played record after record, idly,

Wasting my time at home, that you

Looked so much forward to.

 

Oliver’s Riverside Blues, it was.

And now I shall,

I suppose, always remember how

The flock of notes those antique negroes blew

Out of Chicago air into

A huge remembering pre-electric horn

The year after I was born

Three decades later made this sudden bridge

From your unsatisfactory age

To my unsatisfactory prime.

 

Truly, though our element is time,

We are not suited to the long perspectives

Open at each instant of our lives.

They link us to our losses: worse,

They show us what we have as it once was,

Blindingly undiminished, just as though

By acting differently, we could have kept it so.”

 

      Philip Larkin – poet – 1922-1985    

 

“I know not what others may choose, but, as for me, give me liberty or give me death! I know of no way of judging the future but by the past. For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and to provide for it!” – Patrick Henry – US attorney & politician – 1736-1799

 

Matteo Renzi, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande looked resplendent in the hazy Italian sunshine standing ‘four-square’ together on a tiny island off Naples yesterday in their quest to unite the EU into deeper and controlled federalism. We wish them well and a bright future. The threat of Federalism is one of the major reasons 17 million people voted to leave the EU in June. If these august national leaders want their dream to come true, they must change their stance and adopt agreed Eurozone policies and not the EU. There is a very distinct difference.

 

I have received some stick, probably deserved, on twitter in suggesting that Manchester City’s manager, Pep Guardiola had been impatient with Joe Hart, England’s goal keeper. It was pointed out to me very succinctly that no less than three managers – Mancini, Pellegrini and Guardiola had found fault with Hart’s technique! Managers of that quality cannot all be wrong!

 

Though yesterday was a day of reflection, holiday torpor with a high degree of trader inertia, there was plenty of corporate news to keep market practitioners not only amused but very much on their toes, particularly the M&A arena with drugs and food to the fore.

 

Dealing with the far-east first, ChemChina agreed to pay $43 billion for Syngenta. Surprisingly the CFIUS nodded their approval for this marriage with almost indecent haste. Shares in both companies were very volatile. Initially the market felt the deal might meet with resistance from the regulator and the Syngenta shares fell sharply but after the necessary support they rallied by 12%. ChinaChem is not unfamiliar with European acquisitions and it also own Pirelli and Karuss Muffei. This is the second large chemical deal that markets have been confronted with. We await the outcome of the proposed acquisition of Monsanto by Germany’s Bayer – a regulatory minefield. These deals follow in the wake of the $150 billion merger between DuPont and DOW Chemical.

 

Eighteen months ago Pfizer, the world’s largest drug, pharmaceutical and health mogul tried to buy Astra Zeneca for, I think, £55 billion. It failed due to concerns from the Obama administration that the deal was a tax scam, the energetic defensive initiatives of Astra CEO Pascal Soriot and protectionism from Sir Vince Cable. Then the proposed acquisition by Pfizer of Allergan (Botox) in a $150 billion deal fell down. Medivation, a more digestible morsel at $14 billion, announced over the weekend seems likely to go through. Drug pipelines remain an acute problem, with patents running out with indecent haste and the demands for cures increasing in a very competitive environment exacerbated by people living longer. So we expect that there will be plenty of deals of this nature with every biotech which has a chance of success looking vulnerable. Pfizer are paying a 21% premium for Medivation to secure their prostate cancer drug Xtandi. $80 billion are spent every year on cancer drugs and this figure increases by 10% every year.

 

VW problems just won’t go away with CarTrim, a seat maker for the Golf and Passat and ES Automobilguss (gear box accessories) feeling that VW’s emissions misdemeanour has cost them money; hence they are holding up production for these cars mainly in Wolfsburg, where 27,000 workers are affected. Compensation for loss of earnings is being sought.

 

Roll on September – the name tags in the school uniforms, back to work and focus on the real economic, corporate and political issues of the day. In terms of market activity we seem to have been drifting aimlessly for some time. Yesterday the FTSE closed down 30 points to 6828 – down about 2% from its recent high. Yesterday it was the mining sector that took a bit of a hit on the back of the Dollar easing, oil falling 3% and commodity prices drifting. The likes of Fresnillo, Randgold and Glencore suffered the most falling by between 3% and 6.5%. This is but a mere bagatelle when one considers the likes of Anglo American have added 400% since January, Randgold has doubled in price in a year, with Fresnillo up 300% in the past year and Glencore 250% since January 2016. These temporary blips are entirely understandable.

 

Activity on the Street of Dreams yesterday was almost as uninteresting as its peers in Europe with the DOW closing down 0.12% and the S&P 500 by just a smidgen down 0.06%. The NASDAQ finished just above the Plimsoll line – +0.12%. But for the frenetic M&A activity Walls Street might have been struggling for news. However I suppose it has the prospect of shifting through Janet Yellen’s tea leaves and those of other Central banks after speeches in Jackson Hole Wyoming on when the US will hike rates again this year. I say hike – 25 basis points sometime between now and Christmas. Asia was positively sepulchral – ASX had a little life about it and it closed up 0.7% with the NIKKEI easing by 0.6%. Just after lunch the Shanghai Composite was up 0.16% and the Hang Seng was down 0.16%.

Rank Group posted decent numbers despite failing with 888 Holdings to acquire William Hill. Persimmon’s figures were very encouraging post BREXIT with viewings up 17% and sales up 20%. The FTSE was up 36 points at 6864 at 8.40am

 

Neil Woodford, one of the UK’s most respected investors has scrapped bonuses at his firm, arguing that they are “largely ineffective” in boosting performance. His firm’s 35 staff will get a rise in basic pay and benefits as compensation. Mr Woodford, whose firm has £14bn under management, built a reputation as star stock-picker at Invesco Perpetual. I doubt this move will be a catalyst for other fund managers, many employing numerically more people. However his policy is the correct one, discouraging managers from taking undue risks.

 

UK companies posting results this week – Tuesday – Rank Group, Persimmon, Kier, Wednesday – Xaar, Costain, Carillion, Hikma Pharmaceutical, Paddy Power Betfair, Glencore, OneSavings Bank, WH Smith, Thursday – STV Group, John Laing Group, PlayTech, Jimmy Choo’s, Friday – Restaurant Group, Lavendon Group, Marshalls, Computacenter   US companies posting interim results this week – Tuesday – Toll Bros, Best Buy, La-Z-Boy, Wednesday – Williams Sanoma, Thursday – Dollar Tree, Tiffany’s, Sears Holdings, Autodesk, Friday – Big Lots

  Economic data being posted this week – Tuesday – BBA Mortgage approvals, US New Home Sales, Wednesday – CBI Realised sales, US GDP, Thursday – US initial Jobless Claims, Germany’s IFO, Friday – UK 2nd quarter GDP estimate. 

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

+44 (0)20 7886 2775Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Sunday 21st August 2016

 

“I remember, I remember

The house where I was born

The little window where the sun

Came peeping in at morn;

He never came a wink too soon,

Nor brought too long a day:

But now, I often wish the night

Had borne my breath away.

 

I remember, I remember

The roses, red and white,

The violets, and the lily-cups –

Those flowers made of light!

The lilacs where the robin built,

And where my brother set

The laburnum on his birthday,-

The tree is living yet!

 

I remember, I remember

Where I was used to swing,

And thought the air must rush as fresh

To swallows on the wing;

My spirit flew in feathers then

That is so heavy now,

And summer pools could hardly cool

The fever on my brow.

 

I remember, I remember

The fir trees dark and high;

I used to think their slender tops

Were close against the sky:

It was a childish ignorance;

But now ‘tis little joy

To know I’m farther off from heaven

Than when I was a boy.”

 

 

Thomas Hood – poet – 1789-1845

 

This week the Cadogan Hall produced the most riveting and enjoyable concert, celebrating the life and work of possibly the greatest composer of musicals of all time – Richard Rodgers.  In his life – 1902-1979 – Rodgers wrote 900 song scores and in conjunction mainly with Lorenz Hart (1895-1943) and Oscar Hammerstein (1895-1960) they were responsible for 42 musicals. Many of the famous songs were sung by Lesley Garrett, Michael Xavier, Ruthie Henshall and Gary Wilmot from so many classical shows including ‘Oklahoma!’, ‘Carousel’, ‘South Pacific’, ‘The King and I’, ‘Pal Joey’ and ‘The Sound of Music.’ – ‘Oh! What a beautiful Morning!’, ‘The Lady is a Tramp’, ‘My Funny Valentine’, ‘Some Enchanted Evening’, ‘The Hills are Alive’ and ‘Shall We Dance’ to name but a few.

 

 

Admittedly most of the audience were older than God, but they were ‘rocking’ as best they could, bless us!  If there is a more emotional song than ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone!’ I have yet to hear it! – Not a dry eye in the house! Also ask Liverpool FC – they still bask in it after 50 years of singing it on the Kop and other parts of Anfield! 

 

 

With Farah, Heath and Adams all winning gold yesterday and in the small hours, GB’s medal tally has eclipsed its record in London 2016 – 66!  What an incredible achievement! The abiding memory of double Olympic champions in Murray, Farah and Adams plus the achievements in rowing, gymnastics and Hockey will be talked about for years to come. And as for Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps – just brilliant icons, the like of which we will be very lucky to see again.

 

 

Last week global equity markets ran out of steam mainly due to a lack of corporate news, the mesmeric intensity of the August holiday period, which seems to send the populous into some sort of timeless torpor and a complex and not very well explained view that PM May’s reluctance to provide a date to implement Article 50 has exacerbated the level of uncertainty. I am sure about the latter but if you are an acolyte of the FT it fits in with their philosophy.  In the past five days the FTSE has lost 0.82%, the S&P on the Street of Dreams was almost flat with Euro bourses averaging a drop of 1.63%. The Nikkei lightened up by 2.1% mainly due to a strong Yen, which blunts Japan’s ability to export competitively. In the last month oil has added 20% in value to $50 and change.  The Greenback has regained some poise in the last few days and bond yields, particularly US Treasuries have ticked up a few pips. Gold added $7 last week to $1342 an ounce.

 

As has so often been discussed one swallow does not make a summer in terms of economic data. Certainly the UK’S employment data was very encouraging though it did emanate from the months before BREXIT with unemployment probably up to 5.1% in June despite the average for the last quarter being consistent at 4.9%. However it appears unlikely that any rise in unemployment will be very severe and on the face of it, recession can be ruled out for the time being. Inflation blipped to 0.6%, though 2% is unlikely to be attuned until early 2017. The UK’S seems to be spending its way out of trouble with Retail Sales rebounding in July by 1.4% as against -0.9% in June, with all sectors showing increases. Over the past 3 months supermarket volumes have dropped, with Aldi and Lidl still on the rampage to gain greater market share (sales up in double digits). On Friday public sector borrowing requirement for last month had fallen by £3 billion – not sensational news but better than nothing. Don’t be surprised if many economists change their very bearish outlook for the UK’s economy by upgrading 2016 to 1.6% and 2017 to 1%! – Not great, but better than the establishment would have us believe.

 

Forlorn members of the media still devastated by the electorate decision to leave the EU, are reluctant to acknowledge that there is life after death. Few doubt that it is going to be tough, but in the long term it cannot be any worse that being associated with an undemocratic and federal amorphous. The good people of Holland and Italy have already had their cage rattled and for two pins they would probably head for the exit. Many in Germany & France are now becoming increasingly disenchanted with the intransigence of the EU. Markets are still desperately concerned about the health of European banks.  Rumours about that the ECB may introduce further stimulus packages in the autumn. Frankly the capital shortfall – purported to be E300 billion should be dealt with NOW!

 

The fact that the Pound has fallen by about 14% may start to stimulate overseas predators’ taste buds. The idea that commercial property activity might improve in the autumn is far from fanciful, if one takes in to account the drop in property values in recent weeks. Many are also expecting M&A activity to rise from its summer slumber and inertia.  BT appears to be possible prey and operations such as IHG could become vulnerable. Some also believe that easyJet could be susceptible to a bid as well.  Rank/888 Holdings failed in their quest to land William Hill for £3.8 billion, but its stall has been set out. ITV it is rumoured may up the ante in its quest to land Eone and its star brand – Peppa Pig

 

Wall Street saw a fair few retail operators report results last week, with mixed reactions. Target seemed way off beam with sales in electronic items falling sharply – down 20% with Apple items suffering quite badly.  The shares eased by 7%.  Gap saw sales down by 2%, but investors were happy with the outlook, taking its shares up by 3.9%. Conversely Foot Locker rallied by 11% on Friday and earlier in the week Urban Outfitters pleased their acolytes – +2.8%. As for the ‘Big Daddy’ of them all – Walmart – sales were up 1.6% in the last quarter, with reported net income rising to $3.8 billion, up 8.6% from $3.5 billion in the comparable quarter. Earnings of $1.21 per share blew past estimates of $1.02. However in the same breath CEO Doug McMillon revealed that like-for-like sales in ASDA stores open for more than one year fell by 7.5 per cent for the three months to the end of June. That’s worse than the 5.7 per cent decline reported for the three months ending in March. CEO Andy Clarke was recently relieved of his duties and his successor Sean Clarke brought over from China has a gargantuan task on his hands to pull this operation round against such fierce cost cutting competition.  

 

As for activity in London, Kingfisher’s efforts shone through the gloom with sales up in the UK. Kaz Minerals and Antofagasta were the flag bearers for the mining sector and on Thursday Admiral, the car insurer blamed the uncertainty of BREXIT on its indifferent results – shares were down 7%. The Cooperative Bank saw losses cut to £177 million for the last trading session.  However Niall Booker’s successor as CEO has a Herculean task on his hand. 54 branches will be closed and despite the loss executive pay went up!

 

UK companies posting results this week – Monday – Wireless Group, Lombard Medical, Tuesday – Rank Group, Persimmon, Wednesday – Xaar, Costain, Carillion, Hikma Pharmaceutical, Paddy Power Betfair, Glencore, WH Smith, OneSavings Bank, WH Smith, Thursday STV Group, John Laing Group, PlayTech, Jimmy Choo’s, Friday – Restaurant Group, Lavendon Group, Marshalls, Computacenter

 

US companies posting interim results this week – Monday Zynex. Zoe’s Kitchen, Tuesday – Toll Bros, Best Buy, La-Z-Boy, Wednesday – Williams Sanoma, Thursday – Dollar Tree, Tiffany’s, Sears Holdings, Autodesk, Friday – Big Lots

 

Economic data being posted this week – Monday – UK Consumer Confidence, Tuesday – BBA Mortgage approvals, US New Home Sales, Wednesday – CBI Realised sales, US GDP, Thursday – US initial Jobless Claims, Germany’s IFO, Friday – UK 2nd quarter GDP estimate. 

 

 

David Buik
Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co
+44 (0)20 7886 2775
Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom

TODAY’S FAYRE

  TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday 18th August 2016

 

Those long uneven lines

Standing as patiently

As if they were stretched outside

The Oval or Villa Park,

The crowns of hats, the sun

On moustached archaic faces

Grinning as if it were all

An August Bank Holiday lark;

 

And the shut shops, the bleached

Established names on the sunblinds,

The farthings and sovereigns,

And dark-clothed children at play

Called after kings and queens,

The tin advertisements

For cocoa and twist, and the pubs

Wide open all day;

 

And the countryside not caring:

The place-names all hazed over

With flowering grasses, and fields

Shadowing Domesday lines

Under wheat’s restless silence;

The differently-dressed servants

With tiny rooms in huge houses,

The dust behind limousines;

 

Never such innocence,

Never before or since,

As changed itself to past

Without a word—the men

Leaving the gardens tidy,

The thousands of marriages

Lasting a little while longer:

Never such innocence again.”

 

Philip Larkin – poet – 1922-1985

 

Didn’t you love the pictures in today’s newspapers of the scowling Sir Philip Green, whose holiday was interrupted by Sky News on the island of Ithaca? Despite the warmth of the sun and glow which can emanate from Ouzo, there was little sign that the King of Gowns & Blouses had forgotten his full vocabulary of Anglo-Saxon terminology!

 

It would have been great to have spent the day at the Ebor meeting on the Knavesmire in York yesterday. The weather was glorious. The Yorkshire ladies were out in force dressed to kill in all their finery. The racing was top class and I would love to have witnessed ‘Postponed’ win a shade cosily by a length and a mumble from ‘Highland Reel’. He looks a very useful tool, having won the Juddemonte over a mile and 2 furlongs, when his ideal trip is a mile and a half. Let’s hope Roger Varian can keep him sweet for a tilt at the ‘Arc’ in October; if not one of those big turf races at the Breeder’s Cup or both!

 

In early skirmishes, yesterday, it appeared that US equity markets might be inclined to shed about half a per-cent in value. However the rather benign minutes of the FOMC steadied the ship, with stocks finishing just above the Plimsoll line – DOW +0.12%, S&P +0.19%, NASDAQ +0.03%. The Fed, though keen to implement another rate rise this year, assuming the data supports its intention, the minutes of yesterday’s FOMC indicate that the next US rate hike will be delayed. Prevarication seems to be the by-word! In a relatively inauspicious session Target posted their interim results. They were not well received when it was announced that its profit forecast was being cut with sales of electrical goods faltering. Apple products performed particularly badly with sales down by 20%! Shares were down 6.45%. Today the great God ‘Walmart’ posts its numbers. Walmart shares have enjoyed a decent little pop in the last 3 months – up from $62 to $72 (+16%). This move suggests hopes for a decent result are high. Cisco Systems served notice to bin 5,500 jobs, sending shares 1.3% lower.

 

Some of you who may from time to time read this drivel will recall that yesterday I covered the relatively bland machinations of the FTSE with the exception of Admiral. This car insurance titan rather surprisingly chose market volatility as a result of BREXIT as the reason for missing their sales and profits target. The market was underwhelmed and took the stock down by 7.7% – very unforgiving reaction! From the small caps Indivior, an emerging pharma bounced out of the traps adding 8.8%.

 

On the domestic front, many like me were pleased that the employment data posted yesterday offered hope, even though the monthly unemployment rate increased monthly – April 4.8%, May 4.9% and June 5.1%! It was also interesting that house prices had been more adversely affected in areas of the UK that voted to ‘REMAIN!’ However consumer and business sentiment has started to improve in the last month. Let’s hope retail sales posted at 9.30am don’t prick the balloon of hope. I sincerely hope that when the beautiful, bronzed, lithe, lissome and gazelle-like beautiful people return from their holiday, they put their shoulder to the wheel and stop whining! BREXIT is done! Make it a success!

 

In Asia the session was mixed. The ASX closed down 0.5% and the NIKKEI was easier by 1.5%. The Shanghai Composite traded much of the session in positive territory and the started to wilt – down -0.2% at the time of writing. The Hang Seng was up 1.7% in the morning but towards the close it was only +0.8% to the good. Interest in trading started to flag.

 

There were some interesting results this morning. Kingfisher posted a 3% like for like increase in sales. Sales were substantially better in the UK with Screwfix at the centre of its success, than there were in France. Kingfisher has bought back £150 million of shares. The share price dipped by 1.5%, but is only down 0.11% at the time of writing. The shares have risen 14% in 5 weeks. Tullow Oil confirmed that its Ghana operation is starting to produce oil and 23k barrels a day is expected. Tullow’s shares are up about 30% in recent weeks, admittedly from a trashed level. The company is quite heavily indebted so don’t expect too much more in the tank until production selects another gear. Kaz Minerals benefitted from currency vagaries and the shares popped 8.5%.

 

UK companies posting results this week – Thursday – Evraz, Rank Organisation, Kaz Minerals, Premier Oil, Kingfisher

US companies posting interim results this week –Thursday – Walmart, Hormel Foods, Applied Materials, America’s Car-Mart, Ross Stores, Gap, Friday – Foot Locker

Economic data being posted this week –  Thursday – UK retail sales, US Initial Jobless Claims, US Phili-Fed, Friday – UK Public Sector Borrowing  

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

+44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom

MARKET UPDATE

Apart from yesterday and today, the FTSE 100 has been creeping up a few points every day for the preceding week. Investors have been buying on yield! Yesterday and today we have seen profit takers, as there is a feeling in some quarters that the FTSE 100 looks rich enough in terms of value. With no really positive news out there, apart from satisfactory employment data, which was of little consequence, getting the ‘buying boots on’ seemed a pointless exercise. At 2.55pm the FTSE 100 had fallen 37 points to 6856 with the DAX falling 1.5% and the CAC 0.8%. New York looks as though it will shed about 0.5% at the opening.

 

Though Brent Crude is flirting with $50 a barrel ($49.40), B’S performance today has been underwhelming – down 0.9% and Shell ‘B’ easier by 0.3%. Laird and Hochschild, the latter after a decent rally, are both down 6% today. Generalising small cap companies are holding up well.

 

BT is the stand out stock today, with punters not wanting to be ‘short’ unless there is some substance to the idle gossip over the telecom titan being a takeover target, which is currently doing the rounds – +2%. Drugs are flat (GSK) and Astra is down a parsimonious 0.5%. Tesco -1% and M&S -0.5% – two obvious bear stocks seem to be suffering from post-prandial neurosis. Mining stocks were on the back foot – Glencore down 4% and Rio down 2%. Some of the banks are still not on good terms with themselves – Standard Chartered -3% after a terrific recent run on the rails. Barclays is down 1.5%. Markets are likely to drift aimlessly until fond farewells have been paid to the Costa Del Crime of Chelsea by the Sea alias Burnham Market with punters and management returning to their desks in earnest.