Monthly Archives: November 2016

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Monday 28th November 2016

 

“There’s a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There’s a little marble cross below the town;
There’s a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.

He was known as “Mad Carew” by the subs at Khatmandu,
He was hotter than they felt inclined to tell;
But for all his foolish pranks, he was worshipped in the ranks,
And the Colonel’s daughter smiled on him as well.

He had loved her all along, with a passion of the strong,
The fact that she loved him was plain to all.
She was nearly twenty-one and arrangements had begun
To celebrate her birthday with a ball.

He wrote to ask what present she would like from Mad Carew;
They met next day as he dismissed a squad;
And jestingly she told him then that nothing else would do
But the green eye of the little Yellow God.

On the night before the dance, Mad Carew seemed in a trance,
And they chaffed him as they puffed at their cigars:
But for once he failed to smile, and he sat alone awhile,
Then went out into the night beneath the stars.

He returned before the dawn, with his shirt and tunic torn,
And a gash across his temple dripping red;
He was patched up right away, and he slept through all the day,
And the Colonel’s daughter watched beside his bed.

He woke at last and asked if they could send his tunic through;
She brought it, and he thanked her with a nod;
He bade her search the pocket saying “That’s from Mad Carew,”
And she found the little green eye of the god.

She upbraided poor Carew in the way that women do,
Though both her eyes were strangely hot and wet;
But she wouldn’t take the stone and Mad Carew was left alone
With the jewel that he’d chanced his life to get.

When the ball was at its height, on that still and tropic night,
She thought of him and hurried to his room;
As she crossed the barrack square she could hear the dreamy air
Of a waltz tune softly stealing thro’ the gloom.

His door was open wide, with silver moonlight shining through;
The place was wet and slipp’ry where she trod;
An ugly knife lay buried in the heart of Mad Carew,
‘Twas the “Vengeance of the Little Yellow God.”

There’s a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There’s a little marble cross below the town;
There’s a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.”

 

 

John Milton Hayes – poet – 1884-1940

 

 

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney is skating on VERY thin ice once again – central banking or BREXIT politics? Which is it? We know Mr Carney has a duty of care for the health of the economy and it is very sensible to have contingency plans.  However everyone is also aware that he has been speaking to sympathetic ‘REMAIN’ investment bankers at Chatham House and senior finance directors from high Street operators with a view to having a reasonable transitional period post BREXIT whilst remaining in the single market until 2020/21. However by accommodating the wishes of many in the business sector, he assumes that his ideas and plans will be met with 100% universal support in the country! This surely cannot and won’t be the case. When speaking to these august bodies clearly Chatham House rules were not observed.  The concern or comment has been expressed in every newspaper.

With Lord Kerr making his views quite clear that BREXIT voters were too bloody stupid to be given the responsibility and Sir John Major’s comments, which by his diplomatic standards were injudicious – 48% of the electorate should not be subject to the “tyranny of the majority!” – The temperature is being raised to uncomfortable levels, almost on a daily basis. Sir John’s choice of language was too inflammatory, bordering on offensive.  It is fair to say that BREXIT voters were hardly magnanimous in victory, in perhaps showing a lack of compassion and sensitivity in accommodating all views. Consequently the response in many areas has been acrid and bitter.  However with Messrs Blair, Major, Branson, Clegg, Farron, the CBI, the City of London Corporation and Gina Miller all stirring the pot of discontent with the largest wooden spoons imaginable with a view to disrupting – if not delaying – the decision taken on 23rd June, Governor Carney needs to make sure that he does not convey again the impression that he is a ‘REMAIN’ supporter. I am confident he would deny it, but that is impression he is conveying to many observers. Mr Carney should be totally transparent over his contingency plans to avoid to falling in to the pit of politics. We would all love to hear them.

Those representing the financial sector seem to be cowering the corner worrying that the great god “EU” is going to consume the UK. It will only happen if that is what the authorities want.  We have 70 years of financial infrastructure here in London.  It would take Paris and Frankfurt a decade to build anything remotely competitive. Also people love living and doing business in London.  We are being bullied over passports. This is silly. I am all for not being confrontational and negotiating amicable arrangements over trade and the financial services with the EU.  However if EU bureaucrats want to be truculent and declare war then the UK must stand strong.  We can ease regulation and taxation for a start. We need to show fortitude in the face of adversity.

 I AM ON HOLIDAY THIS WEEK

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

 

David Buik]]6

Market Commentator

 

D +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Panmure Gordon & Co 
One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom
www.panmure.com

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TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Friday 25th November 2016

 

 

Oh, when I was above myself

I was a curious pair;

My lower feet still walked the street,

My uppers trod on air.

Said folk ‘You must come down  a peg,

We know not where you stand’;

So reaching up I pulled my leg

And took myself in hand.

 

Oh, when I was beside myself

I doubled through the town

And sober men who saw me then

Crept home and laid them down.

But all the neighbours raised a groan

To view my brace of chins;

Said folk ’We love you best alone;

You’re just a mess as twins.’

 

And now I march in twos no more;

I keep myself inside,

And Jekyll rests as heretofore

Imprisoned in his Hyde

Yet when they read this little rhyme

I know what folk will say:

They will most surely say that I’m

Below myself today.”

 

MH. Longson.

 

 

Last night I heard a clip from Sky’s “THE PLEDGE.” Greg Dyke was telling LBC’S Nick Ferrari that though he was no fan of Tony Blair, he could see that there was a role for him to play in disrupting BREXIT.  Both agreed that in his day he was a political force to be reckoned with. I think the last statement is correct but a ‘ROLE TO PLAY?’ Surely not?  Mr Blair is surely considered to be toxic amongst Labour party members and supporters. Earlier this week Mr Blair announced the fact that he felt “REMAINERS” were insurgent and he exhorted them to fight back against leaving the EU. Mr Blair argued that there must be a parliamentary vote, an election or a second referendum on the final EU deal. That old ‘wooden spoon stirrer’, Nick Clegg was unequivocal in his view that whilst respecting the referendum, the British people should be able to reserve the right on what they think of the final deal.” I wonder if those two political weasels will attempt to pool their resources to frustrate the will of the people.

 

 

You can almost see the IFS’S Paul Johnson salivating at the prospect of the UK enjoying desperate times from his economic forecasting, as his ‘Giaconda smile’ appears across a wave of TV screens.  How he loves to tell us that the past decade has been the worst decade for living standards and that in his opinion in five years’ time the working man’s disposable income will be even lower than today. Whilst he’s ‘Scrooge’ at this time of goodwill we are the ‘Jacob Marleys!”

 

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. So not surprisingly this public holiday to end all public holidays was always going to set an agenda of wholesale inertia in most markets – certainly it was the case for equities. The New York Stock Exchange remained closed for the day, and in the knowledge there would be no input from the Street of Dreams, most of the other global bourses were reluctant to set their stall down.

 

US shopaholics would of course be emptying the piggy banks and more to the point they would be checking the robustness of their portfolio of credit cards in the hope that at least $12 billion would be spent on retail therapy over the four day holiday period with close to 60% increase in on line sales. U.S. bargain hunters spent over $1 billion by Thanksgiving evening, according to Adobe Digital Index, surging almost 14% from a year ago and reflecting a broader trend away from brick-and-mortar shopping. U.S. stores were open on Thanksgiving to try and boost in-store sales, while retailers have been offering online deals weeks in advance to cope with lower demand and stiff pricing competition.

 

Normally retail is responsible for nearly 70% of US GDP. This holiday season spanning November and December is crucial for retailers because it can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales. Retailers try to attract shoppers with deep discounts, sometimes as much as 85 percent. Adobe Systems believes 137 million shoppers will be involved in shopping including 21 billion online visits to 4,500 U.S. retail sites since 1st November. Walmart plans to up its items for sale from 8 million to 23 million this year. Expect Amazon to be rampant during this period.  It appears that Cyber Monday will be an even stronger day for sales than Black Friday. Black Friday and particularly Cyber Monday are also very big deals here in the UK with over £3 billion being spent by the consumer, despite the Paul Johnsons and the prophets of doom attempting to dull our spirits!

 

 

Yesterday’s session in Europe was a bit of a damp squib.  Most market protagonists were mulling over Philip Hammond’s autumn statement, which was solid, sensible and plausible.  Sadly the OBR officially supplemented by the IFS desperate forecasting for the future of the UK economy, which was down to the angst and the acrid stench of fear over the uncertainty from BREXIT promoted by the ‘REMAIN’ camp.  Anyway the adverse publicity the statement attracted failed to damage the stock market.  Frankly there is nowhere else to go at present.  So in a sepulchral session the FTSE 100 added just 11 points to 6829.  The strong Dollar helped mining stocks and other related dollar earning stocks. Disappointing results were posted by Mothercare and Pets at Home and Countrywide, which produced a profits warning resulting in an 11% drop in its share price. Marstons’s put in decent numbers and Severn Trent’s were solid enough. European markets today should open up fairly flat and with Black Friday dominating the agenda, I doubt equities will be rocking and rolling today. In Asia the ASX was +0.41% heading towards the close with the NIKKEI perkier by 0.26%. The Shanghai Composite was just above the Plimsoll line +0.4% with the Hang Seng 0.43% to the good.  The strong Dollar helped export led stocks.

 

 

UK companies posting numbers this week – Friday – Pennon 

 

Economic data this week –  Friday – University of Michigan Consumer Confidence.

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

 

David Buik]]6

Market Commentator

 

D +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Panmure Gordon & Co 
One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom
www.panmure.com

 

TODAY’S FAYRE

 

TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday 23rd November 2016
Between us now and here –    

Two thrown together

Who are not wont to wear    

Life’s flushest feather –

Who see the scenes slide past,

The daytimes dimming fast,

Let there be truth at last,    Even if despair.

 

So thoroughly and long    

Have you now known me,

So real in faith and strong    

Have I now shown me,

That nothing needs disguise

Further in any wise,

Or asks or justifies    A guarded tongue.

 

Face unto face, then, say,    

Eyes mine own meeting,

Is your heart far away,    

Or with mine beating?

When false things are brought low,

And swift things have grown slow,

Feigning like froth shall go,    

Faith be for aye.”     

 

Thomas Hardy – poet & author – 1865-1936  
Well on the diplomatic front it looks like it is handbags at 10 paces! Not only do we have a spat emerging between No: 10 and Nigel Farage and a far reaching issue for the Government; accommodating the Trump regime to our benefit, without being seen to just roll over and see Mrs May having her tummy tickled by ‘The Donald.’

Regardless of political persuasion, Nigel Farage presents himself as an articulate politician rather better than anyone else and understandably he has a huge personal following. Yes he has foibles that many find unattractive, but he is influential. It is such a pity that he always has to call a spade a shovel in adopting such a confrontational approach to his political foes. I suppose he has such strident views on sensitive issues. The world of political thinking has changed. The ‘establishment’ is now on the back foot. I think PM May has recognised that. I agree that Nigel Farage cannot possibly be accommodated in her regime whilst the level of mutual hostility prevails. It would be obdurate in the extreme for Mrs May to hose out Sir Kim Darroch at the whim of the US President-Elect. However changes in attitudes and electorates’ views are manifesting themselves. I suspect and expect Messrs Renzi and Le Pen to continue the trend in changing the political landscape in the months to come.

The so called pre-negotiations on BREXIT involving David Davis and Dr Liam Fox were never going to be a bed of roses. With Michel Barnier at the head of affairs – no friend of UK PLC aided and abetted by the pugnaciously eccentric Guy Herhofstadt – many will not be that optimistic that this liaison could be a marriage made in Heaven. Maybe when Le Pen takes France out of the EU and further cracks appear in other countries these two political pugilists might adopt a slightly more conciliatory attitude and tone to the negotiations.

 

It was another record day in beautiful downtown Manhattan with all 4 major indices maintaining their recent ability to breach further record levels. These indices added between0.25 to 0.3% with the DOW poking its head through the 19k threshold. This year to date the DOW is +9.18%, the NASDAQ: +0.33% +7.57% and the S&P 500 +7.78%. Energy stocks maintained a little momentum. Oil prices remain firm as consensus thinking believes that OPEC will shortly peg production levels.  Hewlett Packard turned in a solid performance but the shares eased by 0.31% on the day.  Urban Outfitters beat expectations, pleasing their acolytes, which pushed their shares ahead by 4.95% by the end of the session.

 

In London yesterday the FTSE added 41 points at 6819. Mining stocks led the charge with banks not that far behind.  A few individual companies captured the imagination. It was good to see Safeway being reintroduced as a brand after 11 years since the disastrously handled takeover of Safeway by Sir Ken Morrison’s Bradford based outfit in 2005.  The Competition Commission almost wrecked the whole enterprise by taking 11 months to approve the deal – an absolute disgrace whatever the mitigating circumstances were. Having sold 140 convenient stores as to Greybull Capital by the then CEO Dalton Phillips for £25 million in 2012 under the brand of ‘My Local’, sadly this venture failed and went into liquidation, Morrison’s CEO Dave Potts had decided to have another ‘pop’ at it using the Safeway Brand.  As Morrison recovers under his management, I think this initiative has every chance of working.

 

 

Entertainment One saw 12% wiped off its value yesterday as profits dipped by 80% to £3.7 million due to faltering sales of DVDS, despite overall sales of the group rising by 19% to £401 million. The flagship star ‘Peppa Pig’ did well with sales up 16% to £38 million.  The Group has yet to see the benefit of the film BFG, which grossed £142 million at the box office.  Many think this is a temporary blip.  This morning a few results hit the wires with Thos Cook’s easily the most impressive. Despite issues in Turkey and N Africa, the order book looks to be in good shape. It was not so much the great numbers that impressed investors it was the fact that the company had been well managed through troubled waters. Shares rallied by 6.4% by 9.15am

 

 

Today it’s all eyes on Chancellor Hammond and his ‘Autumn Statement’. It will be no give-away statement.  His hands are tied. This country’s overall debt stands at £1.64 trillion – the equivalent of £25k per person!! With debt rising and the possibility of a £25 billion back hole in the borrowing requirement next year and the press’s obsession that it will be £100 million over 5 years, if he insists on fiscal discipline, there will be rich pickings. It will be all bout stimulating business and jobs. The drop in Corporation Tax to 17% next year is likely to be confirmed.

 

 

We know about infrastructure spending of up to £1.4 billion and £2 billion to be invested in scientific research, broadband and robots etc. £1.4 billion on 40k affordable homes is on the cards.  To fund this I suspect the government will just borrow more at these low levels of interest rates. In the years to come inflation will help with Treasury revenues. Mr Hammond may serve notice on the Triple Lock on Pensions and tax relief on pensions at the higher rate.  He should do this!  Not a vote winner but the government has 4 years for voters to get over it.  Also changing rules on overseas corporation taxation may be implemented in the years to come. Taxing companies on revenues globally rather than profits seems a possibility.  

 

UK companies posting numbers this week –  Wednesday – Thos Cook, United Utilities  Thursday – Countrywide, PayPoint, Caledonia Investments, Marston’s, Severn Trent, Pets at Home, HSS Hire, Mothercare, Friday – Pennon 

 

US Companies posting interim results today – 

    Economic data this week –  Wednesday – FOMC Meeting, ECB Financial Stability Review, Thursday – Gfk UK Consumer Confidence, US Initial Jobless Claims, Friday – University of Michigan Consumer Confidence.

 

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

MARKET UPDATE

Equity markets have yet to run out of steam. After positive efforts on the Street of Dreams and in Europe yesterday, Europe batted on this morning and just after lunch the FTSE 100 was 65 points to the good at 6842. Across the pond investors, punters, spivs and vagabonds still had an appetite to own stock and felt comfortable with owning risk. The DOW breached through the 19k threshold for the first time and the S&P, NASDAQ and Russell had still maintained record levels at 3.00pm GMT.

 

As a sector mining grabbed the yellow jersey with gains close to an average of 4.5%. Oils initially were up 2% but were settling at the time of writing up just 1%. Retail maintained a degree of placidness – up an average of 0.5%, with Tesco, M&S, Next and Wm Morrison maintaining their poise but none seem to want to crack on. Drugs were as dull as dishwater. Banks were in quite good form with HSBC and Barclays 1% to the good and Lloyds was up 1.4%. RBS excelled +3.9%.

 

A number of companies posted results or trading statements today and this is how they fared – Kingfisher -2.5%, HomeServe and De La Rue both unchanged. Intertek -1%, M&B -5%, Focusrite put in a monumental effort with great numbers – +7.5%. Babcock International was -4.5%, AO World +0.3% and Compass Group down 3.8%. The Dow is up a rather parsimonious amount – 40 points at 18997

TODAY’S FAYRE – cricket, Trump, Le Pen, May, Farage & markets

 

TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday 22nd November 2016  

 

“I am made all things to all men–

Hebrew, Roman, and Greek–

In each one’s tongue I speak,

Suiting to each my word,

That some may be drawn to the Lord!  

 

I am made all things to all men–

In City or Wilderness Praising the crafts they profess

That some may be drawn to the Lord–

By any means to my Lord!  

Since I was overcome By that great Light and Word,

 

I have forgot or forgone

The self men call their own

(Being made all things to all men)

So that I might save some At such small price, to the Lord,

As being all things to all men.  

 

I was made all things to all men,

But now my course is done– And now is my reward…

Ah, Christ, when I stand at Thy Throne

With those I have drawn to the Lord,

Restore me myself again!”        

 

Rudyard Kipling – poet & author – 1865-1936    

 

I wasn’t as downcast over England’s annihilation in the last test match by India at the hand of their excellent and experienced spinners in their own back yard!  A fair bit of resolution was shown by our batsmen in terms of patience.  However, at times the wicket was all but unplayable.  It was a great toss to win and Kohli, Pujara, Rahane and Ashwin capitalised on their luck and batted brilliantly. I fear England’s middle order is very brittle. I find it hard to fathom why the selectors did not select Ian Bell for this series – a great player of spin bowling!

What an achievement by Andy Murray – indisputably No: 1 tennis player in the world having won his last 24 matches on the bounce.  His performance at the 02 was mega – of iconic proportions – a fantastic achievement. Indisputably SPOTY on 18th December 2016.   I must confess reading informed rumour that Tony Blair was on the comeback trail by massing supporters to block BREXIT, aided and abetted  by George Osborne and no doubt Lord Mandelson, rocked me back on my heals. Word on the Street has it that he is looking for offices in Westminster. I hope talk of that nature is just rumour. It was all I could do not to fall about with derision and laughter at the thought of Mr Blair rising like the phoenix from the political ashes. He cannot be serious. He and the likes of Sturgeon, Clegg and ‘Little Timmy’ must accept the will of the people. If PM May loses her appeal in the high court there is nothing any one can do but accept the ruling that the proposed legislation must be discussed and approved by Parliament.  We do not need the like of Blair to duplicitously block or delay the implementation of Article 50.

Implementing BREXIT looks as if it is going to prove to be very difficult.  In the same manner that Churchill put together a war cabinet to win the war, Mrs May should put a Cabinet together that is TOTALLY focused on BREXIT as its number one priority.  It must be ‘all hands to the pump’ with a view to making trade agreements as quickly and as painlessly as possible.  It’s the delay and uncertainty that will damage the UK’s economy, not BREXIT itself.

 

I was amused to read Gideon Rachman’s headline in his FT column – “Le Pen looms over the Trump Era” – He better believe it. Marine Le Pen is nothing like as extreme in her views as her father. She will take Francois Fillon all the way down to the wire. Though France is an extremely conservative country, ‘establishment’ politics seems to be taking a back seat across the globe these days! She’s in with a great shout and No! I am not an extremist – just a realist!

 

Though PM May is no extrovert and is not as comfortable on her pins as David Cameron was, I must come to her defence over the deafening silence in regards to BREXIT plans. When the FT, Times, Guardian, Evening Standard, Independent, Mirror and most of the TV operators are hostile to the idea of BREXIT to the point of holding people like me in wholesale contempt as if we were monosyllabic congenital throwbacks for the decision 17.4 million of us made in wishing to leave the EU, she has every right to be very reserved on commenting until she has all her ducks in a row. No one, regardless of political persuasion, can possibly expect the PM to drip feed the media with the scraps from Lazarus’s table with most of the press looking to tear some of these ideas to pieces like raw meat. Many of her Cabinet do not have their heart in delivering BREXIT including Mrs May; so she is spot on insisting that the world waits until she is good and ready! Finally on BREXIT, there is no doubt that the decision to leave the EU would never have been made without Nigel Farage. Much as I admire his fortitude, he has shown nothing but wholesale contempt for the Government and the Conservative party. So regardless of Mr Trump’s suggestion, Mrs May would look very weak were she to pander to Mr Trump’s suggestion.

 

If President-Elect Trump really does pull the plug on TPP, that may be a very significant statement and could start to open the doors for free trade agreements. Hopefully it could prevent the EU from being so truculent and uncooperative in dealing with the UK at the latter day of BREXIT judgement.

 

Yesterday all 4 main indices reached record levels – the DOW, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell, with most punters believing that any future measurable gains will be made courtesy of the latter. SMES is where the growth is and stock selection is of paramount importance both in the US and in the FTSE 350 and AIM markets. The DOW closed +0.47%, with the S&P 500 up by 0.75% and the NASDAQ better by a measurable 0.89%. Energy stocks were on a roll with an average of a 2% gain, which gave some momentum to the rest of the market place.

 

In London the FTSE 100 trod water but there were some interesting movements with specialised mining companies making some gains, as oil rallied on the possibility of an OPEC production agreement. Employment agencies such as Hays and Page also performed with zest. Sky was still on the drift easing by another 2% with sport contracts looking uncertain. Lloyds Banking Group (share price 60p – 73p breakeven) posted the excellent news that the taxpayer had been relieved of another 1% of its stake to 7.99% down from a high of 43%. Also yesterday Lloyds threw its hat in the ring as a buyer of BOA’S MBNA credit card business for $7 billion as an alternative suitor to Cerebos. This business looks synergistic, provided the bank can agree a ceiling over PPI claims. With low interest rates likely to prevail for some time, Lloyds needs earnings growth, being a ‘plain vanilla’ bank with no investment banking revenue. Lloyds knows all about PPI having shelled out £16 billion back to its customers.

 

Finally Facebook will increase its footprint in London by 500 people next year bringing the total to 2000. A slew of companies posted results today with Kingfisher posting numbers in line but a great contribution from ScrewFix sales up 23% in the last quarter. AO World and De La Rue also caught the eye with improved numbers. Lavendon’s share price rattled up by 40%, thanks to a hostile bid from the Belgian operator TVH Groupe. The FTSE 100 is 50 points to the good at 9.07am.

 

In Asia the mood was positive with the NIKKEI closing up 0.3% – incidentally up 20% since June 2016 – and the ASX closing in good shape – up 1.1%. Just after lunch the Shanghai Composite was 1% to the good and the Hang Seng was purring – +1.5%.

 

UK companies posting numbers this week –  Tuesday – De La Rue, Intertek, HomeServe, Compass Group, Babcock International, Mitchells & Butler, Telecom Plus, AO World, Kingfisher, Spirax-Sarco, Wednesday – Thos Cook, United Utilities  Thursday – Countrywide, PayPoint, Caledonia Investments, Marston’s, Severn Trent, Pets at Home, HSS Hire, Mothercare, Friday – Pennon 

 

US Companies posting interim results today – Tuesday – Urban Outfitters, Campbell Soups, Dollar Tree, Hewlett-Packard

    Economic data this week –  Tuesday – US Existing Home Sales, Wednesday – FOMC Meeting, ECB Financial Stability Review, Thursday – Gfk UK Consumer Confidence, US Initial Jobless Claims, Friday – University of Michigan Consumer Confidence.

 

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

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Monday, 21st November 2016

 

 

“If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”

 

Rudyard Kipling – poet & author – 1865-1936

 

Gina Miller’s affluence gave her the where with all to challenge the Government in the High Court, forcing it to vote on the content of BREXIT through the House of Commons. The Government unsurprisingly appealed against their Lordship’s findings. The process adopted by M/S Miller and her cronies was legal and if you voted ‘REMAIN’ it was irritatingly duplicitous but effective. If nothing else it will delay the BREXIT process. As far as they are concerned – job done, regardless if the appeal is reversed or not.

 

However as for Sturgeon & Jones jumping on the bandwagon by grabbing Miller’s coattails; that is maverick behaviour of the worst type. Sturgeon’s confrontational antics are consistent. Sturgeon needs to understand or refuses to accept, whether she likes it or not, the UK voted to leave and Scotland is part of the UK and only 1.7 million people in Scotland voted to stay. Despite Wales voting to LEAVE, Jones has decided to delay the due-process for the implementation of Article 50 in the High Court. That decision strikes me as disreputable pranks. These two Charlatans are in danger of offending the majority and if they are not careful they could trigger civil unrest.

 

As if that was not sufficient inflammatory action for one week – not a bit of it! Lord Kerr – quintessential establishment – foreign office – Ambassador in Paris and Washington – scrounging Non executive director of Royal Dutch Shell and finally obsessive Europhile who worked along-side Sir Geoffrey Howe, another obsessive Europhile at the Treasury made some unacceptable, banal and deeply offensive remarks.  These comments may well have reflected why he was incandescent with anger at the UK’s decision to leave the EU. However to infer and state unequivocally “We native Brits are so bloody stupid that we need an injection of intelligent people – young people from outside who come in and wake us up from time to time!” That is the kind of comment you make in the pub or slouching in an armchair after a very good Sunday lunch with plenty of decent claret on board! If people like Lord Kerr cannot see that there is a political transition being adopted here in Old Blighty, then he’s not as intelligent as he would have us believe! That was an embarrassingly poor effort.

 

Considering after the previous week’s euphoria over the Trump’s victory from a business perspective rather than from an aesthetic point of view, markets were always likely to suffer from a bit of inertia.  Equity markets probably over-reached themselves, as was suggested by that much respected Wall Street raider Carl Icahn.  However the DOW did hit its all-time record. For the S&P 500 to end the week 0.77% to the good was quite a remarkable feat.  The FTSE 100 was not far behind – +0.67%. European bourses’ gains were relatively parsimonious – +0.44%. The Nikkei enjoyed a blockbuster week – +3.41%, much of the progress was down to a much weaker Yen, which of course stimulated its essential export based stocks.  However much of the week was spent pondering over the international bond markets, where yields have shot up in recent weeks and will probably continue to do so! US Treasury 10-year yield has rallied from 1.60% to 2.33% in the last 6 weeks and Gilts are up from 0.52% to 1.41% last Friday. It is thought that $1 trillion has been wiped off the value of bond portfolios in the last week! Assessing Trump’s commitment to infrastructure spending is one thing. That may have triggered the recent increase in yields.  However many observers and traders have their eye on China’s banks, which must be very close to staring over a precipice of financial carnage. Gargantuan sums have been over-lent to property as well as to the consumer.  China is the largest buyer of US Treasuries.  However, if their banks come under duress, the Chinese government’s love affair with US Treasuries could come to an abrupt ending or at least some sort of retrenchment.

 

The European Union is feeling rather arrogant and smug.  It has little reason to do so.  Italy’s Renzi could lose his Referendum.  I wouldn’t back against Le Pen to win the French Presidential election in April. Merkel is far from ‘home & hosed’ in October next year.  Greece is a basket case! Europe’s banking sector is under massive duress and probably under-capitalised by as much as E300 billion. German Finance Minister Schauble might eventually laugh on the other side of his face.  His contempt for the UK may be misplaced as may Juncker’s.

 

A number of key US retail operators posted interim results last week. Two well-known household names failed to pass muster with disappointing efforts – Abercrombie & Fitch eased by 13% and Gap was larruped by an even greater amount in losing 16% in value on Friday. Walmart also stepped up to the plate and slightly disappointed with like for like sales increasing by only 1.2%. However the size of Walmart’s revenue was eye watering. $120 billion in the last three months with a profit of $5.1 billion. Its shares fell by 3%. Walmart’s UK subsidiary ASDA had another shocker with sales down 5.8% – marginally better that the 7.5% drop in the previous quarter. Walmart has 2.2 million employees and does 62% of its business in the US. Salesforce.com beat expectations with its interim numbers with its shares rising by 3%. BAT failed it its attempt to buy the remaining 60% of Reynolds American. More money will be needed to increase the bid. Also we await news of forthcoming IPO Snapchat.

 

Here in the UK last week the dollar remained very strong; so it was not surprising that the mining, oil and drug sectors surrendered a little ground last week. Banks and financials performed well, with the exception of RBS. Sky hit a 3 year low as CEO Jeremy Darroch failed to allay investors’ fears over on going sports rights. WM Morrison pleased its acolytes as it bedded down with Amazon in agreeing a 2-hour delivery service for £6.99, which hit Ocado’s share price hard on Wednesday – down 9.3%. Ocado needs to find another customer perhaps European, which seems unlikely in the current BREXIT climate. 

 

It was brought to the market’s attention that RBS may be subject to a huge fine – between $5bn and $12bn courtesy of the US regulators for the miss-selling of mortgage related securities. So it is fair to say that any plans Chancellor Hammond for seeking the taxpayers’ 73% stake in this deeply flawed bank will surely be shelved for some years unless the Government decides to split the bank in to a ‘good’ and ‘bad bank’, giving the RBS/NatWest brand some chance of recovering its reputation. Ever since RBS’S £12 billion rights issue in 2008, this bank has been on the back foot. Many of you will remember that the share price halved within weeks of the rights issue with shareholders rightly felt very aggrieved – in fact knee-capped! It currently stands at 208p – well below 503p breakeven!

 

On Wednesday Chancellor Hammond presents his first autumn statement.  It is likely that he will have a £25 billion borrowing black hole and of course the ‘REMAIN’ press – FT, Times, Guardian and Independent would have us believe that there will be a £100 billion shortfall, though there is no real evidence to support such a theory.  However the OBR is likely to drop GDP forecast from 2% to 1.2% in 2017. £1.2 billion is likely to be spent on infrastructure to create jobs during the uncertainties of the BREXIT negotiations. Though there will be no attempt to have a budget surplus by the end of this Parliament, Mr Hammond is unlikely to loosen the purse strings too much. A cut in Stamp duty is unlikely.  A rise in the threshold of zero taxation may be raised from £11k to £12.5k to pander to those who are categorised at JAMS. It would not surprise me if some sort of mansion tax was implemented, though the emphasis of this statement will be to help business.

 

 

UK companies posting numbers this week –  Monday – Mitie, International Game Technology, Tuesday – De La Rue, Intertek, HomeServe, Compass Group, Babcock International, Mitchells & Butler, Telecom Plus, AO World, Kingfisher, Spirax-Sarco, Wednesday – Thos Cook, United Utilities  Thursday – Countrywide, PayPoint, Caledonia Investments, Marston’s, Severn Trent, Pets at Home, HSS Hire, Mothercare, Friday – Pennon 

 

US Companies posting interim results today – Monday – Jack-in-the-Box, Tuesday – Urban Outfitters, Campbell Soups, Dollar Tree, Hewlett-Packard

 

 

Economic data this week – Monday – Rightmove HPI, UK Public Sector Borrowing, Tuesday – US Existing Home Sales, Wednesday – FOMC Meeting, ECB Financial Stability Review, Thursday – Gfk UK Consumer Confidence, US Initial Jobless Claims, Friday – University of Michigan Consumer Confidence.

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

 

David Buik]]6

Market Commentator

 

D +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Panmure Gordon & Co 
One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom
www.panmure.com

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday, 17th November 2016

 

“Have you news of my boy Jack? Not this tide.

“When d’you think that he’ll come back?” 

Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Has anyone else had word of him?” Not this tide. 

For what is sunk will hardly swim, 

Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?” 

None this tide, Nor any tide,

Except he did not shame his kind— 

Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,

This tide, And every tide;

Because he was the son you bore,

And gave to that wind blowing and that tide.”    

 

Rudyard Kipling – poet & author – 1920-200

 

As I crawled out of my pit at 4.30am this morning to be hit between the eyes by the FT’S Chris Giles’s headline ‘UK Faces £100bn Budget Hole after Brexit vote hits growth forecasts’ I was none too happy on more counts than one. Mr Giles is a superb journalist on top of his game, but he revelled in dining out on the threat of a supposition that growth will collapse in the years to come. In fact it might be fair to say that he, metaphorically, was salivating at the chops at the possibility of an economic dip. I know the FT is obsessive about the EU. Nonetheless it would be great if, occasionally, the ‘Pinkun’ sounded vaguely supportive of UK PLC!

Many working in the City have heard little reassuring comment about the future, apart from Mark Carney. So it was great to hear positive comments from Barclays’ CEO Jes Stayley yesterday. He said London’s ‘gravitational pull’ on finance will not wane after Brexit! I think he’s dead right!

 

I see the pollsters only give Marine Le Pen a 40% chance of winning next April’s Presidential Election – likely to be fought against the mildly left, though much respected, Alain Juppe. I am surprised it is as low as that. Some bookmakers are offering 2-1. I think I might avail myself of some largesse.

India 264 for 3 – Pujara 119 and Kohli not out 121. Sounds like a good toss to win and very tough going for our bowlers, who will probably toil for two days in the hot sunshine!

 

Depending on what equity markets investors and analysts deal with, most have had a decent run on the rails in the last 7-9 sessions. So it must come as no surprise if there is a modest slow-down, with a little risk coming off the table on both sides of the Atlantic. Also until President-Elect Trump names his Cabinet particularly the Treasury Secretary and the Secretary of State, it is unreasonable for fund managers and investors to go totally out on a limb. I learned today that it took President Clinton nearly a month to form his administration and both Bush Presidencies over a week. So clearly patience is the name of the game. Steve Bannon is certainly drawing great headlines with as many provocative statements as the media require, with a view to keeping their notebooks bulging.

 Yesterday on the Street of Dreams it was a question of profit takers satisfying their needs, particularly after comments made by the likes of Carl Icahn, who believes that equities have over shot on all known data and lack of policy information. The DOW eased by 0.54% with the S&P just nudging down a tad by 0.16%. Conversely the NASDAQ, having languished in recent sessions added a parsimonious 0.36%, despite slightly better than expected numbers from Cisco Systems. 3rd quarter revenue just beat expectations with revenue of £12.35 billion and EPS was 61 cents against estimations of 59 cents. Target at last pleased its acolytes with share rising 6.43% yesterday. Target earned $1.04 per share, adjusted, in the fiscal third quarter, on sales of $16.44 billion. Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of 83 cents a share on $16.3 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters. In the prior-year period, Target earned 86 cents a share on sales of $17.61 billion. Today, it’s eyes down for a ‘full house’, waiting for Walmart’s numbers.

 

The Asian session was excruciatingly boring with the ASX closing +0.2%, the Shanghai Composite closed up 0.10% with the Hang Seng easier by a similar amount. Today the FTSE has been treading water and at the time of writing it is up 16 points at 6766 (10.10am). Royal Mail Group failed to impress with its very modest effort. Shares are down 5%. It share price is surely only close to £5 thanks to the fact that one day it will be a takeover target. Investors did not like the fact that Wilbur Ross sold 53 million shares in Virgin Money, probably because he want to focus on key investments with political considerations taking pride of place. Rio added 1%; the market acknowledging the positive action taken by the management in removing colleagues who had allegedly transgressed in Guinea. Morrison’s shares are up nearly 40% in the last year. Dave Potts’s team have responded to the challenge with gusto. Its recent initiative with Amazon with offers of a 2 hour delivery service for £6.99 is likely to hurt Ocado. Ocado is vulnerable to a lack of clients – Waitrose & Morrison – and need to look further afield – maybe abroad. Ocado shares were sharply lower yesterday – down 9.3% and down 32% in the last year.

 

UK companies posting numbers this week –  Thursday – Majestic Wines, Royal Mail, Investec, WS Atkins, Johnson Matthey, Manchester United, Friday – Electrocomponents

 

US Companies posting interim results today – Thursday – Walmart, Staples, Best Buy, Ross Stores, Gap, 

    Economic data this week – Thursday – UK Retail Sales, ECB Meeting  

 

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

 

MARKET UPDATE

There was cautious optimism in the air this morning as the dome of St Paul’s dominated the skyline through watery late autumn sunshine in Cheapside as I hit One New Change for another day’s skirmishing in global equity markets. Both IG and CMC markets insisted that European markets were still under a cautious wet sail as the FTSE 100 threatened to set down their stall 20 points to the good. In fact at 8.00am the FTSE was up only 10 points and between 8.00am and 1.00pm it spent time surrendering value. At about that time the FTSE settled down 53 points at 6742. At 3.15pm the time of writing London’s premier index is down 25 points at 6767. Banks, having had a terrific run on the rails in the past week on the back of US banks are about 0.5% down (HSBC, Lloyds & Barclays). Oils have been weak and the mining sector, after yesterday’s trashing, are still licking some wounds. Telecoms are also weak, with many investors still suffering from the raving ache at Vodafone’s Colao very uninspiring performance down (-0.5%). There has been reasonable evidence of rotation out of mining and oil into other high yielding stocks such as Diageo, Reed Elsevier and WPP.

 

Speedy Hire and Fenner – both companies have been really struggling until recently. However both spent the morning jostling for the ‘yellow’ jersey’ – +14.4% and 12.2% respective. On top of a decent trading update Prudential was up 0.8%. ICAP ahead of the disposure of its voice broking to Tullett posted disappointing numbers – down 8%. Rolls Royce situation has improved with shares up 35% in the last 4 months, but today’s update though encouraging did not set investor’s heart a fluttering – down 2%. Barratt Development travelled and arrived -2.6%, British Land was friendless in the ring – down 3%. Initially Aggreko flattered to deceive but fell away – down 2.74%. Overall conditions were tiresomely somnolent in comparison to yesterday.

 

In New York the DOW was 50 points easier. The Russell Index finished its 9 straight day rally. We wait Target’s results. One hopes that there will be some improvement from August’s very moderate effort. It is possible that Snapchat may head for an IPO in March 2017.

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday 16th November 2016

 

“MITHRAS, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall! 

‘ Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!’ 

Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,

Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!

Mithras, God of the Noontide, the heather swims in the heat,

Our helmets scorch our foreheads ; our sandals burn our feet.

 

Now in the ungirt hour; now ere we blink and drowse,

Mithras, also a soldier, keep us true to our vows !

Mithras, God of the Sunset, low on the Western main,

Thou descending immortal, immortal to rise again ! 

Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine is drawn,

Mithras, also a soldier, keep us pure till the dawn!

 

Mithras, God of the Midnight, here where the great bull dies,

Look on Thy children in darkness. Oh take our sacrifice !

Many roads Thou hast fashioned: all of them lead to the Light,

Mithras, also a soldier, teach us to die aright!”  

 

Rudyard Kipling – poet & author – 1920-2000

 

I must confess that I have not been stalking Mayor Khan since his landslide victory in May, but I cannot remember him smiling with unbridled joy on many occasions. Even his meeting yesterday with Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai only produced a ‘Giaconda’ effort – one normally associated with the Mona Lisa. Perhaps the fact that BREXIT may not be all bad news sat uncomfortably with him. Google is to open a major presence in the King’s Cross area, which could cost £1 billion and may generate another 3,000 jobs on top of the existing 4000. This is massive news! London is a great place to do business – Brexit or no Brexit!

Despite uncomfortable exchanges between Governor Mark Carney and the Treasury Select Committee yesterday, Mr Carney reiterated for financial operations to hold off contingency plans to leave the City until more is known. A decision to leave could be precipitous.

I notice that all the ‘REMAIN’ supporting media are hell-bent on giving the Government an uncomfortable ride over BREXIT policy or lack of it. In the circumstances I defy any political party, ‘think tank’ or ‘Eminence Grise’ to come up with a ‘full-on’, ‘well-thought-out’ cohesive policy plan in the time that it has been allowed – impossible! Pointless in asking folk and commentators to be patient or fair! Understandably, they have no intention of being so!

 

Good Old EU and its Brussels bureaucrats already chucking their weight about potentially demanding $60 billion divorce settlement from UK post BREXIT. Dream on! These negotiators/diplomats/pen-pushers are so incredibly aggressive and acrid in their tone and stance. If it all goes ‘pear-shaped’ in Italy next month and then Marine Le Pen wins the French election in April, I wonder if there might be a change in their attitude. Even Pascal Lamy is showing shades of unnecessary arrogance towards Donald Trump and I doubt he has even met him!

 

Most of yesterday’s financial headlines were grabbed by the impending implosion of the international bond market or so many luminaries on the subject would have us believe! Certainly losses on the long end of the bond market are supposed to have totalled $1 trillion – this is no small beer and will have given many a bloody nose to fund managers, ‘hedgies’ and Governments alike. All have been licking wounds since President-Elect Trump announced his ambitious infrastructure spending spree. Yesterday yield increases were not quite so virulent. However going forward world debt feels like it is getting out of hand and may eventually be unsustainable. So these increases in yield are unlikely to abate. Global growth is currently fragile and there is a limit as to how much interest rates can go up. However the FED is expected to move symbolically in early December (25 basis points).

 

As to equities on the Street of Dreams yesterday there was an autumn spring in the market’s heel with the DOW adding 0.29% and the S&P 0.75%. The NASDAQ has been out of sorts in the past week, with investors spurning these stocks, based on adverse comments made by Trump over Silicon Valley. Yesterday this tech index surged up 1.1%! Home Depot slightly disappointed with numbers as did KB Homes – both down 1.5%.

 

In London the opening skirmishes looked very positive and by the end of the session FTSE 100 had added 0.59% to 6792. easyJet +5.3%, Hikma +6%, Morrison +4% and Tesco, with increased UK supermarket market share to 28.6% added another 2.2%. But for dispiriting performances from miners such as Antofagasta, Anglo-American, Kaz and Vedanta the overall gains will have been greater – most losing 5% +.

This morning the Pru posted a very upbeat trading statement and I was surprised that the share only added 1.5% at 8.30am. The insurance titan released a Q3 trading update ahead of its annual investor conference that takes place today. Sales came in at £4550m APE (+16% or +8% at CRE) and new business profit at £1970m (+19% or +9% at CRE). The Pru has clarified its dividend policy from a rather vague 2x cover to growth of 5.0% per annum with potential additional distributions as/when appropriate.

 

Barratt Development also posted an update. Overall housing market conditions remain healthy, with the Group trading well since the start of the new financial year. A sales rate of 0.74% (2015: 0.71%) for net private reservations per active outlet per average week was achieved by the builder. Total forward sales (including joint ventures (‘JVs’)) increased by 4.3% to £2,654.3m (2015: £2,544.6m), with wholly owned forward sales up strongly by 19.5% to £2,466.1m (2015: £2,062.9m). As previously announced the Board has proposed a record dividend payment of £248m payable on 21 November 2016.

 

 

Having lost 39% in shareholder value in the last 3 years, I am pleased that Rolls Royce under the guidance of the EX ARM boss Warren East is finally on the road to recovery having shaken all the accounting skeletons out of the cupboard.  This industrial and aeronautical titan has a very full order book going forward and we know of its lucrative prowess from servicing aircraft.  Hopefully Mr East in an open meeting today, ahead of next week’s numbers will confirm that the company will be cash generative next year. The FTSE 100 is virtually unchanged at 6790 in quiet trading conditions at 9.00am.

 

UK companies posting numbers this week –  Wednesday – Prudential, British Land, Barratt Development, ICAP, Fenner, Speedy Hire, Aggreko, Thursday – Majestic Wines, Royal Mail, Investec, WS Atkins, Johnson Matthey, Manchester United, Friday – Electrocomponents

 

US Companies posting interim results today –  Wednesday – Target, L-Brands, Cisco Systems, Thursday – Wal-Mart, Staples, Best Buy, Ross Stores, Gap, 

    Economic data this week – Wednesday – UK Employment data, US Industrial production, Thursday – UK Retail Sales, ECB Meeting

 

 

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

 

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday 15th November 2016

“My son, so young, is led to you.
Single digits. A free man.
You pin-on his first poppy.
I’ll make sure he understands-
That you fluttered with  the paras
To save him, and all our  lands.

Moved were you, helping us look through
Our modern souless ways,
To the lost lives, now and always  true,
Of living-Blighty’s finest days.

Your generation’s sacrifice can never be re-met
Save by your own long-modesty.
Can education save us yet?

But I will settle, silently, on behalf of both my kids
For a semblance of understanding
Of all it was that you all did.

And more, a realisation —
That because you saved the world–
Like you, the rest of all of us,

Can choose to keep the flags tight-furled.”

 

Anonymous

 

———————–

 

“The life that I have 
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.” 

 

 

Poem by Leo Marks – poet – 1920-200

Written for Violette Szabo, executed in 1944

 

Much as I have no doubt that last night’s Guildhall banquet was a glittering occasion for the privileged 500 who attended and I am sure that the new Lord Mayor, Dr Andrew Parmley, was exceptionally gracious, the occasion is an anachronism. Why? These banquets are not inclusive and remain occasions for the elite. Invitations need to go out to people from all walks of business life. Politics in the Western world are altering dramatically. BREXIT and Donald Trump’s resounding victory last week are confirmation of a change in culture. The establishment is not popular; hence it must present its credentials in a different manner. 

 

PM May appeared to make a solid if predictable speech warning guests to heed the change that voters were demanding across the divide, post BREXIT and the Trump victory. Unexpected results they may have been, but the signs of resentment were there for all to see. So those who ignore Mme Marine Le Pen’s credentials in April do so at their peril.

 

There seems only one game in town – guessing the names of the main dramatis personae of Donald Trump’s administration. We have the pawns in place on his chess board, but who are the ‘bishops’, ‘rooks’ and ‘castles.’ Figuratively speaking I suppose Mike Pence is the ‘Queen’ but we need to know more – Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary, Defence etc. There’s plenty of media but little in the way of depth in policy. Equities remain indecently comfortable.  Risk seems to be back on the table as the DOW maintains record levels. The cream has been taken away from the tech sector, but component stocks may just be pausing for reflection. The virulence of upward movement for yields at the long end of the bond market are clearly hurting some investors as they attempt to pre-empt the size of bonds issuances that may be required to meet the Trump infrastructure needs.  What we do not know is whether bond dealers are over reacting. Officially interest rates’ scope for increasing are limited.  So to see the yield on 10-year Treasuries go up from 1.50% 6 weeks ago to 2.22% is a dramatic percentage move.   There is no doubt that some blood is running down Wall Street and Threadneedle Street. There was a degree of understandable inertia on Wall Street with the main bourses putting in very neutral performances – DOW +0.11%, S&P 500 -0.01% and the NASDAQ showing little of its old glitter down by 0.36%, thanks mainly to Apple easing by 2.51%,Alphabet by 2.4% and Facebook by 3.9% during the session. It was interesting to note that Warren Buffett has taken stakes in the main US airlines – especially United and Delta. Interesting! Needless to say these shares bounced.

 

In London yesterday the FTSE 100 bounced out of the traps and initially grabbed 65 points.  But this index was unable to maintain that level of unbridled enthusiasm and eventually it closed up just 22 points on the day to 6753. There was concern about whether OPEC would be able to agree any policy on production and crude oil drifted by 2,5% affecting the main oil companies a tad (RDS -0.95%) with some miners shedding some value.  The recent sharp drop in gold continued to affect companies like Randgold (-2.66%). William Hill’s share price bounced by nearly 4% but ended the day up 1.48%. CEO Philip Bowcock, the new CEO seems to have sorted the technological problems out, which may have resulted in no deal being done with Amaya, the Canadian online poker titan. In fact David Baazov, the former CEO of Amaya and Co-founder, is looking to take Amaya private in $6.7bn deal. Wm Hill also had to fend off approaches in the last year from 888 holdings and Rank. The appointment of bookie veteran John O’Reilly to Hill’s board could prove inspiring after a distinguished career at Ladbrokes and Coral.

 

Yesterday there was a surprisingly huge deal in the offing in Korea where Samsung has agreed to buy the car electronics company Harman for $8bn (£6.4bn); the biggest acquisition in this mobile titan’s history and a bold move into automotive industry. The deal marks an attempt by Samsung to move on from the crisis that has surrounded it since it was forced to recall millions of potentially dangerous smartphones last month. These defective handsets rocked Samsung back on its feet and could have handed the initiative in Asia back to Apple. Samsung’s share price has fallen 13% since the end of September.

 

Dollar strength and the prospect of higher US rates on 8th December (+0.25%) left Asia ruminating on life.  At the time of writing the ASX was looking to close shortly -0.36%, with the NIKKEI easier by just -0.03%.  The Hang Seng was up 0.24% and the Shanghai Composite was down 0.31%.

 

Vodafone posted very bland half year numbers. Shares have fallen 15% in the last 3 months.  Vodafone seems to lack ideas and ambition.  No media acquisitions.  This company’s share capital valued at £55 billion may now be a takeover target unless CEO Colao sharpens up with some ideas, like involvement in media.  Regular mobile business has seen margins narrow.  A loss of £5.39 billion was posted on revenues of £27.05 billion. The share yield 6%, but a dividend is not everything.  Investors need an explanation.

 

      Carolyn McCall Ceo of EasyJet posted annual results today.  A record number of passengers at 73.1 million, up 6.6% year on year with record load factor at 91.6% (2015: 91.5%).  Capacity grew by 6.5% in the period to 80 million seats, as easyJet strengthened its leadership positions in selected market. Total revenue of £4,669 million (a decline of 0.4%) and revenue per seat of £58.46 (a decline of 6.4%, and of 6.9% at constant currency1) reflecting the impact of external events. Return on capital employed2 at 14.6% remains significantly above easyJet’s cost of capital. easyJet’s results demonstrate resilient underlying performance, delivered in spite of unprecedented external events which have impacted profit before tax by an estimated £150 million3 and net foreign exchange headwinds of £88 million. Profit before tax in the period was £495 million (2015: £686m). A dividend was declared of 53.8 pence per share (2015: 55.2 pence), in line with the Company’s increased payout policy of 50% of profit after tax.

 

      Inflation data will be posted at 9.30am. It may rise to 0.7%/0.8% from 0.6% but next year 2.7% to maybe 3.5%!

 

UK companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – EasyJet, Enterprise Inns, McCarthy & Stone,  Land Securities, TalkTalk, Meggitt, Card Factory, Vodafone, First Group, Premier Foods, Amec Foster, Crest Nicholson, Wednesday – British Land, Barratt Development, ICAP, Fenner, Speedy Hire, Aggreko, Thursday – Majestic Wines, Royal Mail, Investec, WS Atkins, Johnson Matthey, Manchester United, Friday – Electrocomponents

 

US Companies posting interim results today – Tuesday – Beazer, Dick’s Sporting Goods, TJX, Wednesday – Target, L-Brands, Cisco Systems, Thursday – Staples, Best Buy, Ross Stores, Gap, 

 

 

Economic data this week – Tuesday – UK CPI & PPI, Wednesday – UK Employment data, US Industrial production, Thursday – UK Retail Sales, ECB Meeting

 

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