TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday 9th May 2017
“Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.
Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
Father will come to thee soon;
Rest, rest, on mother’s breast,
Father will come to thee soon;
Father will come to his babe in the best,
Silver sails all out of the west,
Under the silver moon:
Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson – poet – 1809-1892
London Mayor Sadiq Khan was right up to snuff into slagging off Theresa May as the worst Tory PM for London since Mrs Thatcher – er? Mayor, she was made a Baroness! – But no matter! Then he was seen, totally out of his depth, being interviewed last February with the aspiring French ‘matinee idol’ – Emmanuel Macron – eat your heart out dependent on your age, Clark Gable, Paul Newman or Ryan Gosling!
Thank goodness Mayor Khan knows nothing about the machinations of the City of London! Despite all President Macron’s sweet talk last February and a couple of days ago, in attempting to persuade 20k people to relocate to Paris including most of the global clearing business, frankly he has no chance for a number of reasons – infrastructure (Paris is not a great financial centre), taxation, culture, labour laws, lack of prowess; the list is endless! So, President Macron, back in your box! Enjoy your ‘love-in’ with Chancellor Merkel and the EU. I am sure you don’t need me to tell you your real problems are domestic and not your spat with the UK. France may attract a few hundred people – mainly junior, but that will be purely good housekeeping and a contingency plan, in case bad blood emanates from the negotiations.
I do agree with Mayor Khan that London is the best City in the world, but if he and City Hall do not bring influence to bear over London’s sub-standard transport (tube) and the desperately inadequate roads, people and visitors will quickly change their minds. So please deal with these crises and keep the photo shoots to a bare minimum – there’s a good chap!
Last night Chelsea all but sealed the Premiership with a clinical 3-0 victory over the ‘Boro’. Yours very truly is getting very excited about Fulham’s ‘play-off’ game at the Cottage against Reading on Saturday. Fulham are 15/8 favourites to be promoted – hardly a working man’s price to attract my money! Others may also be getting very excited that Man Utd’s Zlatan Ibahimovic is earning £367k a week with his agent bagging £41 million last year. Talk about investment banking!
What a damp squib yesterday’s machinations were, but they were always going to be. However frothed up the hype for this new fella on the block was – and let’s not get fired up too much about his prowess as an investment banker – the fundamental issues facing Macron are there large as life – 9.6% unemployment, appalling labour laws, understandably truculent trade unions with huge political divisions. Forget the superficially renewed vows with Merkel and Juncker. When the bunting has been taken down on Les Champs Elysee, reality will stare the ‘Little Corporate’ in the face just as the market told him yesterday. Nothing has changed. Yesterday equities jumped enthusiastically out of the traps and spent the rest of the day surrendering value – the DAX finishes down 0.2%, the CAC 40 down 0.9% and the FTSE up 0.05%. The Euro was virtually unchanged. It is interesting to note that though Sterling is 7 cents firmer than a few weeks ago, the FTSE 100 remains ebullient despite concern over commodity prices, which have fallen due to dropping demand in China. It just goes to show there is resilience in other sectors apart from Dollar related ones.
Just in passing too much has been made of Macron success as a banker. He may have made a great deal of money but Rothschild & Cie, though a much respected bank is no Goldman Sachs!
Yesterday the FTSE closed up 3 points just above the 7300 threshold. The DAX finished down 0.2% and ironically the DAX closed nearly 1% down. The DAX has rallied 8% in the last 2 weeks and the CAC by 6.5% in expectation and we need to head back across the waves to reality – so yesterday’s sigh of relief was duly recorded. In London Centrica grabbed most of the headlines. CEO Ian Conn posted his objection to an energy price cap. Centrica has lost 600k users out of 14 million as consumers move around. Shares were up 2% yesterday but fell back 3.5% this morning, as utilities digested Mrs May’s policy. Akzo Nobel, which bought ICI, which included Dulux for $16 billion in 2007, have rejected a third bid valued at $22.5 billion from PPG of the US, who have the support of Elliott Advisers and about 20 other main shareholders. This bid is likely to go hostile with 3,300 jobs in the UK looking vulnerable, if the deal goes through. Since the initial bid Akzo shares are up 18%. William Hill posted a decent trading statement, which initially saw their shares up 1.5% – now only 0.25%. Philip Bowcock seems to have put his feet firmly under the desk as the confirmed CEO. The FTSE 100 is amazingly up 25 points with miners bouncing after a poor run, by an average of 3%. Banks and oil are steady.
Yesterday US markets were sepulchral though the NASDAQ inched through to a new record – yesterday’s performance & YTD – DOW: 21,012 +0.03% +6.323% S&P: 2,399 unchanged +7.171% NASDAQ: 5,659 +0.23% +16.355% (New record highs). In Asia it was not much better in terms of activity than a ‘monk performing vigorously on morphine!’ – performance & YTD at 9.00am BST – NIKKEI 19,873 -0.11% +4.0%, HANG SENG 24,685 +0.43% +12.193%, CHINA 3,342 -0.49% +0.973%, ASX 5,837 -0.57% +3.034%.
UK companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – AON, William Hill, Hiscox, Wednesday – TalkTalk, Vertu, Compass, Barratt Development, ITV, National Express, Thursday – BT, SuperGroup, Amex Foster Wheeler, Mondi, Coca-Cola HBC, Vedanta Resources, Beazley, Aldermore
US companies posting numbers – Tuesday – Allergan, Hertz, Marriott, Liberty Media, Walt Disney, NVidia, Wednesday – Snap Inc, Dean Foods, Wendy’s, Thursday – Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Friday – JC Penney
Economic data this week – Tuesday – BRC sales monitor, Wednesday – NIESR GDP estimate, US FED budget balance, Thursday – BOE Inflation Report, RICS Housing, UK Manufacturing, Friday – US Retail Sales
Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co
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