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
Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co
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