TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday 29th August 2017
“Through long nursery nights he stood
By my bed unwearying,
Loomed gigantic, formless, queer,
Purring in my haunted ear
That same hideous nightmare thing,
Talking, as he lapped my blood,
In a voice cruel and flat,
Saying for ever, “Cat! … Cat! … Cat!…”
That one word was all he said,
That one word through all my sleep,
In monotonous mock despair.
Nonsense may be light as air,
But there’s Nonsense that can keep
Horror bristling round the head,
When a voice cruel and flat Says for ever,
“Cat! … Cat! … Cat!…” H
e had faded, he was gone
Years ago with Nursery Land,
When he leapt on me again
From the clank of a night train,
Overpowered me foot and head,
Lapped my blood, while on and on
The old voice cruel and flat Says for ever,
“Cat! … Cat! … Cat!…”
Morphia drowsed, again
I lay In a crater by High Wood:
He was there with straddling legs,
Staring eyes as big as eggs,
Purring as he lapped my blood,
His black bulk darkening the day,
With a voice cruel and flat,
“Cat! … Cat! … Cat! … Cat!…” he said, “Cat! … Cat!…”
When I’m shot through heart and head,
And there’s no choice but to die,
The last word I’ll hear, no doubt, Won’t be
“Charge!” or “Bomb them out!” Nor the stretcher-bearer’s cry,
“Let that body be, he’s dead!”
But a voice cruel and flat
Saying for ever, “Cat! … Cat! … Cat!”
Robert Graves – Poet – 1895-1985
“We must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its own inferior races. The Tasmanians . . . were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space if fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?” – HG Wells – 1866-1946
Anyone in this country concerned about the way the UK’S fabric of society and its disintegration is panning out and the degree of hatred which is gaining momentum by almost epidemic proportions should take an evening or an afternoon out and go and see Kathryn Bigelow’s new film ‘Detroit.’ Anyone who has seen M/S Bigelow’s film ‘The Hurt Locker’ knows that she majors in violence and unpleasantness. ‘Detroit’ takes us back to 1967, when the Detroit city was under curfew as the Michigan National Guard patrolled its streets, which resulted in murder, mayhem and pillaging on an industrial scale. Rarely, if ever, have I seen unadulterated hatred portrayed so graphically on screen. Ironically, two Englishmen, John Boyega and Will Poulter are the two main stars and my word their performances are quite brilliant! This film may not win too many awards, but it sends out a very powerful message that we should all heed.
I read today’s FT headline on Theresa May’s forthcoming visit to Japan, where PM Abe is likely to put any trade agreement with the UK on the back burner in favour of first agreeing one with the EU. Knowing the EU, that could take years. The FT, now owned by NIKKEI, will be more than well-informed. My thoughts are two-fold. If Mrs May was unaware of Japan’s views then that was an act of gross diplomatic discourtesy. If she did know she should never have gone. It diminishes her authority and that of the government yet again.
Again BREXIT Secretary Davis is being pushed around unceremoniously by Michel Barnier. The EU ‘bully-boy’ is asking for transparency and clarity over the divorce bill and the Citizens’ charter. Everyone agrees with him over the latter, but as regards the rest of it, these negotiations are inextricably intertwined to quote David Davis. Time marches on and there is little evidence of progress. Barner & Davis would be well advised not to hang their dirty linen until all other avenues of diplomacy have failed. Walking out or just leaving would be an insane alternative for both parties. However it cannot be ruled out, much as the EU thinks it is in the driving seat.
There is quite a compendium of news to consider this morning, but little of earth shattering proportions. Wall Street had a sepulchral session as Kin Jong Un had yet to drop his business in North China Sea. Yesterday US markets closed as follows with the Street of Dreams quietly going about its business, despite flood disaster in Houston – DOW -0.02%, S&P +0.05%, NASDAQ +0.28%. Exxon fell 0.33% after the oil major shut its Baytown refinery – the second largest in the US – in a Houston suburb because of the heavy floodwaters. Royal Dutch Shell fell 0.19% after it stopped making fuel at its Deer Park, Texas, plant. Chevron was down 0.4%. However, refiner Valero Energy climbed 1.1%. Home Depot (HD.N) rose 1.2% as it is likely to benefit from rebuilding efforts in the region. Insurer Travelers was the largest drag on the Dow with a 2.6%, while Allstate fell 1.5% as investors assessed the likely impact of Harvey on the sector. Kite Pharmaceuticals surged 28.0% after Gilead Sciences agreed to buy the immunotherapy developer in a deal valued at $11.9 billion. Shares of Gilead rose 1.2%. Expedia (EXPE.O) declined 4.5% after an internal memo by the online travel services company.
Needless to say Asia suffered from the vagaries of missile activity and at the close markets closed as follows – ASX -0.7%, Shanghai +0.1%, Hang Seng -0.3% and the NIKKEI -0.5%. Astra Zeneca will be stepping up its investment in the UK particularly in Macclesfield, where the company employs 3500 people. The Investment Association’s Chris Cummings expressed his dismay at the responsibility put on his trade association for implementing controlled executive remuneration packages. Heineken may only have to sell 30 pubs after buying Punch Taverns’ 1900 outlets. The industry has reacted furiously. The UK government has been left in a quandary, thanks to its ambivalent attitude towards Qatar. Saudi Arabia may well be sufficiently irritated to withdraw support to the LSE’s participation in the Aramco IPO.
Reacting to North Korean madness the FTSE had shed 101 points by 9.300am this morning to 7300, with mining, oils, banking all down 1% plus.
UK companies posting numbers – Tuesday – Bunzl, Nostrum Oil & Gas, Wednesday – James Fisher, HSS Hire, The Gym Group, Thursday – Alpha Bank, Ladbrokes Coral, Restaurant Group, Churchill China, Hays, Chesnara, Melrose, STV
US companies posting interim results – Tuesday – Best Buy, Christopher & Banks, H&R Block, Wednesday – Brown & Forman, Analog Devices, Dycom, Chico’s FAS, Thursday – Dollar General, Ciena, Campbell Soups, Friday – Ford Motor Co (sales release)
Economic data due this week – Tuesday – German Gfk Consumer Climate, Wednesday – Nationwide House prices, UK Mortgage approvals, US ADP Index, US GDP preliminary, Thursday – Gfk UK Consumer Confidence, US Intial Jobless Claims, US Pending Home Sales, Friday – UK PMI Manufacturing, US Non-Farm Payrolls, unemployment rate and hourly earnings, US PMI Manufacturing, US ISM Manufacturing & Construction.
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