TODAY’S FAYRE – Monday 29th May 2017
“Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
Under this cradle-hood and coverlid
My child sleeps on. There is no obstacle
But Gregory’s wood and one bare hill
Whereby the haystack- and roof-levelling wind,
Bred on the Atlantic, can be stayed;
And for an hour I have walked and prayed
Because of the great gloom that is in my mind.
I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour
And heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower,
And under the arches of the bridge, and scream
In the elms above the flooded stream;
Imagining in excited reverie
That the future years had come,
Dancing to a frenzied drum,
Out of the murderous innocence of the sea.
May she be granted beauty and yet not
Beauty to make a stranger’s eye distraught,
Or hers before a looking-glass, for such,
Being made beautiful overmuch,
Consider beauty a sufficient end,
Lose natural kindness and maybe
The heart-revealing intimacy
That chooses right, and never find a friend.
Helen being chosen found life flat and dull
And later had much trouble from a fool,
While that great Queen, that rose out of the spray,
Being fatherless could have her way
Yet chose a bandy-leggèd smith for man.
It’s certain that fine women eat
A crazy salad with their meat
Whereby the Horn of Plenty is undone.
In courtesy I’d have her chiefly learned;
Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned
By those that are not entirely beautiful;
Yet many, that have played the fool
For beauty’s very self, has charm made wise,
And many a poor man that has roved,
Loved and thought himself beloved,
From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes.
May she become a flourishing hidden tree
That all her thoughts may like the linnet be,
And have no business but dispensing round
Their magnanimities of sound,
Nor but in merriment begin a chase,
Nor but in merriment a quarrel.
O may she live like some green laurel
Rooted in one dear perpetual place.
William Butler Yeats – author & poet – 1865 –1939
Few people will have heard of the Jermyn Street Theatre, let alone attended a production. The auditorium has a capacity of 70. The current production is the first play by Stephen Unwin – ‘All Our Children.’ Germany 1941 – the play tells of Hitler’s Nazis rounding up children, who are backward, retarded or just unwell to be exterminated in concentration camps. Colin Tierney plays the frightened but dismayed paediatrician, who is dying of cancer with Edward Franklin cast in the roll of his fanatical SS assistant, who administrates the hospital. Lucy Speed, better known for her role as Natalie in Coronation Street, plays an outraged and understandably hysterical mother, who has suffered at the hands of Hitler’ brutal and inhumane edict. David Yelland as the Bishop who attempts to expose and unfold these atrocities, stole the show with a very polished cameo performance. This was a really harrowing ninety minutes but brilliant theatre.
Who would have thought that President Trump could spent a whole week out of his comfort zone in Saudi, Israel, Rome, Brussels and Sicily without slipping up on one banana skin, apart from rejecting the hand of his wife. No one can be surprised that President Trump lacked enthusiasm towards the Paris ‘Climate Change Accord’ or that he was not enamoured about Germany’s trade surplus with the US. At least he has been consistent.
Trumps acquitted himself with aplomb last week, which is more than can be said of PM May, who could not find enough banana skins to slip up on, such was the appalling presentation of her party’s manifesto. At least she had the opportunity of marginally redeeming herself at the G7 meeting in Taormina with a polished statesmanlike performance on the need to control social media in the fight against terrorism. I suspect that J Corbyn will be on the thin edge of her tongue on the hustings next week, once the election campaign gets wound up again. A five point lead is dangerously skinny and she and Sir Lynton Crosby will want to make amends for the previous 2-week debacle.
Jeremy Corbyn has so far rounded up nearly 2 million of the angry militant young as members of his radical left wing movement and they are making a real fist of taking the fight to the lifeless Conservatives. It seems to me that PM may has no Cabinet and only listens to Crosby, Timothy & Hill. This is a ludicrous strategy.
I hope that the country realise that were Corbyn to win, 15% would probably be written off the FTSE 100, despite Sterling falling out of bed, which should aid Dollar related stocks. Notwithstanding that, sentiment would turn negative towards the U.K. Economy. Gilts would be sold off. The tax burden, encapsulating massive hikes in income, corporation and inheritance tax would damage profits not only in FTSE 100 stocks but more relevantly in the FTSE 250 – an accurate barometer of UK economic activity. Simple economics tells us higher taxation = lower profits, less wealth creation – lower tax take = less money for NHS education & public services and probably higher borrowing = financial carnage!
The FTSE 100 ended last week up 1.03% – a record high at 7547 – and all the more remarkable considering sentiment had dived after the heinous barbaric bombing attack of innocent people in the Great City of Manchester. Market activists also took in to account the fact that UK GDP for the first quarter was adjusted down to just 0.2% and the realisation that the Conservative lead over Labour in the polls has narrowed from 23% down to just 5%. The ‘Corbyn factor’ saw Sterling drop to its lowest level for 6 weeks against the Dollar to $1.2783, which clearly benefitted the many Dollar earning stocks in the FTSE 100. Oil stocks were volatile as crude fell over 4% despite OPEC agreeing on Thursday that it would keep production levels cut by 1.8 million a day until the end of March 2018. Many were hoping for greater cuts. However oil repaired some of the losses by adding an average of 0.3% on Friday. Wall Street also attained record highs’ with the S&P 500 adding 1.38% on the week. Europe’s investors were rather more circumspect. The gains that European bourses have made in the last 4 months may have been more than just a little over-zealous. The Nikkei just bumbled along adding 0.49%, which was not a bad effort considering the Dollar had regained poise.
Last week M&S posted dismal results. However initially M&S’S share price rallied on the back of the appointment of Archie Norman’s appointment as chairman – a gargantuan task, which his credentials and success at ASDA and ITV, suggest he is perfect casting. However shares were virtually unchanged on the week. Aviva announced a £300 million share buyback. It looks as though Micro-Focus will consummate its reverse takeover of HWP Software. Lord Blackwell the chairman of Lloyds Banking Group insisted that BREXIT had every possibility of being positive for UK business as his L&G’S Helena Morrissey. It is interesting to note that L&G have made enquiries about buying out £15 billion British Steel Pension Fund, which included the Corus deal in 2007. It looks as though RBS Shareholders may well be thwarted from seeing Messrs Goodwin, McKillop, Cameron and Whittaker from giving evidence in court on the collapse of this Scottish titan, post its £12 billion rights issue. Ross McEwan, the RBS CEO is doing all in his power to keep this case out of court by settling the £9 million claim on the steps of the courtroom. I suspect forlorn shareholders will refuse to be denied on this issue. However proving anything more than incompetence and negligence will prove nigh on impossible.
BT looks as though it might cap pension benefits and call a halt on existing arrangements to those who joined after 2001, in an attempt to fill in its £14 billion pension black hole, as it grapples to provide a broadband service that a telecom operator of its standard should be providing. The Bank of England posted numbers on personal debt for March 2017 – up by £1.6 billion including credit card borrowing. The average household debt stands at £13200 the highest since the crash in 2008. The TUC feels this number could rise to £15,400 by 2021 due to poor wage inflation not keeping pace with inflation. Finally on Migration numbers. The net UK number is down to 284k – down 84k on last year and interestingly enough people leaving the UK is up by 43k.
UK companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – Horizon Discovery, Ryanair, Wednesday – London Metric Property, Alpha Bank, IG Group, Thursday – Johnson Matthey, First Group, Friday – KCOM Group
US companies posting numbers – Tuesday – Quanex, Wednesday – Analog Devices
Economic data this week – Tuesday – US personal income & Spending, US Consumer Confidence, Nationwide House prices, Wednesday – Gfk Consumer Confidence, UK Mortgage approvals, US ADP Employment Index, Chicago PMI, Thursday – UK PMI Manufacturing, US PMI Construction, Initial Jobless Claims, Friday US Non-Farm Payrolls (+183k) & employment data (unemployment 4.5%).
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