Monthly Archives: December 2016


TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday, 28th December 2016


The bells of waiting Advent sing,

The Tortoise stove is lit again

And lamp-oil light across the night

Has caught the streaks of winter rain

In many a stained-glass window sheen

From Crimson Lake to Hooker’s Green.


The holly in the windy hedge

And round the Manor House the yew

Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,

The altar, font and arch and pew,

So that the villagers can say

“The church looks nice” on Christmas day.


Provincial public houses blaze

And Corporation tramcars clang,

On lighted tenements I gaze

Where paper decorations hang,

And bunting in the red Town Hall

Says “Merry Christmas to you all.”


And London shops on Christmas Eve

Are strung with silver bells and flowers

As hurrying clerks the City leave

To pigeon-haunted classic towers,

And marbled clouds go scudding by

The many -steepled London sky.


And is it true? And is it true,

This most tremendous tale of all,

Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,

A Baby in an ox’s stall?

The Maker of the stars and sea

Become a Child on earth for me?”



Sir John Betjeman – Poet Laureate– 1906-1884



Even if you are not a horse racing acolyte, you may well, like me, like to experience the best on offer in any field of activity.  So it was at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, where ‘Thistlecrack’, a novice chaser with just four races over birch under his belt, hosed up to win the King George VI Chase as he liked, with Tom Scudamore in the plate.  Let’s hope Colin Tizzard can keep him sound until Gold’ Cup Day on 17th March 2017 – That could be a real spectacle! Were he to win there may not be a dry eye at Prestbury Park. There was also very competitive racing at Kempton on Tuesday.  I will be very surprised if ‘Altior’ is not in the shake-up of the ‘Arkle’ on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. And Charli Parcs’ won’t be far away in the Triumph Hurdle


President-Elect Donald Trump has certainly made some ‘left-field’ or unorthodox appointments to his administration, none more so than the multi- billionaire business maverick Wilbur Ross, as Commerce Secretary. In yesterday’s Times he is purported to have said that BREXIT was a heaven sent opportunity for the EU to close on the UK’s trade and financial services prowess and pilfer them. This comment may have been made some months ago in Cyprus, where Mr Ross has significant, if perhaps rather imaginative investments.


However for a few years now, I have always had my doubts about this special relationship between the US and the UK.  There is little evidence of it.  The relationship, which was strong until the Obama regime, seems to be crumbling rather quickly.  If Mr Ross made these comments out of context as a business man as a major shareholder in a Cypriot bank, he should say so! The fact that the silence has been deafening on the subject, provides further evidence that the US is likely to pursue deeper isolationist policies. In other words, I’m alright, Jack and the rest of you go to hell and a high place!


Not that Mr Ross gives a tinker’s damn but, even if he wishes to pursue a confrontational approach to the UK, he will need basic lessons in diplomacy when dealing with China.  Like it or not China really does matter!  Perhaps PM May and F&CS Johnson need to go on a charm offensive with a visit to the White House, sooner rather than later.


Sports Direct has decided to unload another iconic brand name – Dunlop – to Japanese owners. PM May made her feelings crystal clear that she did not want UK companies or brands to be sold abroad.  However there is little the PM can do at present to prevent such deals, until there is some clarity over BREXIT and the implementation of Article 50.  The UK needs as many influential friends as possible. Dunlop is a well-known brand, but not exactly key in the grand scheme of issues. So there is little point in offending or irritating potentially very influential trading partners, whilst the UK government is in dire need of great friends, whilst we grapple with the machinations of BREXIT.  The likes of China, Japan, Malaysia and others may also be persuaded to invest in huge infrastructure projects here in Old Blighty. The UK needs investment of that nature whilst it services such a gargantuan public sector borrowing requirements.  So if horse trading involves a few household brand names being used as bait until our trading stall is set down, so be it.



As we head towards the end of a tempestuous and tumultuous year, the like of which we have not experienced since the credit crisis in 2009, it hard to believe that global stock markets have performed with such aplomb, and in the case of the FTSE it is thanks in the main to an 18% fall in the Pound since the BREXIT result on 24th June, aided and abetted by hysteria promoted by the establishment – Treasury, OECD, IMF, BOE and most economists.  To date they have all been wrong.  Who knows maybe 2017 will prove to be a different year with both the UK and the EU struggling to maintain satisfactory growth rates. The EU certainly has political issues of immense magnitude to deal with – especially the French and German elections.  If you value the FTSE’S performance based on the Dollar, the UK’S leading index has fallen by about 6% this year.  However most US equity bourses have broken records with the NASDAQ flirting with that goal. The DJIA is within 55 points to breaching 20,000 for the first time.  Many believe that Trump policies on taxation and infrastructure spending, which Congress should adopt post inauguration day on 20th January will see US equity markets make a quantum leap forward. Certainly investors will be very encouraged that GDP for 3rd quarter beat expectations at 3.5%.  The Shanghai Composite, the Hang Seng and Tokyo were disappointing this year, though Japanese equities recovered strongly in the last 3 months of the year.  The NIKKEI is up only 2% on the year BUT it is up 28% since 8th July 2016.



In the week leading up to Christmas Eve the S&P added a parsimonious 0.11%, the FTSE 0.81%, European bourses were near enough flat and the NIKKEI a paltry 0.14%. Amongst this morass of indifferent equity performances there were nuggets of interesting financial news. The banking sector, especially in Europe has made quite a spectacular recovery.  So news that the US regulators only fined Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse $7 billion and $5 billion respectively has been seen as positive for their respective balance sheets.  In the last 3 months Deutsche Bank’s share price has rallied by 66% and Credit Suisse, though not spectacular, by a respectable 22% in the same period.


Whilst on the subject of banking, Ross McEwan the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland could see his maximum pay pot slashed under plans being drawn up by its remuneration committee, reflecting directors’ conviction that the lender will remain in majority taxpayer ownership for years to come. Sky News’ Mark Kleinmann has learnt that RBS has begun consulting with leading City shareholders on proposals to reduce the long-term incentive plan award available to Ross McEwan from £3m to £1.75m from next year. If that proposal is adopted, that is a terrible idea.  RBS problems were not of McEwan’s making. He should be supported.  RBS should be split in to a ‘good’ bank and a ‘bad’ bank to give it the impetus to recover. By modern days standards McEwan’s pay is not excessive. If his remuneration is within the terms of his contract he should be paid it accordingly.  If he is not up to the job, Ross McEwan should be removed from office.  What RBS needs is management continuity at the top and a coordinated policy decided by the Chancellor, UKFI and the directors of the bank. The situation at RBS was far worse than we were all led to believe in 2008/9.

Let’s end this missive on a positive note.  UK car manufacturing in November was the best for 17 years.  This is great news.  This ventures to suggest that the UK’s economy is far from terminally ill! And finally, the UK’s economy grew by 0.6% in the 3rd quarter when the Treasury forecasted flat. The ebullience of retail activity leading up to Christmas was very much more robust than many thought.  London was also swamped by tourists looking to benefit from a cheap Pound.




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



TODAY’S FAYRE – Friday, 23rd December 2016


“Three Kings came riding from far away,
Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar;
Three Wise Men out of the East were they,
And they travelled by night and they slept by day,
For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.

The star was so beautiful, large and clear,
That all the other stars of the sky
Became a white mist in the atmosphere,
And by this they knew that the coming was near
Of the Prince foretold in the prophecy.

Three caskets they bore on their saddle-bows,
Three caskets of gold with golden keys;
Their robes were of crimson silk with rows
Of bells and pomegranates and furbelows,
Their turbans like blossoming almond-trees.

And so the Three Kings rode into the West,
Through the dusk of the night, over hill and dell,
And sometimes they nodded with beard on breast,
And sometimes talked, as they paused to rest,
With the people they met at some wayside well.

“Of the child that is born,” said Baltasar,
“Good people, I pray you, tell us the news;
For we in the East have seen his star,
And have ridden fast, and have ridden far,
To find and worship the King of the Jews.”

And the people answered, “You ask in vain;
We know of no King but Herod the Great!”
They thought the Wise Men were men insane,
As they spurred their horses across the plain,
Like riders in haste, who cannot wait.

And when they came to Jerusalem,
Herod the Great, who had heard this thing,
Sent for the Wise Men and questioned them;
And said, “Go down unto Bethlehem,
And bring me tidings of this new king.”

So they rode away; and the star stood still,
The only one in the grey of morn;
Yes, it stopped –it stood still of its own free will,
Right over Bethlehem on the hill,
The city of David, where Christ was born.

And the Three Kings rode through the gate and the guard,
Through the silent street, till their horses turned
And neighed as they entered the great inn-yard;
But the windows were closed, and the doors were barred,
And only a light in the stable burned.

And cradled there in the scented hay,
In the air made sweet by the breath of kine,
The little child in the manger lay,
The child, that would be king one day
Of a kingdom not human, but divine.

His mother Mary of Nazareth
Sat watching beside his place of rest,
Watching the even flow of his breath,
For the joy of life and the terror of death
Were mingled together in her breast.

They laid their offerings at his feet:
The gold was their tribute to a King,
The frankincense, with its odor sweet,
Was for the Priest, the Paraclete,
The myrrh for the body’s burying.

And the mother wondered and bowed her head,
And sat as still as a statue of stone,
Her heart was troubled yet comforted,
Remembering what the Angel had said
Of an endless reign and of David’s throne.

Then the Kings rode out of the city gate,
With a clatter of hoofs in proud array;
But they went not back to Herod the Great,
For they knew his malice and feared his hate,
And returned to their homes by another way.”

“The Three Kings”


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – poet – 1807-1882




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


TODAY’S FAYRE – amended

TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday, 21st December 2016


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;


The children were nestled all snug in their beds;

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,


When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.


The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,

Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,


With a little old driver so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:


“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”


As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—


And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.


He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.


His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;


The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.


He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;


He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;


He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”




Clement Clarke Moore – poet – 1779-1863


The massively pro-EU CBI Director General Carolyn Fairbairn has set down business’, industry’s and commerce’s stall in front of PM May, making it crystal clear what her membership requires.  She tells us that her members insist on equal treatment in terms of negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU.  All sectors – from Aviation, Chemicals, life sciences, agriculture and our massive service sector, particularly the City of London, which generates about £70 billion of revenue for the Treasury, must in no way be discriminated against. In so many words M/S Fairbairn tells us UK companies require “barrier-free” access to European Union markets after Brexit.


The CBI insists that there must be access to skilled labour.  Any idea of capping immigration could result in sacrificing membership of the European Economic Area. Without mincing her words M/S Fairbairn is really asking the UK to rescind its decision to leave the EU. This is totally understandable.  It is best start from impossible demands rather than capitulate at the first hurdle of difficulty. I get the impression that the minimum requirement is access to the single market. Certainly top EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, has made it clear the EU will be playing hard-ball and there are NO CONCESSIONS on the table nor will there be.


Clearly the CBI believes there are serious concerns in the business community about disruption if the day after the UK leaves the EU, its final ‘deal’ is not complete, with all trading and regulatory issues fully ironed out. The UK must not take its leave piece-meal.   Tariffs must be negotiated at the minimal level. Much concern has been expressed over the financial sector and just to draw an analogy how it must be treated with equal importance as any other sector. This approach is possibly naïve with agriculture employing less than 500k people. Conversely financial services employs more than a million around the country. Farming adds £8.5bn to the value of the UK economy, financial services £120bn.

Farming’s Brexit concerns are very different. Agriculture is worried about potential average tariffs of 22.5% on meat imposed on non-EU countries and needs access to low-skilled labour to harvest and process food. The protection of the UK’s needs will be down to skilful negotiations.  The rhetoric on both sides has become tense, acrid and counterproductive. The EUU has 500 million mouths to feed and trade on behalf of.


Much as M/S Fairbairn’s and the CBI’S ideals are very laudable I am less than convinced that they are pragmatic.  Financial services could be our ace in the hole in terms of negotiation.  Therefore to achieve a satisfactory result for the UK’S full requirements may mean financial services having to take ‘a seat in the front of the house’ figuratively speaking.  The City of London had built up an infrastructure over 70 years. Though I am told Japanese, US and European banks are looking to bail out of London in their thousands, I think this might just be an exaggeration.  Frankfurt is a town it would take a decade to build the required infrastructure and Paris 5 years.  This is not arrogance on my part, this is fact. London is the centre of the time zone, English the international language of the world.  People LOVE working here.  They are settled and we are the BEST at financial services.  Let’s talk and let all parties be sensible.



Economic data this week – Wednesday – US MBA Mortgage applications, US Existing Home Sales, Thursday – Gfk Consumer Confidence, US Initial Jobless Claims, Friday – US NEW Home Sales and Univ 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

MARKET UPDATE – such as there is!

I wish I could write you all a long diatribe about what has gone on in the stock market today, but it would all be a figment of my imagination.  It is dead!  It has been like pulling teeth all day. Most investors, when considering the roller coaster ride markets have had this year – Chinese growth short-fall, BREXIT, oil prices doubling, gold up about 30% finishing with an increase in US rates and finally the election of a very ‘left field’ President-elect Trump – will close their books off delighted to have reached the 7k threshold.

At 3.07pm the FTSE is up 10 points at 7021. Evraz, Roman Abramovich’s mining operation has dropped 17% today. No idea why?  No doubt it will come out in the wash. DRAX is 8.5% better – again apart from more buyers than sellers, I have little to bring to the party.  I assume there is a positive note posted today, but no one wants to gossip! Greencore is up 10% and Ashtead is 4.5% easier as UBS posts a ‘SELL’ notice! It has been a typical Yuletide session.


All good wishes for Christmas!



TODAY’S FAYRE – Monday, 19th December 2016


The Walrus and the Carpenter

Were walking close at hand;

They wept like anything to see

Such quantities of sand:

“If this were only cleared away,”

They said, “it would be grand!”


“If seven maids with seven mops

Swept it for half a year.

Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,

“That they could get it clear?”

“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,

And shed a bitter tear.


“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”

The Walrus did beseech.

“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,

Along the briny beach:

We cannot do with more than four,

To give a hand to each.”


The eldest Oyster looked at him,

But never a word he said:

The eldest Oyster winked his eye,

And shook his heavy head–

Meaning to say he did not choose

To leave the oyster-bed.


But four young Oysters hurried up,

All eager for the treat:

Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,

Their shoes were clean and neat–

And this was odd, because, you know,

They hadn’t any feet.


Four other Oysters followed them,

And yet another four;

And thick and fast they came at last,

And more, and more, and more–

All hopping through the frothy waves,

And scrambling to the shore.”


    Lewis Carroll – poet & author – 1886-1967


I had absolutely no intention of writing a piece today having written one on Sunday, but there are a fair few issues to comment on.


Firstly at the age of 99, Zsa Zsa Gabor, one of the last of the decorative Hollywood icons, sadly passed away. She had been confined to a wheel chair with a part amputation in recent years. She had been married 9 times. She was known more for her whit and acerbic comments than her Thespian prowess. Her third husband was George Sanders, one of the many English matinee idols around Hollywood in those days, including David Niven, James Mason and Christopher Lee. He was a suave as silk and I suspect his liaison with Gabor was tempestuous. I shall never forget George Sanders’s voice over of ‘Shir Khan’ the tiger in the film of ‘The Jungle Book.’


Having made a splash on Saturday that Japanese banks were packing their bags to leave London for the EU out of frustration and lack of clarity on the UK’S proposed defection from the EU, I would have been surprised if the FT had not followed up with another jingoistic article to the effect that banks are looking to exit the UK heading ‘hot-foot’ for the EU for the same reason Japanese banks are, such is the intensity of it support for the EU.


These threats are starting to sound hollow such is the intensity of the threats which are being made with monotonous regularity. All sides really need to calm down. Comments are far too acerbic and they will end up being counterproductive. I realise that I am hardly even a pawn in this intriguing game of financial chess, but I meet very few people wringing their hands in anguish at the prospect of losing gargantuan amounts of business to the EU hinterland. Most people are far more concerned about how their staff is going to get to work, courtesy of this ludicrous and unjustified strike than they are about BREXIT.


Gentle folk there is more than 2 years to go. I accept that some clarity would be beneficial to all. I also accept that a few contingency plans will be made resulting in a few people relocating in Frankfurt and Paris etc. However the rhetoric on both sides has been truly frightful and very counterproductive. There needs to be grown up negotiations without intolerable arrogance. The EU thinks that it has the whip hand giving Messrs Barnier and Juncker license to trap off. I am not sure it does. I think, if I were them I might show a tiny bit of humility with France far from long odds against Le Pen winning and Chancellor Merkel is far from a ‘nailed-on’ certainty to be re-elected. I believe that a little calm and circumspection might be the order of the day. I think it might be just be sensible for many of these banks to reflect in a balanced way before “throwing the baby out with the bath water!” I must confess to being a little anxious that the BBA’s Anthony Browne enthusiasm to inform us that the banks’ hands are quivering over the relocation button. This level of hysteria seem just a little precipitous to me.


The activity in markets both in Asia and in Europe today appeared to be almost funereal in terms of pace. The Nikkei closed near enough flat and the ASX had gained about 0.5%. Trading in China was virtually moribund with the Hang Seng closing own 0.9% and the Shanghai Composite just a smidgen below the Plimsoll line – down 0.18%. At 2.00pm GMT the FTSE was unchanged at 7011. It was quiet but investors were holding their nerve, despite President-Elect Trump still goading the Chinese authorities. This time it was again through the good offices of ‘twitter’ in saying ‘China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.’


There were a few nuggets of information to capture the imagination. Firstly time is running out for RBS efforts to sell Williams & Glyn by the end of the year. The 314 branches are valued at about £1.7 billion; many believe that price tag is too rich. Maybe £900 million is nearer the mark. Clydesdale seems reluctant to move. So maybe RBS will need to sell other assets to appease Brussels. BP paid $2.2 billion to secure 10% of an Abu Dhabi oil field for 40 years. Bank haters wmay be delighted that Deutsche Bank’s management will be holding back a large proportion of this year’s bonus to help pay for the forthcoming $5-$14 billion fine for miss-selling mortgage related securities. Finally Apple is letting be known how displeased it is that the EU is insisting that Ireland claims $13 billion in back taxation. Apple has only paid 1%. Ireland’s standard rate of corporation tax is 12.5%. One suspects that when the dust settles this taxation may well be repatriated to the US if Trump gets his way with cutting corporation tax from 35% to 15% within 2 years.

Economic data this week – Monday – US Markit PMI services, Tuesday – BOJ Rate Meeting, Wednesday – US MBA Mortgage applications, US Existing Home Sales, Thursday – Gfk Consumer Confidence, US Initial Jobless Claims, Friday – US NEW Home Sales and Univ of Michigan Consumer Confidence.

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & co D +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


TODAY’S FAYRE – Sunday, 18th December 2016


“The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat,

They took some honey, and plenty of money,

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,

And sang to a small guitar,

“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,

What a beautiful Pussy you are,

You are,

You are!

What a beautiful Pussy you are!”



Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!

How charmingly sweet you sing!

O let us be married! too long we have tarried:

But what shall we do for a ring?”

They sailed away, for a year and a day,

To the land where the Bong-Tree grows

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood

With a ring at the end of his nose,

His nose,

His nose,

With a ring at the end of his nose.



“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling

Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”

So they took it away, and were married next day

By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,

Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,

They danced by the light of the moon,

The moon,

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.”


Edward Lear – poet & author – 1812-1888


Yesterday, I spent a wonderful afternoon racing with friends at the Ascot Christmas meeting.  However my judgement was impaired in all races but one! There was a horse of JP McManus – ‘Regal Encore’, trained by Anthony Honeyball, ridden by Barry Geraghty, with an appalling record – PPO-PP!  But I heard he was potentially a decent tool. So I invested a parsimonious sum of £3 each way just to say I was – It netted me a £134.40p from the Tote!


As we start the final week leading up to Christmas, I am extremely happy that I am not PM May and more to the point she, as a human being, has my sympathies.  Her problems pile up by the day. Firstly we seem to have the most inept set of world leaders, who have just watched Putin’s hob-nailed-boots stamp deep and uncomfortable prints all over strategic places of importance without the West taking any kind of meaningful action and no!, I am not suggesting anything remotely jingoistic as military engagement. There been many conversations between the avuncular John Kerry and the austere Sergey Lavrov – Both respectfully are oily rags and not engine drivers. Maybe the new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will break the ice allowing Putin and Trump to have some sort of sensible dialogue – though the mind boggles! Security and cyber-hacking surely comes somewhere near top of the agenda. One wonders what President Obama has been doing with his time over the past eight years. He seems to have abrogated any responsibility towards foreign policy.


However for Mrs May her problems domestically seem to be growing by the day. Firstly the RMT and other affiliates are giving it their very best shot to bring the government to its knees. Their attitude towards the public is a disgrace. I am less than convinced that the public gives a tinker’s damn about guards, if a push comes to a shove. This current and tiresome disruption takes us back to the miners’ strikes in 1981. We seem to have heard very little from TUC boss Frances O’Grady. The silence has been deafening. Frankly Mrs May could have missed a trick by not imposing emergency laws to curb crippling strikes.


The vacuum over the decision to leave the EU is beginning to gather momentum. Many in her party are frustrated with the lack of progress.  The opposition is starting to mass its troops in an obstreperous manner. We read in yesterday’s FT that the Japanese banks have demanded clarity or they will move parts of their operations within 6 months.  Thirty years ago that would have been a real blow – there were 26 banks making a huge contribution to the city’s expansion and relevance.  Today, though regrettable, it may not be an insurmountable problem, as the emphasis of much of Japan’s financial business, not associated with car assembly in UK, has headed back ‘East’ or in New York. Nonetheless any impulsive action by these Japanese institutions would be regrettable.


Finally this week on the feisty subject of EU membership there is growing evidence that those powerful factions devastated by the decision to leave the EU – both political, business and diplomatic – are doing such a fine job to subvert the will of the electorate.  They have been very clever, totally legally, in attempting to sabotage or postpone indefinitely the process. Many in the country now believe that the whole procedure to leave the EU may be become so complicated, that it might prove to be impossible to deliver without wrecking the UK’s economy! God help democracy if that is the case!  Happy Christmas, PM!


Though the advances made by global stock markets were fairly modest last week in comparison to the week before, sentiment remained fairly positive as investors seemed very confident to hang their hats on the Trump peg of ‘ Make America Great Again!’ It may be an isolationist’s approach, but it certainly has attracted money from funds which previously seemed more than happy to sit on their hands by continuing to invest in indices which have enjoyed P/E ratios of between 18 to 21 times earnings. Last week it was reported that no less than $20.5 billion of funds moved from US bonds to the equity markets.  The trump dream of progressive growth lives on despite a somewhat worrying undiplomatic and scornful approach in its relationship towards China. I hope Mr Trump learns quite quickly that China’s continued rate of growth is an integral part of the success of the world’s economy. Nonetheless it appears a rather bizarre attitude seems to be prevailing – let’s just think about today and to hell with ‘jam tomorrow!’


In summary last week the S&P 500 ended the week just above the Plimsoll line, though the DOW broke new record ground. The FTSE was 0.83% to the good in the same period and European stocks improved by 1% with Japan’s Nikkei adding a very measurable 2.13% thanks in the main to a weaker Yen which benefited export stocks such as cars. Gold had a torrid time falling by $21 an ounce to $1137. Oil, after a significant rally post the non-OPEC agreement settle as follows – Nymex at $51.50 and Brent at $54.99. After the FOMC eventually raised the FED rate to between 0.5% and 0.75%, the bond market saw yields move uncomfortably higher. In London the FTSE pushed its head through the 7000 threshold with the usual suspects making their presence felt – oil and mining playing a decent spear carrying role.  However many of our banks have crept up on the rails adding between 15% and 20% since the US Presidential election, with the exception of Lloyds (11%) and HSBC (6%).



There were two major deals – one fact; the other maybe a figment of imagination and gossip – that captured investors’ interest with 21st Century bidding probably successfully for the remaining 61% of Sky hitting the neon lights.  There has been criticism that Sky’s directors capitulated too easily to the 1075p bid, valuing the company at £18 billion.  However prior to the bid, Sky shares had drifted from 1100p to 690p until last week’s bid.  Admittedly the drop in the Pound made Sky look cheap, but the pressure was on against BT relentless push in to the sporting arena.  Frankly BT should have put some of this cash in to providing the country with a decent broadband and internet service.  What we have in this country is virtually mediaeval. Many politicians are very concerned that too much power in the media has fallen in to Murdoch’s hands.  All I can say is that Murdoch, News Corpn and Sky have created thousands of jobs, giving the public what they want.  Others have struggled to provide the same service on a commercial basis.  Whilst this deal was on I think James Murdoch should have backed away from being chairman of Sky temporarily – conflict of interest.  I am also quite surprised that Sky’s interest in its German and Italian subsidiaries was not challenged by their respective governments, particularly as Mediaset is fighting off Vivendi’s overtures. Apparently ValueAct, the US hedge fund, provided added assistance its 6.3% stake in 21st Century.


Mondelez International Inc. jumped in extended trading on a report that the global snack giant may be acquired by Kraft Heinz Co., the food company backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Jorge Paulo Lemann’s 3G Capital. Mondelez surged 9.7 percent to $47 at 4:27 p.m. in New York. Kraft Heinz advanced 1.9 percent.

Deutsche Bank will be cutting most bonuses this year to help pay for the toxic loans fine. That will help marginally appease “bank haters!” On the good news from BP has agreed a deal with Abu Dhabi worth £1.9 billion to secure its share of oil output for the next 40 years.




Economic data this week – Monday – US Markit PMI services, Tuesday – BOJ Rate Meeting, Wednesday – US MBA Mortgage applications, US Existing Home Sales, Thursday – Gfk Consumer Confidence, US Initial Jobless Claims, Friday – US NEW Home Sales and Univ 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




As we head towards Yuletide there is not much in the way of Christmas spirit around in the corridors of power in Whitehall, Hollyrood and most of all in Brussels and Strasbourg. The stench of fear and the acrid rhetoric on both sides is breathtakingly obstinate and catastrophically counterproductive.


Let’s spend a few moments analyzing some simple facts. The greatest tragedy was that David Cameron came back from Brussels in February with very little to placate ‘LEAVE’ supporters!  He knew it and more to the point Chancellor Merkel and the boorishly offensive Juncker knew that he returned without even a tasty scrap from Lazarus’s table.  What was even more exasperating was the fact that Merkel, Hollande and Juncker were more than cogniscent that if push came shove, France, Holland, Italy and Greece would take their leave of the EU should they to be given the minimum excuse to do so.  With that in mind, you might have been forgiven for thinking that some reform was a pre-requisite. What I find reprehensible is that the EU had zero interest in talking any kind substantial reform.


The number of terminological inexactitudes spouted by both ‘Remain’ & ‘Leave’ was unacceptable. Fear played a matinee idol role for the ‘Remain’ camp and immigration played a disproportionately strong hand for ‘Leave.’ The media has been badly split and there has been little or no evidence that it has been neutral. Hence the temperature has risen almost daily in the last couple of months, with everyone disagreeably screaming at PM May to implement Article 50, which is challenging when the EU refuses to talk about anything until the starting gun has been fired.


‘REMAIN’ are finding it hard to control their mirth at the difficulties being encountered by the Government and clearly hope the democratic vote to leave the EU is either sabotaged or irrevocably damaged. Shortly after the 23rd June, Lord O’Donnell made it very clear that he thought negotiations would take a decade.  Then Lord John Hill threw his toys out of the pram and resigned his key appointment within the EU.  Then today Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK Ambassador at the EU endorsed the feeling that a new agreement would be unlikely to be ratified inside a decade. These mandarins are entitled to their opinions. They are clever, experienced people.  But never in 72 years on this earth have I ever met civil servants more determined to add fuel to the EU’s cause and credibility to its fire.


There is no doubt that any post-Brexit agreement was going to fraught with danger. However these officials and political ‘bad losers’ have been devastated by this result. It is repugnant to them and they refuse to accept the decision taken with good grace. This attitude fires up some TV stations’ band and the REMAIN press, which gives the EU all the momentum required to be as truculent and uncooperative as possible.


Whether it is the City, business, industry or commerce, there is too much doom and gloom.  The end of the world is nigh. I admit there has been some unpleasantness from UKIP and from those with strong views on immigration, which I do not in any way personally support.  However both sides of the Referendum argument are letting themselves down and making a rod for their back. We are all Brexiteers now. Whatever their Lordships decision is or for that matter the objections of the Gina Millers and Lord Mandelsons of this world, a decision has been made. We need to rally round the flag and support the government of the day. The EU thinks it is in an unassailable position and that it holds all the aces.  They don’t! The EU is creaking at every seam. France could leave next April, if Le Pen wins the election.


Sir Ivan Rogers’ comments may be true but we must find a way of circumventing that potential eventuality. Failure by both sides to be conciliatory could have a very damaging effect in terms of economic activity. It strikes me that war has been declared before the battle lines have been drawn up. At best Juncker and Barnier are unpleasant.  Nonetheless we must be courteous at all times, always giving the impression to the world at large that we have given it our best shot to find common cause. I am particularly upbeat about the City. ‘Passporting’ may (and I did not say won’t) be an irrelevance. The only other centre the City will lose business to, is New York. So much this morning was made of Lloyds of London opening up offices in the EU.  It may be sensible housekeeping to send 100 people to accommodate rigorous regulation but it is not going to move the earth on its axis. There are hundreds of years of history and infrastructure in the world of insurance in London.


I have been accused by some press and market friends of being arrogant and lacking in humility. If so I apologise.  I wish at all time to be fair and objective with my comments – never obtuse or objectionable. Consequently ‘high-handedness’ is an unattractive trait.  I hope Juncker and Barnier learn quickly with the rest of us! Unpleasant contagion is gathering momentum over BREXIT and it will get worse if it is not nicked in the bud!




Name 31/12/2015 07/11/2016 14/12/2016 7/11-14/12
MITSUBISHI UFJ FINL.GP. 757.1 529.4 749 41.5%
DEUTSCHE BANK 22.585 12.928 17.59 36.1%
BANK OF AMERICA 16.83 17.01 22.67 33.3%
SUMITOMO MITSUI FINL.GP. 4606 3540 4700 32.8%
GOLDMAN SACHS GP. 180.23 181.48 239.93 32.2%
MORGAN STANLEY 31.81 34 42.86 26.1%
COMMERZBANK 9.598 6.256 7.637 22.1%
JP MORGAN CHASE & CO. 66.03 69.88 84.73 21.3%
CREDIT SUISSE GROUP N 21.69 12.62 15.3 21.2%
UBS GROUP 19.52 13.71 16.57 20.9%
WELLS FARGO & CO 54.36 45.4 54.7 20.5%
BARCLAYS 218.9 185.2 221.75 19.7%
CITIGROUP 51.75 49.82 59.45 19.3%
UNICREDIT 4.921 2.228 2.63 18.0%
ROYAL BANK OF SCTL.GP. 302 186.5 217.4 16.6%
LLOYDS BANKING GROUP 73.07 56.07 62.76 11.9%
BANCO SANTANDER 4.506 4.373 4.888 11.8%
INTESA SANPAOLO 3.088 2.124 2.366 11.4%
DANSKE BANK 185.2 202.7 215.1 6.1%
HSBC HDG. (ORD $0.50) 536.2 622.3 659.3 5.9%
STANDARD CHARTERED 563.7 649.2 682.8 5.2%
BBVA BANCO FRANCES 91 97.7 91.8 -6.0%
BANCA MONTE DEI PASCHI 123.2 25.78 20.06 -22.2%





Simon French


TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday, 15th December 2016


“Have you forgotten yet?…

For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,

Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:

And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow

Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go,

Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.

But the past is just the same–and War’s a bloody game…

Have you forgotten yet?…

Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.


Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz–

The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?

Do you remember the rats; and the stench

Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench–

And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?

Do you ever stop and ask, ‘Is it all going to happen again?’

Do you remember that hour of din before the attack–

And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then


As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?

Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back

With dying eyes and lolling heads–those ashen-grey

Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

Have you forgotten yet?…

Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget.”


    Siegfried Sassoon – poet & soldier – 1886-1967


I have always been a tremendous devotee of the Donmar Theatre. Occasionally they go ‘left field’ or ‘off-piste’ if you prefer with some of their productions. The Josie O’Rourke interpretation of George Bernard Shaw’s ‘St Joan’ was both – it was also truly awful and excruciatingly boring. I remember seeing the Jean Seberg portraying her in the film versions. That was another ‘match-stick jobby’ – hence I was prepared to try again. I am sure Gemma Arterton is a wonderful actress – a pity she did not get a chance to show us her talent. Her day will come. The only star of the evening was Bloomberg’s Mark Barton who relayed fictitious egg and cattle prices on the screen with great gusto and panache! The evening was an experience best forgotten!

So FED chairman Janet Yellen and her FOMC board finally got their act together and raised the FED rate to between 0.5% and 0.75%. M/S Yellen is ultra-cautious and conveys the impression that she needs to call a board meeting before putting one foot in front of the other. She has been consistent in saying that any rate hike would only be implemented subject to the quality of the data – Payroll, Inflation, wages and construction/manufacturing. However she has not been consistent with her forecasting. Last year Yellen forecasted four hikes in 2016. I think last night’s was the first of the year. The FED intimated there may be three hikes in 2017 and in 3 years’ time the FED rate could hit 3%. US equity markets were slightly ‘non-plus’ with the comments and eased by an average of 0.5%. The FED should be commended for weaning its economy off QE, allowing it eventually to stand on its own two feet. However this policy is in contrast to the rest of the world, who seem hell-bent on hanging on to Central banks’ A&E facilities. US banks’ shares’ reaction was mixed – Wells Fargo -2%, JP Morgan and Citibank both -0.5%. However since 8th November – Presidential election day Goldman Sachs is up 21% as is JP Morgan. Citibank has rallied by 23% and Wells Fargo by 20%!


In the same period the following European banks performed well but not as ebulliently as their US counterparts. HSBC +11.8%, Barclays +21.5%, Lloyds Banking Group 11.1%, RBS +19.1%, Standard Chartered Bank +8.8%, Deutsche Bank +47%, UBS +15.6%. So the market seems none too concerned about BREXIT or do the ‘Doubting Thomases’ think this expansion of business will take place from the hinterland of EU!


Yesterday the FTSE was on top of its game adding 78 points with the banks leading the charge. However there was a degree of disappointment in Carphone Dixon’s figures presented by that ultra-Europhile Sir Charles Dunstane, who was very downbeat about the future – shares fell by 4.98%. It also emerged that Punch Taverns became embroiled in a takeover battle in an eternal triangle of lovers. The two ‘Beaux’ were very different in pedigree. The bid is valued at circa £410 million and the two predators are Heineken and Alan McIntosh the Co-Founder of Punch and of Spirit Group; the latter was sold to Greene King. His bid was made by his investment company Emerald. There are 3,300 pubs in the Punch group and this company has turned round a loss last year of £120 million to a profit this year of £60 million. Heineken would split the group into two. They would take 1895 pubs and put them into their Star Pub Group and the rest would go to Patron Capital advisors. The shares rose by over 30% yesterday to £174p, but the outcome is far from certain. Punch Taverns have been highly leveraged. A takeover of this nature would alleviate a little pressure from the balance sheet.


The second cyber-attack on Yahoo!’s clients, supposedly involving 1 billion users and contacts is very regrettable and CEO Marissa Mayer’s reputation will look rather damaged and tarnished if it prevents Verizon from buying its operating business for the pre-agreed price of $4.83 billion. There were a numbers of company results this morning which were on the whole quite sound – Just Eat bough HungryHouse for £200 million and Centrica posted a really encouraging trading statement. Go-Ahead and Petrofac slightly disappointed. 888 Holding’s efforts were solid. Vivendi already owns 20% of Mediaset but would like to own it lock stock and barrel. It seems unlikely that Mr Berlusconi would countenance such an idea. At 10.00am the FTSE was trading down 10 points at 6940. Gold continues to drift – down 0.6% at $1137 an ounce.


There was some delightfully playful speculation in an article written by Hugo Duncan in the Daily Mail on who might succeed Robert Swannell as chairman of M&S. Mr Swannell has been there for 6 years and probably allowed Marc Bolland to outstay his welcome. When he started his tenure M&S’S share price was 307p. It went to 597p in May 2015 and back down to 348p.  Amongst the runners and riders to succeed as chairman is Kate Swann, the former CEO of WH Smith. She is attractively priced at 7/1, though Sir Charlie Mayfield (he of John Lewis fame) is the ‘red-hot-jolly!’


UK Companies posting results this week – Thursday – Petrofac, Tungsten, PZ Cussons, Go-Ahead, Centrica, Just Eat, 888 Holdings, Friday – Trinity Mirror

 US Companies posting interim results this week – Thursday – Oracle, Adobe Systems

 Economic data this week – Thursday – MPC Meeting, UK Retail Sales, CBI Industrial order expectations, Friday – US Housing starts & Trade Balance

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & co D +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


As the DOW ploughs through the 19k threshold for the first time, the euphoria on the Street of Dreams seems to be as about as contagious as the Great Plague was in London in 1665. It doesn’t matter that I don’t get it. Whilst the Dollar remains strong and punters think Trump, in terms of business confidence, is the ‘dogs’ testicles’ this market is unlikely to have a major reversal until there is some bad news or Congress rejects his early legislation or Putin starts being overly zealous and jingoistic in re-locating his nuclear weaponry in places of political and strategic discomfort. Let’s hope that the appointment of Rex Tillerson as ‘Secretary of State’, makes that an unlikely eventuality.  His relationship with ‘Vlad’ suggests that a combination of appeasement and détente has a real chance of working! We shall see!  The threat of higher rates (+0.25%) in the FOMC FED rate seems irrelevant.


Few stocks in London were initially prepared to make a move. The market opened 6 points to the good.  When it became clear that the US futures had some legs before the opening, the FTSE cracked on. At the close the FTSE 100 was up 1.1% – 78 points at 6968. Oils were flat apart from Royal Dutch Shell was up 1%.  Mining stocks did not even play a spear carrying role. Banks (Lloyds +1.9%, HSBC +1.3%) were in good form and drugs (GSK +1.1%, Shire +2.8) attempted to come out of the doldrums. It was the likes of Unilever (2.6%), Diageo (+2%) and Reckitt Benkiser (+2.8%) that put their best foot forward.


The fact that Robert Swannell will be slinging his hook as chairman of M&S saw the retailer’s share bounce by 1.1%. Carpetright had another shocker losing 7% after indifferent numbers. Just after the European close the DOW was up 80 points having been up 120 early doors. UK Inflation bounced on annualised basis to 1.2% from 6% the previous month.  The 18% drop in the value of the Pound is starting to adversely affect food clothing and petrol prices (Oil up 6% in the last month). Unicredit raised its €13 billion rights issue and will hose out 14k staff. Shares closed up 15.9%.