TODAY’S FAYRE – Friday, 23rd June 2017
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes. I
see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start.
The game’s afoot: Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’
William Shakespeare – poet & Playwright– 1564 –1616
Happy anniversary! It is exactly a year to the day since we woke up to the fact that the electorate democratically decided that the UK voted to leave the EU. Voters on both sides felt they had been duped by less than balanced campaigns. As usual the young failed to get out of bed to carry the day for the Cameron ‘REMAIN’ campaign. Had they bothered, a very unpleasant period of deep resentment to the result might have been avoided. The young certainly galvanised themselves on social media during the General Election campaign to huge effect, resulting in a wave of new voters turning to J Corbyn for solace and the guarantee of a pot of gold over the horizon. Political demographics have now changed – the old vote Tory and the Young are largely ‘Corbynistas.’ It is ‘social justice’ against disciplined economics and we all know logic will go out of the window on a wave of understandable anger. Investors must realise they could pay a very serious price for vitriolic and vituperative mob oratory! ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook are doing a cracking job of bringing the worst out of society. When I retire ‘twitter’ will no longer play any part of my communication armoury.
It was a sepulchral session on the Street of Dreams yesterday. Oil stopped falling and health care took on some nourishment and a little hope as Trump’s healthcare plans look as if they are heading for the bumper with 4 Republicans – Messrs Rand, Cruz. Lee and Johnson – feel ill-disposed to support the GOP on grounds that it is not draconian enough. Some serious work and time will need to be spent lobbying to the cause. President Trump’s success with Congress, where he has majority is indifferent at best and worrying! Wall Street closed as follows with YTD achievements – DOW: 21,397 -0.06%+8.272% S&P: 2,434-0.05%+8.74%, NASDAQ:5,779 0.04%+18.839%.
The FTSE 100 yesterday lost a parsimonious 8 points to 7439 and I think I am right in saying that this week looks like the 3rd week running that the FTSE has surrendered modest gains. Despite MSCI acquiescing to the inclusion of some Chinese stocks, oil and energy prices dipped presenting little opportunity for equities to make progress. This year oil is down over 20% to circa $45 a barrel. This considered bear territory. US fracking has seen the number of wells increase from circa 180 to over 900 in the last year. Saudi’s spat with Qatar is not helping as at present no one can be quite sure whether Iran is sticking to the agreed quotas. In passing it is interesting to note that Qatar is keen to take a 10% stake in US Airways. Perhaps that is Qatar offering an olive branch to the US Government. Asian markets looked like this as we headed to the close. NIKKEI: 20,129 +0.10% + 5.332%, HANG SENG: 25,666 -0.03% +16.655% CHINA: 3,583 -0.20% +8.258%, ASX: 5,715 +0.16% +0.897%.
This morning the FTSE 100 remained in the Doldrums – down 33 points at 7403. Oils and drugs were generally weaker. The market feels very rich to me. How much longer can the FTSE 100 dine out on the currency trade? There comes a time when sentiment takes over. It may not be far away unless the next quarter’s earnings on both sides of the Pond look encouraging.
There was ‘system’ risk being talked about across Asia in regards to the robustness of Chinese banks. This is an on-going weeping sore. So much money has been lent by these gargantuan banks since the days of 12% growth (down to 6.7% this year) – many of these banks were IPO’d in the last decade. They have ladled out grillions – much of it against property or consumer consumption. Many skyscrapers remain somnolent and empty. The situation may have been exacerbated by Chinese overseas investors buying huge property holdings, football clubs, stakes in entertainment companies etc. Companies such as Dalian Wanda, Fosun International and HNA have seen sharp reverses to their share prices – some down yesterday by 9% yesterday. If it were US, EU or UK banks I would be very worried. However the Chinese government has a way of papering very successfully over the cracks of stress. Chickens will eventually come home to roost but the evil day may be some way off. Many of the companies I mentioned saw modest rallies today.
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