TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday 11thApril 2017
“The dark is only a blanket for the moon to put on her bed.
The dark is a private cinema for the movie dreams in your head.
The dark is a little black dress to show off the sequin stars.
The dark is a wooden hole behind the strings of happy guitars.
The dark is a jeweller’s velvet cloth where children sleep like pearls.
The dark is a spool of film to photograph boys and girls,
so smile in your sleep in the dark.
Don’t be scared.”
Carol Ann Duffy – poet Laureate – 1955 –
As if the atrocities in Syria were not enough! Now the problem of undetectable terrorism gathers momentum in Cairo with the bombing of Christian churches and then the vehicle attack on unsuspecting civilians including tourists, setting about their business, walking around in Stockholm, reared its ugly head. Yesterday PC Keith Palmer’s cortege from Westminster to Southwark Cathedral was a stark reminder of how much we owe these wonderful people who selflessly set about making us safe in this sometimes appalling world of strife and terror we live in!
Though I was gutted for Justin Rose, who behaved in defeat like the perfect gentleman he has always been, there could have been no better ambassador of the game of golf or role model than Sergio Garcia to carry off one of the main coveted ‘majors’ – the Masters. I could not be happier for Sergio. After 74 attempts, he landed that exclusive green jacket. As an acolyte of Seve Ballesteros, Sergio carries on the memory, the infectious enthusiasm and the charm as another great Spanish
Aintree hosted another great Grand National at Aintree last Saturday. Though I failed to trouble the bookmakers, I was very pleased that ITV’S Ed Chamberlin, in his first season as programme host, flagged up the winner in an article in the Daily Telegraph. ‘One for Arthur’ did the business for trainer Lucinda Russell and her partner, Peter Scudamore for those lovely golf widows – Belinda McClung and Deborah Thompson. What a fairy tale that was for an unfashionable stable in Scotland and for such a good but relatively unknown pilot – Derek Fox.
Full credit to BBC’S Any Verity for a first class piece of investigative journalism in presenting BBC’S Panorama explosive programme on LIBOR and the role played by the Bank of England and Barclays amongst others in this very controversial issue, which eventually say employees from UBS and Barclays head for jail for sentences ranging from 3 years to 11 years. The array of contributors was of the highest calibre and I suspect we shall eventually hear from the Bank of England and Barclays’ senior management through the official channels such as the Treasury Select Committee.
The one key point that never received sufficient comment was the fact that LIBOR is not an exact science. As the wholesale markets were moribund in 2008, LIBOR was deeply flawed as there was no way LIBOR could be calculated accurately. The interbank market longer than a week fixed was non-existent. This major talking point is rarely, if ever, made! I do accept that in an hour long programme, there is a limit to the level of content that can be discussed.
Considering the high level of geopolitical disruption in North Korea, Syria, Cairo and Stockholm equity markets continue to more or less maintain their poise. In London the FTSE lost less than a point to 7343. It was another lack-lustre session with Fresnillio and Randgold, the main winners on Friday giving back some ground as the Dollar strengthened and gold failed to glister sufficiently. AB Foods probably deserved the ‘yellow Jersey’, adding 3% as it looked for a new chairman. In New York activity was equally moribund. Amazon +1% attracted attention as did Netflix, where activity was in excess of the price dissemination, which saw shares ease by just 0.2%. The three main indices closed as follows together with their year to date performance – DOW: 20,658 +0.01% +4.53%. S&P: 2,357 +0.07% +5.28%, NASDAQ: 5,421 +0.06% +11.47% VIX: 14.05 +9.17% +0.07%. The Wells Fargo scandal just won’t go away and it looks as if $75 million will be reclaimed from bonus pay-outs, after staff fraud scandal has been exposed. 2nd quarter earnings are not expected to come under a wet sail until next week, apart from JP Morgan Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo post earnings on Thursday. Asia saw a little risk come off the table in today’s session, though trading conditions were somewhat somnolent – NIKKEI: 18,707 -0.49% -2.07%, HANG SENG: 24,060 -0.81% +9.37%, CHINA: 3,477 -0.81% +5.16%, ASX: 5,936 +0.40% +0.39%.
Despite the pusillanimous market conditions, there is plenty of news and deals. Royal Dutch Shell will be disappointed that its joint purchase of an oilfield off Nigeria with ENI for £1 billion back in 2011 may turn out to be a fraud scandal involving the alleged cyphering off of funds unconnected with oil refining. This region has a bit of previous for bribery and corruption. Needless to say RD Shell denies all knowledge of any wrong doing. Not for the first time Elliott Advisors are chucking their two cents worth in to the affairs of BHP Billiton, as a 7% shareholder. They want BHP to hive off its US oil interests with a view to delivering better shareholder value. In fairness to BHP, since 2001 the company has £19 billion in share buybacks and £45 billion in cash dividends. In recent years Elliott has poked its nose in to the affairs of Alliance Trust, Poundland and Akzo Nobel (currently on going).
Suffice to say when it comes to ‘whistle-blowing’ the law is the law and when it comes to criminal activity and National Security the letter of the law must be upheld. However I feel Barclays’ CEO Jes Staley is about to be shabbily treated for attempting to find out who had blown the whistle on one of Staley’s US hires – an alleged Tim Main. Why the concern over his hire could not be raised without all this cloak and dagger guff, must remain a mystery. In his attempt to find out Staley has been severely reprimanded and he may lose his £1.3 billon bonus. Staley was attempting to look after his staff and as CEO he has a right to do so. He broke with legal convention and he has been admonished. However this is hardly a heinous crime. I sincerely hope the DOJ and the FCA do not pursue Mr Staley resulting in the loss of his job. Sad to report this is a blow for Barclays, who were in the process of successfully restoring trust and respect.
This morning the FTSE opened just below the Plimsoll line but oil, mining and pharmas have sat up and taken a bit of nourishment – up 26 at 7375. JD Sports is up 3% after excellent results, resulting in Mike Ashley looking a bit of a monkey in his assessment of this business.
UK companies posting results this week – Tuesday – Vedanta Resources, Wednesday – Dunelm, Tesco, WH Smith, PageGroup, Thursday – Hays, Avocet Mining, PZ Cussons
US companies posting results this week – Wednesday – Delta Airlines, Thursday – JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo.
Economic data out this week – Tuesday – UK PPI & CPI Data, Wednesday – UK Employment data, Thursday – BOE Credit, Friday – University of Michigan Consumer Confidence, US CPI and Retail sales
Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co
Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877
Panmure Gordon & Co
One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF