TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 6th June 2017
“The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.
To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.
Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.
Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:
Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.
So set, before the echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.
And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.”
AE Housman – poet – 1859 –1936
Talking about anything apart from the atrocities in Manchester two weeks ago and in London at the weekend seems trite and very disrespectful. However with a degree of trepidation may I mention the pop concert at Old Trafford on Sunday, which was performed for the benefit of those who lost loved ones and for the morale of that great City? It was very moving and heart-rending to see Robbie Williams, ‘Take that’, Liam Gallagher and Chris Martin and ‘Cold Play’ and finally ‘le piece de resistance’, Ariana Grande perform before in front of their adoring fans. Before we were all fell in to a state of comatose by the London Bridge/Borough Market atrocities on Saturday night, I hope sport aficionados managed to take in the Champions League final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday night. What a demolition job Real Madrid did on Juventus, destroying the Italian champions 4-1. Cristiano Ronaldo was on fire with two great goals but the man of the match for me was Marcelo Vieira. He was everywhere!
Yesterday was another day filled with inertia and a minutia of confusion. The inertia came from investors in London, where markets were absolutely convinced of a Tory victory and the fact that neither the FTSE 100 nor, more importantly, the FTSE 250 had not shed any significant value, has endorsed that sentiment. Yesterday the FTSE shed just 21 points to 7525 and the FTSE 250 0.67% to 19668. However there were a few frayed election nerves this morning – down 1%. The Pound is stronger at $1.2962 with gilt yields remaining somnolent. We have seen some measurable evidence of private equity and start up shareholders lightening up their portfolios for prudence sake. A replication of the Trump Syndrome cannot be entirely ruled out.
The Liberal-Left have massed their troops on social media to great effect with their visceral attack dogs venting their spleens on the Tory hierarchy. UK markets are having none of it! Bookmaker and Betfair have also not lost their bottle. It is only the polls that are putting the fear of God in to the electorate, which is having trouble digesting the prospects of the grand-paternal figure of Jeremy Corbyn marching in to Downing Street holding hands with Diana Abbott, spearheading the UK’s future, with Emily Thornberry and John McDonnell close at hand – a fearful compendium to feed nightmares from!
The confusion was created by Saudi-Arabia’s spat with Qatar over the allegation of stimulating terrorism in the Middle East – Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and Iran. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE have severed diplomatic relationships with Qatar which could not only affect the price of oil, with OPEC’s cartel likely to be breached, but also damage Qatar’s global trade with ports, roads and airline being blocked. Qatar also has significant investments here in the UK – £40 billion in operations such as Sainsbury, Heathrow, LSE, IAG, Harrods and the Savoy. The US is also not amused at the timing of this altercation, having recently completed a very successful visit to Saudi whilst at the same time having 10k military personnel stationed in Qatar and Doha. Here in Old Blighty airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair and IAG suffered post atrocity stress with leisure stocks such as Merlin & Whitbread also easing. This is human nature and normal practice after terrorist attacks.
In the US Alphabet/Google saw its share price hit $1000 for the first time valuing the company at $535 billion. We are delighted with Alphabet’s success and hope that proper tax will be paid soon and that help to stop terrorism on the internet will be forthcoming, as I am sure it will. The session was basically lack-lustre though WalMart added 0.8%, Exxon Mobil, despite the drop in oil +0.8%, Microsoft 0.7% and Goldman 0.3%. Apple had a measurable reverse down 1.5%, with United Technologies losing 0.9% and Caterpillar 0.7%. Markets are nervously awaiting the outcome of the Comey hearing. Yesterday US Markets’ closing is set out below & YTD performance – DOW: 21,184 -0.10% +7.193%, S&P: 2,436 -0.12% +8.811% NASDAQ: 5,878 +0.06% +20.859%. As Asian markets were as follows & YTD – NIKKEI: 20,059 -0.57% +4.944%, HANG SENG: 25,967 +0.40% +18.019% CHINA: 3,474 +0.19% +4.936%, ASX: 5,670 -1.47% +0.62%.
IAG’s Willie Walsh has indicated that an independent inquiry will be set up to explain the fracas when 75k people lost their holidays which cost BA circa £150 million. The power fault has yet to be confirmed. It appears now that it was an electrical human error, which disconnected some power. What we want is the unabridged story. It looks as though Nat Rothschild may have lost £170 million from his 7.9% stake in Enel Energy he set up with Tony Hayward shortly after the BP Deep Water Horizon disaster, which cost BP a minimum of $40 billion.
In the last 3 months retail sales fell by 0.3%, mainly down to inflation and uncertainty due to BREXIT. Food sales were up by a very buoyant 3.2%. Shopping demographics are changing all the time with more credence being attached to holidays and entertainment to the detriment of clothes. Hopefully the tourist season should start to pick up, provided terrorist activity subsides.
The FTSE is down 5 points at 7520 at 10.37am, though the FTSE 250 is down 1% – a little pre-election nerves! AO World surrendered 6.2% after disappointing results.
UK companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – AO World, IAG, BP Marsh & Partners, Gem Diamonds, Wednesday – RPC Group, Workspace Group, Thursday – Audio Boom, FlyBe, CMC Markets, Boohoo, Friday – Fuller Smith & Turner
Economic data this week – Wednesday – BRC Shop Index, NIESR GDP, Thursday – US Initial Jobless Claims, Friday – RICS House Prices, UK industrial Production, UK construction, UK Consumer Inflation
Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co
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