TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday 7th March 2017
“What ails thee then, woman, what ails thee? doesn’t ter know?
If tha canna say’t, come then an’ scraight it out on my bosom Eh?
— Men doesna ha’e bosoms? ‘appen not, on’y tha knows what I mean.
Come then, tha can scraight it out
on my shirt-front an’ tha’lt feel better.
— In the first place, I don’t scraight.
And if I did, I certainly couldn’t scraight it out. And if I could.
the last place I should choose would be your shirt-front or your manly bosom either.
So leave off trying to put the Robbie Burns touch over me
and kindly hand me the cigarettes if you haven’t smoked them all,
which you’re much more likely to do than to shelter anybody from the cau-auld blast.”
DH Lawrence – author & poet – 1885-1930
“For every complex problem, there is an answer that is simple, clear and wrong!” – HL Mencken –
Sergei Polunin came to the UK from the Ukraine at the age of 12 for a trial at the Royal Ballet School with no English and no family. By the age of 20 he was the youngest principal ballet dancer at this August ballet company. He is now 28 years of age – no longer a principal dancer BUT very much a hugely respected choreographer and dancer and aspiring actor. Kenneth Branagh has cast him in his production of ‘murder on the Orient Express’ – yet to be released.
I saw a BBC film at the Curzon over the weekend on Sergei Polunin’s inspirational, hugely talented, but troubled life. If you ever come across this documentary, make a point of seeing it, whether you like ballet or not! He has made a YouTube film “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle, which has already been viewed by over 15 million people. Take a peek at this incredibly talented artist.
What a terrific test match in Bangalore! In a low scoring match, with the wicket responding to seam and spin Australia require another 86 runs with 4 wickets standing to square the series against India – nail-biting stuff!
Yesterday there was plenty of corporate news but trading activity was quite limited. The FTSE 100 closed down 24 points at 7350. We watched Unilever’s share price shoot back up to £39. I hope CEO Paul Polman has got the message. He has to deliver greater shareholder value as a unit or in broken up units or rest assured Kraft Heinz or someone else will be back for another pop. Initially Standard Life and Aberdeen bounced by 8% respectively. However one the dust had settled they closed up 5% and 4% respectively. A merger of this nature – a Scottish one which might warm the cockles of Nicola Sturgeon’s heart, though not many others will have its draw backs, regardless of the synergy. Cost cutting and redundancies immediately spring to mind. Also an ugly rumour permeated around the market, totally without foundation, that Apple was thinking of asking for the hand in marriage of ITV – the shares rose like a grilse by 6%; but at the end of the session they were only 1.5% to the good at 206p – calm down, dear! easyJet posted tolerable numbers but Carolyn McCall the CEO has some way to go to regain ground on Ryanair in terms of performance.
The Peugeot/Citroen/Vauxhall/Opel mega deal, which makes it the second largest producer of cars in Europe behind VW, grabbed a major percentage of the headlines yesterday. The deal looks OK for the 4500 workforce at Ellesmere Port and Luton for a couple of years. Long term much depends on productivity. All in all these factories are only running at 70% capacity. There will be 24 factories in total – 14 in France, 8 in the rest of Europe and only 2 in the UK. Redundancy costs in the UK are cheaper than elsewhere in the EU!!?? What was reassuring was the fact that Peugeot CEO Tavares stated unequivocally that a hard BREXIT would strengthen the company’s resolve, provided that the supplier base was developed to source component parts within the UK itself. The new group should produce 400,000 cars per annum.
I must confess to being underwhelmed by BT renewing its commitment to European football at a cost of £1.2 billion. Perhaps I am on my own, but the amount of money thrown at the beautiful game is ludicrously out of proportion. There again its supply and demand, so who am I? However I do wish BT would maybe attend to its huge pension deficit estimated at £5 billion than pander to the terraces and to the drawing rooms at home.
The announcement by CEO John Cryan that Deutsche Bank, at the third attempt in recent years, would be having a rights issue of €8 billion went down with investors like a lead balloon. It has to be done, but there is concern about the profitability of the bank going forward. Anyway, fear not in the case of extreme anxiety, and I have no reason to believe there is any, Auntie Angela will be there, larger than life!
Yesterday on the Street of Dreams financials led the markets south, as investors’ appetite for risk abated at the lack of meat on the Trump spending bone as well as ruminating on the forthcoming FED rate increase, universally expected next week. The markets behaved as follows including performances year to date – DOW: 20,954 -0.24% +6.03%, S&P: 2,375 -0.33% +6.1%, NASDAQ: 5,360 -0.25% +10.21%. Asian bourses’ performances were insipid. China’s economy, in places and despite lower GDP of 6.5%, offered hope and in the case of the NIKKEI, a strong Yen was counterproductive. (YTD numbers also expressed). NIKKEI: 19,344 -0.18% +1.20%, HANG SENG: 23,699 +0.44% +7.73%, CHINA: 3,450 +0.11% +4.19%, ASX: 5,761 +0.26% +1.69%.
This morning, despite the fact that there are a slew of earnings, only three captured the imagination. Aggreko, the temporary power services provider did not please its acolytes and the shares fell by 7% in early skirmishes. Just Eat put in a blinding performance with a 35% increase in sales and a 93% increase in EBITDA – shares up 5%. Paddy Power Betfair, whose shares have fallen 11.5% in the last year seem to have finally bedded down the merger, with revenues up by 18% to £1.551 billion. Halifax House Price index posted a 5.1% increase in house prices from December to February inclusive.
UK companies posting interim results this week – Monday – Tuesday – Intertek, Paddy Power/Betfair, Direct Line, SDL, Shawbrook, Just Eat, Worldpay, Wednesday – Inmarsat, Admiral, CLS Holdings, Dignity, Restaurant Group, Foxton’s, WanDisco, PageGroup, G4S, Thursday – Aviva, Wm Morrison, Aldermore, Old Mutual, Premier Oil, Countryside, DS Smith, Domino Pizza, International Game Technology, Cineworld, Friday – eSure,
US companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – Dick’s Sporting Goods, Urban Outfitters, Thursday – Staples
Economic data this week – Tuesday – Halifax House Price Index, Wednesday – NIESR GDP, US ADP Employment data, UK BUDGET, Thursday – US initial Jobless Claims, Friday – RICS housing data, UK manufacturing production & Consumer Inflation expectations , US Non-Farm Payrolls and employment data.
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