TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 26th June 2017
“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause—there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovere’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.”
‘The tragedy of Hamlet – Prince of Denmark’
William Shakespeare – poet & playwright – 1564–1616
As the years roll by I find myself having considerably more empathy with ‘left-of-centre’ political views. There is nothing worse than excessive social inequality and urban deprivation. So of course there is a role for a strong Labour party, a robust official opposition and a government’ in waiting.’ However Labour needs to shake off its image as a party of envy, spite, hatred and mob-oratory that brooks no opposition and is just vicious in its outlook. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are not to be trifled with. They have stoked up the intellectual ‘angry brigade’ with measurable venom. Labour’s acolytes are impressionable, gullible and susceptible to the empty and hollow promises of riches that lie ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ – with all of these promises financially unaccounted for.
The visual media seem unhappy with the arrangements the Government has made with the DUP. ‘Hobson’s Choice’, when the mob are baying for PM May’s head on a charger! Even if it’s only for a few months, show us Mrs May, what can be done with strength of character, humanity and resolve! However the Conservative party should listen to the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson – “If the Conservative party does not present a clear plan as to what their policies and core values are, sooner rather than later, Labour will rule from Downing Street for a decade!” What a price to pay!
Though the performance of US equity indices looked superficially fairly unexciting, there were a few positives to take from the session. The likes of JP Morgan (+0.44%) and Morgan Stanley (+0.70%) have underperformed the market in relative terms post the major rally after the Presidential election. They took the opportunity of responding well to the E17 billion Italian bail out of Monti Dei Paschi and Intesa, encapsulating the winding up of Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza, blighted by bad loans and a miss-selling scandal. Make no mistake, despite this remedial action, Italian banks are creaking like dodgy floor boards! Confirmation of this news saw European equities respond well, including the FTSE 100 which added 22 points to 7446. Crude oil also rallied 0.6% yesterday. Whirlpool, which owns Hotpoint, Indesit and Kitchen Aid amongst its brands, and whose capital value stands at $140 billion saw its share price add 2.2% yesterday. This was quite surprising considering it was a Hotpoint fridge which caught fire in Grenfell Tower. 60k of that model were manufactured between 2006/9. It was the tech sector that attempted to drag the NASDAQ down yesterday as Facebook lost 0.9%, Alphabet -1.4% and Apple -0.4%. The DOW closed +0.07%, the S&P was 0.03% to the good with the NASDAQ easier by 0.29%.
I much look forward to talking about the 3rd quarter earnings, which start slowly next week, but gather momentum the week after. Nonetheless there are little snippets of information and news worthy of comment. It looks as though the Coop Bank – 80% controlled by US hedge funds since 2013, when a £1.5 billion black hole was found in the accounts, may not have to be sold. Having recently repaid a loan of £700 million the Coop Bank felt that it was not in a position to meet the BOE’S capital requirements. It seemed that the pension scheme liabilities was the main stumbling block. Agreement is close with the hedge funds having negotiated responsibility for just the bank’s Pension funds rather than the group. The Coop Group has about 90k pensions with 37k already drawing these pensions. So let’s hope it’s onwards and upwards, though the recovery will be tough and challenging.
Concern is being expressed about the level of debt in this country. Household debt in this country stands at £1.5 trillion with consumer debt at £200 billion. The level of debt is increasing by 10% per annum. Expect the Bank of England to re-impose greater capital requirements by about 0.5% to curb the level of debt explosion. There was evidence of a fat finger by a gold trader causing the price of gold to drop in New York by 1.6% yesterday to $1236 per ounce. Not the first or last time this kind of mistake will manifest itself. Facebook will spend $3 billion setting up its own TV service in competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime. It will appeal to 14-30 year olds and CEO Mark Zuckerberg insists on no nudity or bad language!
Today Debenhams posted an unambitious trading statement which did not please its acolytes and shares drifted lower by 3.37%. Northgate’s efforts were poor – down 10% in early skirmishes. Carpetright for the first time in a long time posted really encouraging progress which met with the market’s approval – up 11%! The FTSE 100 was down 9 points at 7438 at 8.30am.
UK companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – Debenhams, Northgate, Carpetright, Petrofac, Wednesday – Dixons Carphone, Stagecoach, Bunzl, Tullow Oil, Kier Group, Thursday – Blur Group, Purple Bricks, Greene King, JD Sports, John Laing, Wood Group, Friday – Trinity Mirror, Serco
US Companies posting interim results this week – Tuesday – Darden Restaurants, KB Homes, Wednesday – General Mills, HB Fuller, Thursday – Walgreen Boots Alliance, Constellation Brands, Micron Technology, Nike, American Outdoor Group
Economic data posted this week – Tuesday – BBA Mortgage Approvals, Wednesday – Nationwide HPI, Friday – UK Gfk Consumer Confidence, UK GDP estimate, UK Revised Business Investment.
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