TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday, 2nd February 2017
“I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what’s really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead, Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.
The mind blanks at the glare.
Not in remorse —The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always.
Not to be here, Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.
This is a special way of being afraid No trick dispels.
Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says
No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.
And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without People or drink.
Courage is no good: It means not scaring others.
Being brave Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.
Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done. Postmen like doctors go from house to house.”
Philip Larkin – poet – 1922-1985
Veni Vidi vici – PM certainly negotiated the first hurdle in the Commons – verily pinged it in a spring-healed manner, but now the road to Valhalla (BREXIT) looks very challenging, with the ground looking as if it will get heavier and heavier. She will need to get four miles in a bog to get to the finishing line unscathed. I just hope for her sakes that her colleagues rise to the occasion and don’t end up looking like handicappers trying to run in Grade One races. Certainly David Davis looks like an improving sort, who may run very well, encouraged by seeing the ‘persuader’ out of the corner of his eye!
How ironic that the voting day should coincide with Sir Ivan Rogers giving evidence to the BREXIT Select committee. He may well be the intellectual egg-head to end all egg-heads. I know he has a duty of care to tell us that the negotiations will be fraught with danger and are so complicated and difficult for the average ‘John Doe’ to comprehend. However his presentation is so lugubrious and dispiriting, you wonder in his case, if life is worth living. Maybe a long holiday will bring Sir Ivan back on to the bridle enabling him to embrace the joys of spring. Meanwhile welcome Sir Tim Barrow!
RIP Sir Ken Morrison – the salt of the Yorkshire and Bradford earth and a brilliant retailer. When he agreed to pay £3 billion for Safeway in 2004, the regulator took 10 months to approve it and that delay all but ruined the business. However the hiring of Marc Bolland from Heineken quickly put this supermarket back on track.
Most people expected some sort of ‘dead-cat-bounce’ in London yesterday, the market having felt a little oversold. By lunchtime the FTSE 100 was up in excess of fifty points with mining and the oil sector on good terms with itself. Anyway with an eye on New York, which did not appear to have much stomach for the fight, the FTSE 100 shed all but 8 points to close at 7118! TalkTalk’s Dame Dido Harding threw in the towel after 7 years at the helm earning an average salary of about £3 million a year. She hands over to her number 2 Tristia Harrison, the wife of Deputy CEO of Dixon Carphone and Sir Charles Dunstone becomes chairman. It all seems rather cosy and charmingly incestuous! Shares bounced by 7%. I was never quite sure whether the Baroness quite recovered from TalkTalk’s hacking scandal. A profits warning sent Wizz Air 9.3% lower.
In New York it was much ado about nothing with investors purring over Apple’s improved performance which saw the market quickly ramping up their shares by 5.5%. Also Facebook posted encouraging numbers – +2.23%. The rest seemed to be on FOMC watch. Chairman Yellen announced no change in rates and she further stated that “Measures of consumer and business sentiment have improved of late,” The language was new, and in the arcane process of discerning where the thinking resides among central bankers, it was significant. I think we can still expect two rate hikes in 2017. The session in New York ended as follows – DOW: 19,890 +0.14% +0.65% (Y/O/Y), S&P: 2,279 +0.03% +1.82% (Y/O/Y, NASDAQ: 5,152 +0.70% +5.94% (Y/O/Y).
In Asia China remains closed for New Year. Other markets were mixed with a strong Yen adversely affecting the NIKKEI – NIKKEI: 18,914 -1.22% -1.05% (Y/O/Y), HANG SENG: 23,168 -0.61% +5.3% (Y/O/Y), CHINA: 3,387 CLOSED +2.35% (Y/O/Y), ASX: 5,645 -0.14% -0.36% (Y/O/Y).
SIMON FRENCH, Panmure’s Chief Economists comments on today’s MPC/INFLATION REPORT –
“The MPC vote is highly likely to be unanimous for no change to bank rate and the QE program. There is a slight chance that Kristin Forbes could vote for a 25bp hike but with such uncertainty over A50 and Trump reflation then think highly unlikely as little upside from surprising markets.
The combination of GBP weakness and (energy and food) commodity inflation will mean that inflation expectations will be upgraded – to around 3% by year end – and highly likely that the MPC will provide some indication – probably in the press conference – of how tolerant they will be on inflation above this level.
Today the risks are to the upside for GBP which could move higher still on short covering if it’s a hawkish report. In this respect it is an inverse of the GDP report last week where good news (0.6% GDP) was never going to drive GBP/ UK small mid cap higher. This time a dovish report won’t be taken badly but giving the market “the eyes” on 25bps over the next 12 months will be bullish for currency and domestic equities.”
The Bank of England is expected to upgrade GDP for 2017 from 1.4% to 1.7%. There were another slew of earnings today. Suffice to say that greater minds than mine are there to analyse. I would just comment on Royal Dutch Shell. Though headline numbers were slightly disappointing – profits down 8%, the balance sheet is in good nick and it appears that BG has been bedded down and the asset disposal programme of $30 billion is underway. The most important matter is that it looks as though the dividend will be maintained in 2017 – shares up 1.5%. As for Vodafone, until it gets involved in media, many believe this company’s share price is going nowhere. Mobile competition is fierce and margins are being eroded – shares down 0.5%. At 9.00am the FTSE was up 9 points at 7127.
UK companies posting interim results this week – Thursday – Astra Zeneca, Royal Dutch Shell, Vodafone, Compass, Aberdeen Asset Management, Johnson Matthey, Friday – Beazley
US companies posting interim results – Thursday – Fred’s, Amgen, Philip Morris, Merck, Cigna, CME, Ralph Lauren, Motorola, Friday – Hershey, Weyerhaueser
Economic data posted this week – Thursday – UK PMI Construction, BOE Inflation Report & MPC, Friday – UK PMI Non-manufacturing, US PMI Services
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