TODAY’S FAYRE – Monday, 24th July 2017
“Three lovely notes he whistled, too soft to be heard
If others sang; but others never sang
In the great beech-wood all that May and June.
No one saw him: I alone could hear him
Though many listened. Was it but four years
Ago? or five? He never came again.
Oftenest when I heard him I was alone,
Nor could I ever make another hear.
La-la-la! he called, seeming far-off—
As if a cock crowed past the edge of the world,
As if the bird or I were in a dream.
Yet that he travelled through the trees and sometimes
Neared me, was plain, though somehow distant still
He sounded. All the proof is—I told men
What I had heard.
I never knew a voice,
Man, beast, or bird, better than this. I told
The naturalists; but neither had they heard
Anything like the notes that did so haunt me,
I had them clear by heart and have them still.
Four years, or five, have made no difference. Then
As now that La-la-la! was bodiless sweet:
Sad more than joyful it was, if I must say
That it was one or other, but if sad
‘Twas sad only with joy too, too far off
For me to taste it. But I cannot tell
If truly never anything but fair
The days were when he sang, as now they seem.
This surely I know, that I who listened then,
Happy sometimes, sometimes suffering
A heavy body and a heavy heart,
Now straightway, if I think of it, become
Light as that bird wandering beyond my shore.”
Edward Thomas – poet – 1878-1917
I watched the final round of the Open Golf at Royal Birkdale yesterday! What a championship and what a Houdini act by Jordan Spieth – a worthy winner by three shots from Matt Kucher. However I had to laugh at the fact that the majority of the players sported designer stubble, 7 o’clock shadow or beards. I’ve always had huge respect for Warren Buffett’s investment perception. He must have been very happy that Gillette, in whom he had a sizeable investment, was sold to Procter & Gamble in 2005 for $57 billion. After all know one shaves these days apart from very few of us!
To find that the District Line was closed after the weekend’s reconstruction work on the line did not best please me at 5.45am this morning. It strikes me that since Mayor Khan assumed his duties London, as a City, has gone backwards. Fewer houses have been built since the previous year. The capital is like a builder’s yard in terms of the roads. Cyclists now get greater preferential treatment than cars, buses and taxis, making life for the business community irksome in the extreme. The Mayor just spends his time whinging about BREXIT, rather than being pro-active about making our capital fit for purpose to encourage business to come to London.
All Mayor Khan seems to do is to get in on every photo opportunity available, whilst involving himself in political rows that don’t concern him, like ‘slagging off’ and being discourteous to President Trump, when it is none of his business. He’s neither the Government nor the monarchy. I am amazed that he cannot see that dealing effectively with London’s housing and transport is massive job of gargantuan proportions. Get on with it, man!
Just a word about Chris Froome, who won his third ‘Tour de France’; there has been scant coverage over his not inconsiderable achievement. I suppose cycling is a ‘tainted sport.’ However there is no evidence that Chris has behaved in any way but in an exemplary manner and therefore he should be accorded respect. Amazing that last year Froome never got even close to making the podium in BBC’S SPOTY!
As Anthony Scaramucci starts to weave his own personalised web of White House news flow, as the newly appointed press officer, coupled with President Trump’s comments that he has the right to pardon anyone he cares to, the Dollar sank to a 2-year low. The Greenback’s decline was also aided and abetted by Trump stating unequivocally in a moment of deep frustration that his administration would just watch Obamacare fail. Consequently Asia did not enjoy a particularly fruitful session. As we headed towards the close, Asian markets stood as follows coupled with YTD performances – NIKKEI 19,985 -0.57% +4.458% HANG SENG 26,846 +0.53% +21.993% CHINA 3,743 +0.39% +13.057% ASX 5,681 -0.71% +0.349%.
Here in Old Blighty the IMF was quick out of the blocks in suggesting UK and US economic growth for 2017 is being downgraded by the IMF from 2% to 1.7% in terms of the UK. The UK enjoyed “weaker than expected activity” in the first three months of the year – in contrast to its EU neighbours in France, Spain, Germany and Italy, who all had their growth forecasts revised up. China and Japan also show positive figures. These UK figures are often misleading in isolation. It is as well as to remember that for some years Germany, France and particularly Spain were recovering from growth significantly lower than ours. So ‘nil desperandum’, despite EY thinking there is a chance that UK will dip back temporarily in to recession, I am not that downbeat. The immediate problem the UK has is inflation close to 3% with wage inflation lagging at circa 2%. This needs to be addressed. The US has a similar problem.
We have all watched the way US banks have put on significant value since the US Presidential election with the likes of Goldman and JP Morgan rallying by between 27% and 32%. Hence I suppose we cannot be surprised that the likes of Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon likely to change the shape of their respective backs, humping largesse all the way to their respective safes. Their share holdings are worth about $150 million each. The FT tells us that Europe’s CEO earn about half what US bank chiefs do. It is hardly surprising, when the likes of Deutsche Bank have surrendered 28% in value in the last year. It is interesting to note that in the UK seven out of 10 people believe that banks have not learned the lessons on the 2008/9 financial crisis.
This week is a huge earnings week. So the jury is out. However the FTSE 100 is currently down 49 points at 7403, with banks, mining and oil stocks easier thanks in some degree to an easier Dollar. Reckitt posted adequate numbers, but the shares have travelled and arrived – down 1.67%. Ryanair, despite all Michael O’Leary’s moaning & groaning about BREXIT saw profits up 55% thanks in some way to a great Easter holiday – shares are down 3.5%. Again they have had a great run in the past year and perhaps there is a need for a rest.
UK companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – PZ Cussons, Domino Pizzas, Games Workshop, Virgin Money, Provident Financial, Informa, Rathbone, Wednesday – 3i Group, ITV, GKN, Tullow, Hammerson, Compass Group, Robert Walters, PayPoint, Unite Group, Glaxo SmithKline, Antofagasta, Marston’s, Brewin Dolphin, Paragon, Sage Group, Thursday – Royal Dutch Shell, BATS, Lloyds Banking Group, Thos Cook, Smith & Nephew, Diageo, Sky, Mitchell & Butler, Tate & Lyle, Bodycote, Ladbroke Coral, CMC Markets, Jardine Lloyd Thompson, Vesuvius, Intu Properties, RELX, Weir Group, Just Eat, Inchcape, National Express, St James’s Place, Countrywide, Astra Zeneca Friday – Barclays, Rightmove, Essentra, BT Group, UBM, IAG, Lonmin
US companies posting results this week – Monday – Halliburton, Alphabet, Anadarko, Tuesday – Caterpillar, 3Ms, Pulte, Biogen, JetBlue, General Motors, Dolby Systems, AT&T, Texas Instruments, Amgen, Wednesday – BGC Partners, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, PayPal, Facebook, Whole Foods, Whirlpool, Xilinx, Thursday – Raytheon, Conoco-Phillips, NGM Resorts, Valero Energy, Bristol Myers Squibb, Dupont, KKR, Twitter, Procter & Gamble, BJ Restaurants, Intel, Starbucks, Mattel, Friday – American Airlines, Goodyear, Chevron, Exxon Mobil
Economic data posted this week – Monday – US existing Home Sales, Tuesday – US Consumer Confidence, Wednesday – Nationwide House price Index, UK GDP Preliminary, FOMC Statement, US New Home Sales, Thursday – US durable Goods, UD Initial Jobless Claims, US GDP preliminary, University of Michigan Consumer Confidence
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