TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 21sth February 2017
“Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.”
John Keats – poet – 1795-1821
Whenever I hear Lord Mandelson I keep thinking to myself that his is a modern day Malvolio! – Devious and duplicitous but thoroughly plausible. He did know his Europe and may still do so from a trade commissioner’s perspective, but my Dear Lord, we have moved on and you must stay up with the pace of public opinion and help rather that attempt to throw a spanner in the works with a negative outlook.
I much enjoyed watching PM May overlooking proceedings in the Lords yesterday, greatly comforted by seeing Lord Fowler, hopefully doing all he can as Leader, to stop matters getting out of hand!
Yesterday there was an excellent interview by BBC’S John Humphrys of Lord John Hill, David Cameron’s EU Commissioner, who threw his toys out of the pram when UK voted BREXIT. It is such a pity that such a quality diplomat resigned. He was crystal clear that a deal could be struck with the EU, but it would be very difficult. At least he was not like Sir Ivan Rogers, who implied it was impossible. What a pity he is not there to help, particularly with the financial sector.
With New York shut for President’s day, European bourses were suffering from inertia yesterday, with the FTSE closing all but flat. Let me blaze straight in to HSBC’S thoroughly disappointing results, with profits down 62% from circa $18 billion to $7.1 billion. Now I understand that the cost of capital has increased with banks needing double the amount to do the same business as they did 8 years ago. I ‘get it’ that low interest rates don’t help; nor do litigation, PPI and money laundering fines. I also realise that that divesting from Brazil was an expensive occupational hazard. But for Chairman Douglas Flint to have blamed the vagaries of BREXIT, Donald Trump and the French election on HSBC’S indifferent performance is ludicrous. The effect of BREXIT, Mme Le-Pen and isolationism won’t be felt for some months. Also the fall in the value of the Pound and the strength of the Dollar should have really helped HSBC’S earnings. Also what ever happened to this wonderful Asian base for earnings?
HSBC UK has a new chairman in Dame Clara Furse and a new CEO in Ian Stuart. Flint confirmed that 1000 people would be moved as a precaution re BREXIT to Paris in the next 2 years. 8,000 jobs will go in the UK and 50,000 globally from 2015 over a 5 year cycle. HSBC is to close another 62 branches in the UK on top of 223 already closed last year. HSBC hopes to save another $5 billion of costs annually. The shares have risen by 58 in the last year until these results were posted. The shares fell 6.5%. I was VERY disappointed – poor effort. Chairman Douglas Flint goes this year and CEO Stuart Gulliver the CEO next year. Maybe it is time for a change. Other banks fell by an average of 2% in sympathy.
There were great results from BHP Billiton and Anglo-American both up 2%+ and also IHG pleased its acolytes – +3% at 9.00am. The FTSE 100 -25 points at 7275, thanks to HSBC!
Asian Markets today & YTD at 8.00am – NIKKEI 19,381 +0.68 +1.4%, HANG SENG 24,029 -0.48% +9.22%, CHINA 3,483 +0.35% +5.21%, ASX 5,791 -0.07 +2.21%
UK companies posting interim results this week – Tuesday – InterContinental Hotels Group, Vernalis, HSBC, Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Galliford, Wednesday –Lloyds Banking Group, Barratt Development, Weir, Serco, Barratt Development, Hays, McBride, Metro Bank, Thursday – Barclays, Intu, Rathbones, Monetise, Howden Joinery, BAE Systems, BATS, Glencore, National Express, Centrica, RSA, Kaz Minerals, Friday – Standard Life, Pearson, Wm Hill, Standard Chartered Bank, RBS, Jupiter Fund Management, Rightmove
US companies posting interim results – Monday – American Car-Mart, Tuesday – Macy’s La-Z-Boy, Wal-Mart, Wednesday – Toll Bros, TJX, L-Brands, Tesla, Thursday – Kohl’s, BJ Restaurants, Dynergy, Nordstrom, Friday – JC Penney, Foot Locker,
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