TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 23rd May 2017
“When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-ras’d
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.”
William Shakespeare – poet & playwright – 1564-1616
Not since ‘9/11’ have I felt less like writing anything on markets than I do today. It seems so trite and frivolous in the wake of barbaric behavior by a religious and fanatical suicide bomber, who in moment of irrational cruelty, took the lives of at least 22 people, whilst at the same time maiming or brutally injuring dozens of others – too many of them children – without a merciful thought in his head! God damn him! And those with similar terrorist antics!
I suppose I better write something…..
Yesterday really belonged to US markets which enjoyed the early summer sunshine, basking in a modicum of Trump glory post his visit to Saudi Arabia. US markets closed as follows with YTD achievements – DOW: 20,894 +0.43% +5.729% S&P: 2,394 +0.52% +6.932% NASDAQ: 5,699 +0.85% +17.184%. Most defense stocks had already benefitted from the possibility of $110 billion trade deals with Saudi. However some continued their rally once the ink was dry. Blackrock was up 0.75% on news that it will spend $100 million on infrastructure. Lockheed Martin was 1.5% to the good with General Dynamics adding 1%, plus modest gains by Honeywell +0.5% and United Technologies +0.4%. Tech stocks were not without their supporters – Apple +0.6%, Alphabet +0.84%, Microsoft +1.1%, Alibaba +1.24% and Amazon +01.1%.
Asia had little to bring to the party this morning. It was rather an anemic session with little obvious investment pegs to hang hats upon. We await news of sales by Tata’s Jaguar Rover. Since Tata paid £1.5 billion 9 years ago sales are up four fold from 200k vehicles to around 800k.
Back here in Old Blighty the FTSE 100 peddled on, in adding 25 points to 7496. It is also worth mentioning that the FTSE 250 reached record heights again – up 99 at 19912. Fifteen years ago markets would have reacted adversely to this kind of barbaric behavior. No, sadly, they take machinations of this nature in their stride – such is the price of experience! We have all become so cynical!
This morning the London based indices stood tall. At 9.01am the FTSE was up 10 points at 7505 – a record again and the FTSE 250 was up 0.3% to 19970 – again another record and a better barometer of UK economic activity. Homserve grabbed the yellow jersey with great numbers – up 10%. Topps Tiles did not please their acolytes – down 6%. De La Rue’s numbers were in line with expectations – +0.15%.
It looks as though RBS is attempting to avoid exposing Fred Goodwin and his four colleagues from giving evidence over the RBS shareholders rights issue claim. Despite incurring legal bills of £100 million +over the £12 billion rights issue of RBS in June 2008, CEO Ross McEwan seems determine to settle the £800 million lawsuit with the remaining retail and fund manager shareholders on the steps of the law courts, rather than expose the bank to toxic evidence. RBS has currently cost the taxpayer £43.5 billion in buying ABN AMRO for £47 billion. Losses total over £100 billion in the last 9 years. Shareholders are still under water without the prospect of getting their money back in the foreseeable future – breakeven 503p – share price – 264p (+0.96% today). Like many others I believe Goodwin, Cameron, Whittaker and McKillop owe us an explanation.
In closing I see that Amazon Prime will provide live pay-TV within a couple of weeks in Europe, as well as exposure to Discovery, Eurosport and ITV channels. Since its inception Amazon’s share price is up 57.4k% and this tech retailer is twice the size of Wal-Mart.
UK companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – Home serve, De La Rue, Cranswick, Severn Trent, Shaftesbury, Paragon, Topps Tiles, Wednesday – M&S, Mediclinic, Babcock International, Vedanta Resources, Britvic, Kingfisher, Dixons Carphone, HSS Hire, Thursday – Tate& Lyle, Pets at Home, United Utilities, Halfords, DMGT, Inchcape, Card Factory, L&G, Friday – Intertek, Spectris, Restaurant Group
US companies posting numbers – Monday – Agilent, Target – Tuesday – Take Two, Wednesday Tiffany’s, Thursday – Hormel Foods, Best Buy
Economic data this week – Tuesday UK PSBR, Thursday BBA Mortgage approvals, UK GDP 2nd Quarter estimate
Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co
Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877
Panmure Gordon & Co
One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF