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.”
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.
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Panmure Gordon & Co
One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF | United Kingdom