TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday, 12th 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 shades in love and death’s oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
And e’en the dearest–that I loved the best–
Are strange–nay, rather stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil’d 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
Maybe I am being churlish, but surely Sir David Clementi is a rather uninspired choice to become chairman of BBC. Many will recall that he felt the BBC should be run more on commercial grounds with representation internally as well as co-opting external members. He had a very distinguished career at Kleinwort Benson and was a very able deputy Governor of the Bank of England to Eddie George. He has been chairman of Prudential PLC and Virgin Money. As a quintessential chairman he ticks most of the boxes, but the BBC is no ordinary business. It requires a chairman who not only has artistic flair so that he can be Sympatico with the operation, as well as being a hard-nosed commercial chairman who needs to force the management to wake up and smell the corporate coffee, whose aroma is changing by the day. Let’s hope he is not a replication of Lord Patten.
WORDLD ECONOMIC FORUM – DAVOS – Week beginning 16th January 2017. I am going to come off my long run. I need to get this in annual bunfight off my chest once and for all. Delegates – political, economy and business should hang their heads in shame for even contemplate attending. At a cost of £20k a pop, surely taxpayers and shareholders can find something more constructive to do with their money. I am told Davos is the best ‘net-working-jamboree’ on the planet. I don’t doubt it, but it is an insult to working people. I don’t believe that since its inaugural meeting in 1971, that a single decision of any global consequence has ever been agreed. Perhaps the ‘DP’ or the Cristal does not flow like table water any more. Nonetheless life is tough for millions of folk. They should not be disrespected, by having their noses rubbed in the poop.
Last night everyone in the US was waiting for a classic Obama valedictory speech! They were not disappointed. It was of epic proportions. Domestically he will be remembered as a very decent President, but in terms of foreign policy, even his greatest acolytes will feel he fell short, allowing Russia to usurp the US on the international stage. Unemployment has fallen from nearly 8% to 4.7%; that is some achievement, as was the revamping of the auto-industry and health care for millions. Sadly Barack Obama is now history; so investors will probably wait for bated breath for the Gospel according to Donald J Tump, before any more investment decisions are entered in to. So with oil and energy prices drifting there was nothing for the DOW & S&P 500 to hang its hat on yesterday. The DOW eased by 0.16% with the S&P remaining unchanged. The NASDAQ, with healthcare and Apple to the fore, was taken to a new record. Asia was mixed. This morning the ASX and NIKKEI closed in positive territory – +0.19% and +0.33% – with the Shanghai Composite down 0.79% and the Hang Seng +0.84% as they head towards lunch.
Yesterday the FTSE added another 37 points to 7275, with mining stocks to the fore. Yesterday’s session was the 9th ‘up’ session running. Wm Morrison did well, triggering a 3% rise in its share price. This morning there was another slew of earnings – dominated by the retail sector – J Sainsbury, Ted Baker, AO World. Sainsbury’s efforts were better than expected though its market share fell in January to 16.7%. Like for like sales grew by 0.1% excluding fuel in the 3rd quarter. Overall Q3 sales grew by 0.8%. Argos, for whom Sainsbury paid £1.4 billion, proved to be the surprise package – sales up 4.1% and like for like up by 4%, justifying CEO Mike Coupe’s faith in the business.
Foxton’s and Cobham posted horror story numbers and saw they shares larruped by 4.3% having been nearly 10% down and by 13.8% respectively. Cobham briefly was 20% down. AO World pleased its acolytes – +1.9%, as did PageGroup +3.6%. Ted Baker was just ahead of the game – +2.3%. Fenner spurted forward by 4.3%. Having had a great run in the past 3 months which has seen Taylor Wimpey rise by 21%, investors took a little profit that completions were up 4% to 13,881 and cancellation were low at 13%. At 9.55am the FTSE 100 is up 9 points at 77284. On the economic front U.K. November. Manufacturing output rose 1.3%; EST. 0.5% INCREASE and U.K. November Industrial output up 2.1%; EST. 1% increase – all good news by the Pound drifted. VW have agreed a $4.3 billion fine by the US regulator for emission misdemeanours. I suspect the UK will have something to say as will parts of the Far-East.
UK companies posting interim results this week – Thursday – Tesco, M&S, Debenhams, AB Foods, Premier Oil, ASOS, AO World, Henderson Group, Dunelm, SuperGroup, Barratt Development, Hilton Foods, Mothercare, Booker, Hays, Friday – SIG
US companies posting interim results – Wednesday – KB Homes, Thursday – Delta Airlines, Friday – Blackrock, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America
Economic data posted this week – Wednesday – UK industrial production, Manufacturing output, Construction & Goods Trade, Thursday – RICS House prices, Friday, BOE Credit Conditions, US Retail, US Business inventories
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