“Sweet, I blame you not, for mine the fault was, had I not been made of common
I had climbed the higher heights unclimbed yet, seen the fuller air, the
From the wildness of my wasted passion I had struck a better, clearer song,
Lit some lighter light of freer freedom, battled with some Hydra-headed wrong.
Had my lips been smitten into music by the kisses that but made them bleed,
You had walked with Bice and the angels on that verdant and enamelled meed.
I had trod the road which Dante treading saw the suns of seven circles shine,
Ay! perchance had seen the heavens opening, as they opened to the Florentine.
And the mighty nations would have crowned me, who am crownless now and without
And some orient dawn had found me kneeling on the threshold of the House of
I had sat within that marble circle where the oldest bard is as the young,
And the pipe is ever dropping honey, and the lyre’s strings are ever strung.
Keats had lifted up his hymeneal curls from out the poppy-seeded wine,
With ambrosial mouth had kissed my forehead, clasped the hand of noble love in
And at springtide, when the apple-blossoms brush the burnished bosom of the
Two young lovers lying in an orchard would have read the story of our love;
Would have read the legend of my passion, known the bitter secret of my heart,
Kissed as we have kissed, but never parted as we two are fated now to part.
For the crimson flower of our life is eaten by the cankerworm of truth,
And no hand can gather up the fallen withered petals of the rose of youth.
Yet I am not sorry that I loved you -ah! what else had I a boy to do? –
For the hungry teeth of time devour, and the silent-footed years pursue.
Rudderless, we drift athwart a tempest, and when once the storm of youth is
Without lyre, without lute or chorus, Death the silent pilot comes at last.
And within the grave there is no pleasure, for the blindworm battens on the
And Desire shudders into ashes, and the tree of Passion bears no fruit.
Ah! what else had I to do but love you? God’s own mother was less dear to me,
And less dear the Cytheraean rising like an argent lily from the sea.
I have made my choice, have lived my poems, and, though youth is gone in
I have found the lover’s crown of myrtle better than the poet’s crown of bays”.
Oscar Wilde – poet & Playwright – 1854-1900
My good friend Simon French, with his tongue heavily protruding through his cheek, playfully suggested that I was being hypocritical in condemning Nicola Sturgeon for obsessively seeking independence for Scotland, considering my support for BREXIT. He may have a point. However I pointed out that Scotland’s economy was nothing like robust enough to go it alone. With no Sterling (officially though Scotland believe it can get round that idea) on a long-term basis, no Bank of England, no regulation, greater difficulties in meeting the criteria for membership to the EU than she lets on and a real problem over nuclear power and membership of NATO. This is hardly a cocktail for success when you add the fact that oil prices are lower than they were in 2014.
However M/S Sturgeon is some piece of work. Talk about a maverick or chancer to capitalise on PM May’s political moment of truth – serving notice on Article 50 – M/S Sturgeon is ‘Queen of the Wooden Spoon’ mob! – She takes the biscuit! She was determined to steal the PM’S thunder and she did a great job.
Simon French insists that I do not play the oil card. As he put it to me Luxembourg (3 million), Switzerland (11 million0, and Ireland (4 million) are small countries whose economies have thrived independently. Of course Ireland and Luxembourg are both in the EU, which will buoy Sturgeon’s aspirations.
Eventually the UK government will have to grant Scotland’s request for another referendum – after March 2019. It would be wrong not to do so. However, hopefully between now and then, the people of Scotland will realise that they are staring over a precipice of economic despair and penury, if they vote to leave the Union. If not, sadly, so be it! Perhaps they don’t care!
Yesterday saw another ‘Merger Mania Monday’ with John Wood Group (+4%) buying AMEX Foster Wheeler (+8%) in a deal valued at £2.2 billion to make a substantial as well as the largest UK energy services company. It also saw INTEL buy Israel’s Mobileye for $15.3 billion to promote its commitment to autonomous cars. Its normal chip business is good but not expanding in the same manner. So the company is sensibly regrouping in to other technological areas. The FTSE closed up 24 points despite M/S Sturgeon’s attempts to spoil the party.
CityAM also posted that there was the prospect of London’s IPO market benefitting to the tune of as much as for £30bn of business from the likes of Logicor, O2, Misys, TI Fluid Systems, BGL Group & Kuwait Energy in the months to come, with the possibility of a piece of ARAMCO to follow. On the Street of Dreams the main markets performed as follows including YTD performances – DOW: 20,881 -0.10% +5.66% S&P: 2,373 +0.04% +6.01% NASDAQ: 5,394 +0.16% +10.92% VIX: 11.35 -2.66% -19.16%. In Asia we heard that Toshiba had postponed announcing its results. Shares have halved in value in the last year. Asian markets headed towards the close as follows – NIKKEI: 19,609 -0.12% +2.59%, HANG SENG: 23,780 -0.18% +8.13%, CHINA: 3,452 -0.17% +4.3%, ASX: 5,759 +0.03% +1.65%.
This is a huge week for markets with equity, bond and foreign exchange markets all likely to be affected. Tomorrow is the Dutch Election with Wilders likely to be the largest party, though PM Mark Rutte is likely to form the next government with the support of many of the other 26 minority parties! Wilders is not going away and the EU will be left with a thorn it its side. Wednesday is almost certainly likely to see the FOMC put rates up again by 0.25%. Friday’s non-farm payrolls (+235k) were the last positive piece of data that M/S Yellen required for the FED to act. Thursday sees the whites of the eyes of Trump’s first budget. Will there be meat on the bone? – An extra $54 billion defence budget plus the endorsement of $1 trillion infrastructure spending and corporate tax cuts. Will these policies get through Congress? Finally the first G20 meeting attended by President Trump takes place in Germany. The President may not like criticism of his protectionism policies.
A number of companies posted numbers today with Ocado’s efforts encouraging. We await Prudential’s figures at 11.00am.
UK companies posting interim results this week – Tuesday – Antofagasta, Ocado, Close Brothers, Prudential, French Connection, TP ICAP, SIG, Applegreen, Wednesday – Gem Diamonds, Robert Walters, Marshalls, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, PolyMetal, Thursday – J Sainsbury, Balfour Beatty, OneSavings Bank, Friday – Berkeley Group, Investec
US companies posting numbers this week – Wednesday – Christopher & Banks, Oracle, Thursday – Adobe Systems
Economic data this week – Tuesday – BRC Retail Sales, US NAHB Housing Data, Germany’s ZEW, Wednesday – US FOMC meeting, UK BOE Quarterly Report, Thursday – MPC Meeting, Friday – US Industrial Production, University of Michigan Consumer Confidence
Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & co
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Panmure Gordon & Co
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