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
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