TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday 2nd March 2017
“Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.
Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!
Or is it only the breeze in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?
Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.
Thomas Hardy – author & poet – 1840-1928
It does not look good for the ‘Wiggins/Brailsford’ cycling dream. The defence and explanation offered to the ‘Select Committee’ on the medical treatment for the Sky team appeared to be pitifully short of the level of detail required. They will have to dig a great deal deeper than that to placate a cynical public, which has never quite got over the Lance Armstrong scandal.
I was fortunate enough to attend a Cheltenham preview evening in ‘The Sydney Arms’ sponsored by Rich Ricci and beautifully hosted by Emma Spencer. The panel consisted of Rich Ricci, Joe Tizzard, Nick Luck and Noel Fehily. It was generally felt that ‘Altior’ was the only ‘unbackable’ certainty of the meeting. Joe Tizzard was shy in flagging up either ‘Cue Card’ or ‘Native River.’ Ricci told us that ‘Djakadam’ was in the best order Willie Mullins had ever had him in. The ensuing conversation was a total prevarication! When I suggested to Nick Luck that I was concerned ‘Cue Card’ may not get home up the hill; so ‘Native River’ ought to win, he told me I was talking utter ‘Bollocks!’ – Charming!
At the start of yesterday’s session, many felt that President Trump’s speech – the only one to date to be delivered in the style of a statesman – had insufficient meat on the bone to trigger a meaningful rally of stocks on a global basis, let alone a US based ‘lift-off.’ – WRONG! In fairness it was FED representatives suggesting a March rate increase was on the cards that fired up the markets. It appears the US economy is robust enough to cope with one. Consequently the Street of Dreams erupted with uncontrollable joy with the two of the main indices rallying by 1.3% and the NASDAQ by 1.14% – all new records with the S&P 500 rallying by the largest daily percentage since 8th November 2016 – Presidential Election day. Banks were on fire with JP Morgan and Wells Fargo leading the charge – both adding 3% in value. Caterpillar was up 1.9%. Apple was on good form +2% and building and infrastructure stocks were not backward in coming forward.
Towards the end of the day details on the forthcoming Snap IPO were posted. Regardless of what the cynics think this IPO is TEN TIMES oversubscribed. My daughter collared me over the weekend, telling me that SnapChat for the young 8-21 years old is potentially as big as Facebook in terms of social media exposure. If I dismiss its potential, I might rue the opportunity one day! Trading starts today with shares issued at $17 – above the $14-16 suggested issue price. Elliott Spiegel’s dream company will raise $3.4 billion, valuing the company at $24 billion – an extremely rich valuation for a company that has made a parsimonious amount of profit. Notwithstanding that, expectation rules OK and the market is in good shape with sentiment riding high. Few would bet against a premium in early skirmishes. However, later on, if Snap fails to deliver, the spivs and vagabonds will mass their troops. It just feels like 1999/2000 TNT!
In London, with the Sterling falling lower against the Greenback yesterday the gains were extraordinary – FTSE 100 up 119 points at 7382. Any company that had a whiff of Dollar earnings felt a push in the back sending the value of banks, drugs, tobacco, oil and mining sectors north – absolutely astonishing performance, bordering on illogical. Whilst interest rates remain low, the alternative asset classes are endangered species. The Bank of England announced terrifying credit card debt for January with shoppers using their cards to the tune of £339 million. The total stands at £66 billion – an all-time-high-frightening record! If rates were to rise to 3% God help us. Sadly with disposable income diminishing, people have decided to live now and pay later! I hope the authorities are keeping a watching brief!
Overnight Asia rode on the US’S coattails. Here are today’s efforts and YTD performances – NIKKEI: 19,564 +0.88% +2.36%, HANG SENG: 23,876 +0.44% +8.51%, CHINA: 3,436 -0.65% +3.88%, ASX: 5,776 +1.26% +1.96%.
There have been another slew of earnings this morning. At 9.30am the FTSE has paused for breath digesting the over-zealous rally yesterday – unchanged at 7384! Cobham announced a £500m rights issue which met with the market’s approval – shares +2.75%. Capita is saying au revoir to CEO Andy Parker. A new broom is required, as the performance was shocking – shares down 9%. Melrose grabbed the yellow jersey – up 13.4% with Aldermore, the challenger bank also putting in a stellar performance – up 2.5% having been up by 7% in early skirmishes. It was good to see Merlin Entertainment singing for its supper again. Since June 2015 (Alton Towers) the company has recovered well, with the share price rallying from 371p to 485p – down 2.4% today. Nick Varney’s team has worked hard. Legoland seems a brilliant ‘Arfur Daley’ with a theme park to be opened in Japan. It appears that the LSE/Deutsche Boerse deal may sadly not be consummated. That being the case, though a merger with Michael Spencer’s NEX is an admirable alternative, why not consider an arrangement or liaison with CME? Chicago Mercantile Exchange – the biggest commodity/equity/bond/FX exchange in the world – what a bed pal!
UK companies posting interim results this week – Thursday – Spirent Communications, Capita, Travis Perkins, Melrose, Vesuvius, RPS, Merlin Entertainment, Schroders, Johnson Matthey, Cobham, Friday – STV Group, London Stock Exchange, WPP
US companies posting numbers this week –Thursday – Fred’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Barnes & Noble, Costco
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