TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 31st January 2017
“I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes—
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
Even the dearest that I loved the best
Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.”
John Clare – poet – 1793-1864
Fulham played some glorious football against Hull City in the FA Cup last Sunday. They have been rewarded with a home tie against Spurs on the weekend of the 18th February. They don’t come much tougher than that! Last time Spurs came to Craven Cottage they were beaten 4-0 in the FA Cup in 2012, thanks to a moment of madness from Michael Dawson, who just completely lost the plot and was subsequently sent off!
I totally understand about 1.5 million people in the UK registered their contempt and abhorrence of President Trumps ‘shoot from the hip’ immigration policy and have implored the PM to withdraw Her Majesty’s invitation of a State visit. This powerful statement follows in the wake of ferocious protests all over the US. I understand and sympathise with the reasoning behind this feeling of forlorn despair. However I do not comprehend why people are surprised. Donald Trump has been totally consistent for about a year. There have been no ‘left-field’ policies introduced or Exocet missile statements made. Over 50% of voters knew about Trump’s plans and agreed with his policies, thus voting for them!
US business particularly the tech sector and Silicon Valley have totally condemned Trump’s immigration policies with the likes of Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Netflix and Microsoft making their positions abundantly clear. Most have made contingency plans such as they can to protect immigrant employees. It was good to see that Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz, announce that 10,000 immigrants would be hired worldwide. Starbucks has 25,000 outlets in 75 countries. Amazon and Expedia have also backed a law suit against the implementation of immigration restrictions.
Yesterday the political confusion that prevails globally hit equity markets rather hard as positive sentiment dissipated. On the Street of Dreams the DOW fell by 0.61%, the S&P 500 by 0.60% and the NASDAQ by 0.83%. Banks such as Morgan Stanley and Bank of America suffered – down 1.2% and 1.7% respectively. Others to receive some harsh treatment included – Caterpillar and Dupont – both down 2%0 and Chevron by 1.7%. On the tech front Alphabet eased by 2.5% with Facebook and Microsoft easier by 1%. In London the FTSE 100 fell by 66 points to 7118. Losses were more or less across the board. L&G lost 1.64% and Lloyds Banking Group, despite taking taxpayers’ holding down 1% to 4.99% was lower by 1.46%. Not surprisingly Trump’s travel ban hammered many airline stocks – American Airlines -4.4%, Delta -4%, United -3.6%, Air France -2.6% and BA easier by 2.5%. Short-haul carriers were not so adversely affected though Ryanair was down 1.4%. Despite the generally downbeat mood there was still evidence of M&A activity with rumours abounding that US engineering consultant CH2M had approached UK’s WS Atkins over the possibility of a $4 billion merger. Atkins’ shares were up 4.9%. Whilst so many feathers were being ruffled by the prospect of Tesco and Bookers pooling resources even though the CMA will have its two cents worth to say, there is idle gossip that J Sainsbury and Wm Morrison may pool resources. In recent years Vodafone has struggled in India. There are plans afoot to merger resources with Ideal Cellular, having written off $4.3 billion.
Two former HBOS bankers and four other people were found guilty yesterday of a $307 million (£245 million) fraud trial. They are among the first people to have been found guilty for contributing to losses that led to taxpayer-funded rescues of several of Britain’s top banks during the financial crisis. Former HBOS bankers Lynden Scourfield and Mark Dobson, businessmen Michael Bancroft, David Mills and his wife Alison Mills and accountant Tony Cartwright were convicted for various crimes following a five month jury trial in London. Prosecutors had alleged businessmen Bancroft and Mills arranged sex parties, exotic foreign holidays and provided cash in brown envelopes for Scourfield between 2003 and 2007. We all recall that HBOS was rescued in a state-engineered takeover in 2008 by rival Lloyds Banking Group, despite a £5 billion rights issue a few months before. Lloyds subsequently needed a 20 billion pound bailout of its own.
Deutsche Bank has been fined nearly $630m over alleged money laundering in Russia worth $10bn. US and UK regulatory authorities issued the fine yesterday over claims the money was moved out of Russia using so-called mirror trades among the bank’s Moscow, London and New York offices, said New York State’s Department of Financial Services (DFS). The US Department of Justice also is investigating the matter. The fines are the latest development in a string of legal woes for the German banking giant, coming less than two weeks after the bank finalised a $7.2 billion settlement with the Department of Justice over its role in the 2008 global financial crisis.
Finally the City was surprised that Tracy McDermott, once the FCA fierce enforcer of discipline in the banks responsible for PPI and LIBOR misdemeanours was appointed as head lobbyist responsible for regulation, having previously overseen disciplinary action against this bank which was alleged to have behaved poorly in terms of money laundering (fined $300m by US authorities) and other regulatory issues – gamekeeper turned poacher at £500k a year – Nice work!
UK companies posting interim results this week – Tuesday – Carpetright, Ocado, SSE Britvic, Pentair, Wednesday – TalkTalk, Centamin, AG Barr, Thursday – Astra Zeneca, Royal Dutch Shell, Vodafone, Compass, Aberdeen Asset Management, Johnson Matthey, Friday – Beazley
US companies posting interim results – Tuesday – Pfizer, Apple, Aetna, Zimmer, Xerox, Sprint, Exxon Mobil, Valero Energy, UPS, Mastercard, Nasdaq, Wednesday – Ford, Altria, Metlife, Fidelity, Thursday – Fred’s, Amgen, Philip Morris, Merck, Cigna, CME, Ralph Lauren, Motorola, Friday – Hershey, Weyerhaueser
Economic data posted this week – Tuesday – Gfk Consumer Confidence, UK mortgage applications & lending, Wednesday – BRC shop prices, UK PMI Manufacturing, FOMC meeting, Thursday – UK PMI Construction, BOE Inflation Report & MPC, Friday – UK PMI Non-manufacturing, US PMI Services
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