Monthly Archives: December 2017

TODAY’S FAYRE

 

TODAY’S FAYRE – Friday, 29thDecember 2017

 

 

“I had a dream, which was not all a dream.

The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars

Did wander darkling in the eternal space,

Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth

Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;

Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,

And men forgot their passions in the dread

Of this their desolation; and all hearts

Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:

And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,

The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,

The habitations of all things which dwell,

Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum’d,

And men were gather’d round their blazing homes

To look once more into each other’s face;

Happy were those who dwelt within the eye

Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:

A fearful hope was all the world contain’d;

Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour

They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks

Extinguish’d with a crash—and all was black.

 

George Gordon, Lord Byron – poet – 1904-1973

 

Rising from my pit at 3.30am in the morning on Wednesday and Thursday to watch Alistair Cook make his double hundred at the MCG was amongst the more worthwhile achievements I have witnessed in recent months. Great to see a real gentleman of the game return to form with the minimum of fuss having taken a tsunami of criticism along the way! Fantastic!

 

There can be few people who are not fed to the back teeth with BREXIT for the way it has deeply divided the country and according to some august economists leaving it dangerously uncertain as to its economic future. However perhaps it is as well to remember how events unfolded leading up to the referendum on 23rd June 2016 and the ensuing months of turmoil that followed. The Sunday Times’s Tim Shipman has written the most marvellous tome – ‘ALL OUT WAR’ – which gives a blow by blow account of the coterie of camps – Vote Leave, Leave EU and ‘Stronger’ In and ‘Remain’ with all the intrigue manifested by the main ‘dramatis personae!’ What I enjoyed so much about it was the fact it was a balanced and objective piece of literature after hours and hours of painstaking research. However, if a push comes to a shove, this book is more about how the ‘Remain’ brigade led by PM Cameron and Chancellor Osborne and its entourage shepherded by Sir Craig Oliver lost the referendum campaign rather than the Brexiteers winning it!

There is no doubt that Nigel Farage’s 20-year crusade to take the UK out of the EU triggered the referendum. The country and the PM’s team, a year before ‘D-Day’, thought ‘Remain’ were ‘nailed-on’, apart from George Osborne, who never wanted the referendum to be called and always nursed grave doubts about winning it. Why were ‘Remain’ put to the sword?

There were many contributing factors. Firstly the EU was never open to reform; or if it was, it had a funny way of showing it. They never considered throwing David Cameron a bone for the voters to chew on. Being out of the Euro and not part of Schengen plus the power of veto was never enough to persuade the majority of a disenchanted public that those factors were sufficient to maintain membership.

The main reasons for Brexiteers’ success were as follows. The dislike of much of the Tory party and the establishment was greatly underestimated. The fact that Farage managed to galvanise much of the North of England to vote Leave was erroneously dismissed by both Tories and Labour alike. ‘Stronger In’ hugely underestimated immigration and that it was a real concern for the blue collar worker, was a major deciding issue. ‘Remain’ never attempted to deal with the problem or placate those concerned until it was too late!

David Cameron refused from day one of the campaign to launch any personal attacks on the likes of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. In hindsight that was probably a mistake. Craig Oliver never managed to persuade the PM to change his mind.

The timing and ferociousness of George Osborne’s presentation of ‘Project Fear’, despite the support of the Bank of England, the Treasury and the IMF that leaving the EU would precipitate the UK’s economy going to hell and a hand cart was never believed by the public, even when Cable fell from $1.50 to $1.25 in a heart-beat! In fact comments that families could be worse off by £4,300 a year was counter-productive. ‘Remain’ also failed to make sufficient capital out of the Johnson/Gove preposterous idea that the NHS would benefit by £350m a week. The economy should have been the big winner for ‘Stronger IN’ but the message never had sufficient resonance. Immigration was sadly the dominating factor. It shouldn’t have been as good immigration is great for the country. All that was required was the guarantee of improved policing. Brexiteers’ social media influence and particularly that of UKIP was vastly superior to that of ‘Stronger In.’

The most surprising negative factor for ‘Stronger In’ failing to get the result they expected was the wholly inadequate and inept performance of Jeremy Corbyn and his left wing acolytes, who seemed totally ambivalent about what was at stake. Corbyn’s understanding of BREXIT and what it would mean and including the basis of Article 50 was breathtakingly incompetent and frankly ridiculously naive for a leader of the major opposition party. One was left with the impression that Labour felt that ‘BREXIT’ was a Tory crusade and hard-left socialism was damned if it was going to be constructive by rallying to the cause. Jeremy Corbyn’s contribution to the referendum campaign was a disgrace. Had he and his cronies put in the work as supposed supporters of EU membership it might have been another story! This is a fabulous account and a tremendous £8.99’s worth!

At the time of writing the DOW has added 25.6% so far this year and nearly 40% since Donald Trump became President, with the NASDAQ +29%, the Shanghai Composite +21.4% , the Hang Seng +35.7% and the NIKKEI 19.2%. The DAX is 13% to the good and the CAC is up only 9.7%, despite Macron euphoria.  The FTSE 100 sadly has languished way behind and is only 6.7% in credit over the same period. There are reasons for this underwhelming performance.  Firstly the FTSE 100 has been a foreign exchange play.  The Pound fell by 17% in the last 6 months of 2016, which allowed the FTSE 100 to post at 17% gain to the end of 2016, as 60% on the constituent stocks post Dollar earnings.  This year the Pound has gained 7% against the Dollar, so those perennials such as the miners, HSBC, Imperial Brands, Glaxo and BP have posted anaemic performances, as have some banks, utilities and retail stocks. There has also been the uncertainty of BREXIT hanging over equities like the sword of Damocles.  However the FTSE 250 has gained a very respectable 14.5%, but did reach an all-time record of 20472 in early November.

Yesterday in London was a sepulchral session with the FTSE 100 adding 2 points t 7622 – a high closing for the year.  Personally I am not optimistic about the FTSE 100 for 2018. Why.  The Pound may go stronger if BREXIT negotiations fair well.  Retail looks a very doubtful sector with inflation and disposable income not increasing plus the great God Amazon hanging over the high street like the sword of Damocles. Oil and mining stocks may just come to the rescue!  Yesterday the DOW finished at record levels and not a million miles away from 25k. DOW +0.26%, S&P +0.18%, NASDAQ +0.16%.  Asian markets appear to lack ambition on the last day of the year though Chinese’ investors still maintain a little appetite to crack on despite a faltering $ & higher oil prices – ASX -0.21%, Shanghai +0.08%, Hang Seng +0.35%, Nikkei +0.15% at the time of writing.  The FTSE 100 is set to open 8 points higher.

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF

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TODAY’S FAYRE

 

TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday, 21st December 2017

 

 

“In my sky at twilight you are like a cloud
and your form and colour are the way I love them.
You are mine, mine, woman with sweet lips
and in your life my infinite dreams live.

The lamp of my soul dyes your feet,
the sour wine is sweeter on your lips,
oh reaper of my evening song,
how solitary dreams believe you to be mine!

You are mine, mine, I go shouting it to the afternoon’s
wind, and the wind hauls on my widowed voice.
Huntress of the depth of my eyes, your plunder
stills your nocturnal regard as though it were water.

You are taken in the net of my music, my love,
and my nets of music are wide as the sky.
My soul is born on the shore of your eyes of mourning.
In your eyes of mourning the land of dreams begin.”

 

 

Pablo Neruda – poet – 1904-1973

 

Up until Tuesday morning, PM May had every right to be relatively satisfied with the EU negotiations, considering that the whole episode has been an absolute nightmare since the June General election, when the PM was virtually  politically “knee-capped” thanks to a truly inept campaign, which took away the Government’s overall majority. The PM, David Davis et all have taken the negotiations on to phase two, which was no mean achievement considering that dealing with Tusk, Verhofstadt, Juncker and Barnier is akin to attempting to pick up quicksilver. In fairness to Barnier, he is but a servant of his political leaders, though he is very duplicitously calculating.

So I was very disappointed to hear yet again that Barnier was briefing against the UK Government when stating the obvious that there would be no special deal for UK financial services, if the UK was not a member of the single market.  There is nothing new in that statement but it should be reiterated to David Davis and Sir Tim Barrow, not the Guardian or any other newspaper, assuming Barnier is interested in promoting goodwill and that is very much in doubt.

CityAM told us this morning that Britain has been crowned the best country in the world for business in 2018 for the first time ever, even in the face of uncertainties around Brexit, according to Forbes’ annual ranking. The UK took the top spot out of 153 nations and jumped up from fifth place last year, scoring particularly well on technological readiness (fourth) and the size and education of its workforce (third). The rankings were based on 15 different factors including property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape and investor protection.

The BBC’S Simon Jack has reported that banks offering wholesale finance – money and services provided to businesses and each other – would operate under existing rules. Mark Carney, BOE Governor, has quite rightly been clear that will be the case. Retribution would be counter-productive. These facilities would apply even in a “no deal” scenario.  It is thought the BOE will confirm these facilities today.

It means EU banks operating through branches can continue without creating subsidiaries – an expensive process. The difference between branches and subsidiaries is something all of us might have hoped not to care about ever but it is significant – so please bear with me. Branches offer an easy way for banks to move money around their international operations, but present the risk that in the event of a financial crisis, funds are quickly repatriated to the foreign bank’s headquarters – leaving customers of the UK branch out of pocket. Subsidiaries are forced to hold their own shock-absorbing capital and essentially become UK companies. Changing from a branch to a subsidiary could cost billions for a bank like Deutsche Bank, for example, which employs 9,000 people in the UK. Currently, banks based anywhere in the EU can sell services to anywhere else in the EU thanks to an instrument known a financial services passport.

 

Despite the DOW rallying by almost 40% since President Trump’s inauguration in November 2016, he has managed very little in the way of a change in legislation, though expectation for tax cuts, particularly corporation tax from 35% to 21% have been at fever-pitch.  This now looks like it may come to fruition before Christmas. This cut would boost overall earnings for S&P 500 companies by 9.1 percent, according to UBS equity strategists, lifting the prospects in particular for banks, telecoms, healthcare transport, tech and other industries that stand to gain the most from lower corporate tax rates. Banks pay the most prohibitive taxation of 27.5%. Tech is expected to benefit less than most other sectors from a drop in the corporate rate, with an earnings boost of 5.3 percent, according to UBS. Though semiconductors could lose 3% of their profits. Needless to say these overall tax arrangements are tied up with the repatriation of ‘one-time- taxation of overseas earnings to the US.

 

 

The news about Poundland’s owners Steinhoff, which has seen its share price collapse as the investigation in to accountancy irregularities gathers momentum, is not wholly discouraging for its 18,000 employees.  This retail operation looks to be in good shape and not doubt it could be sold, if Steinhoff fails to survive.  The same cannot be said for Toys 4 Us, whose 3,200 employees could lose their jobs as early as today, since the Pension regulator refuses to support a recovery programme, unless the £9 million pension contribution is met forthwith.  Finally the CMA has approved the £3.7 billion takeover of Booker by Tesco.  It sees no conflict of interest, nor does it see that prices will be falsely increased by its wholesale division.  There is plenty of wholesale competition to keep wraps on prices. Tesco share price has risen from 187 to 206p (+10%) in the last month, such was the confidence that the deal would be consummated. At 9.20am the FTSE is up 4 points at 7547.

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Friday, 15th December 2017

 

 

“I wish I could remember that first day,

First hour, first moment of your meeting me,

If bright or dim the season, it might be

Summer or Winter for aught I can say;

So unrecorded did it slip away,

So blind was I to see and to foresee,

So dull to mark the budding of my tree

That would not blossom yet for many a May.

If only I could recollect it, such

A day of days! I let it come and go

As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;

It seemed to mean so little, meant so much;

If only now I could recall that touch,

First touch of hand in hand – Did one but know!”

 

 

Christina Rossetti – poet – 1830-1894

 

This has all the hallmarks of making a very exciting game of test match cricket. How typical of England to lose its last 6 wickets for less than 50 runs after magnificent efforts from Malan and Bairstow – all out 403. With Warner and Bancroft happily back in the pavilion, Australia’s Smith is 92 not out and looking in ominously good form – 203 for 3 at the close!

 

Quote of the day from Ian Dale of LBC on twitter – Love the hypocrisy of EU leaders who keep telling us “the clock is ticking” then tell us they’re not ready to start trade talks until March. So glad we’ll soon be out of this corrupt organisation.

 

Yesterday Walt Disney agreed a deal, but yet to be confirmed by the regulators, to acquire many assets from 21st Century FOX for a consideration of about $60 billion. This news kept the Street of Dreams bubbling over, whilst most investors were suffering from a dose of the collywobbles! Why? President Trump might just NOT get his taxation reforms through the Senate and Congress. Marco Rubio has made it clear he will not support these proposals and dear old Jon McCain is gravely ill. So he may not be able to get Capitol Hill to vote! So unsurprisingly some risk was taken off the table! When the clanger went at the end of the session the three main markets closed as follows – DOW -0.31%, S&P -0.41% and the NASDAQ -0.28%. Oracle (-4%) and Costco posted numbers (+2.34%). The former did not please its acolytes and even though Costco has had a decent run on the rails it cracked on adding 2.34%. The Asian markets were also out of sorts, taking their lead from New York – ASX -0.25, Shanghai Composite -0.8%, Hang Seng -1.1% and the NIKKEI -0.6%

 

Yesterday, London’s main index lost 48 points at 7348, with Sports Direct and Capita both the big losers on the day easing by 10% and 12% respectively. With Mike Ashley having lost his case to pay his brother John another £11 million as back pay from 2007, investors were greatly irritated with the measurable drop in profits despite a 4.7% increase in revenues. Ashley is probably more pre-occupied in attempting to sell Newcastle United for between £250 million and £300 million to Amanda Staveley’s consortium, which may come from the Middle East or the Far East. Since 2014 Sports Direct’s share price has dropped from 900p to circa 350p. Since Ashley owns about 61% of the company, selling the Magpies well would have significant merit by adding to his depleted coffers.

 

This morning in London has been all about the options market where there were huge positions up for renewal. Again the Main 100 index has bobbed around between 20 down to 5 up, where it currently stands now at 7448. Glencore, on a buy note from JP Morgan, has been all the rage for the last few days. BATS were in demand and HSBC has shed a few pennies. Barclays has also been weak on a sale note from Investec. Hennes & Mauritz posted some deeply disappointing sales numbers today – down 2% for the last trading period. The shares, unsurprisingly “suffered the slings and arrow of outrageous fortune!” – Down a whopping 15% – suffering as NEXT has, starting in September 2015 (£79). Today NEXT shares stand at £43.

 

What of the possibility of a ‘Santa Rally?’ I won’t necessarily say that Trump’s tax reform issues have put the kibosh on it. A ‘Santa rally’ has occurred 75% of the time between 16th and 18th December over the past 40 years. There is probably more concern about valuations than before. Let’s face it the DOW and the S&P have rallied by 20% or so this year and the NASDAQ by nearly 30%. However London is only up 4% this year as it has been an FX play. The Pound stood at $1.25 in January and it is at $1.33 today and 60% of the stocks are Dollar earners.  But remember there is plenty of money sloshing around and when gilt yields for 10 years only stand at 1.23% and dividends on decent growth companies command yields of between 3-6%, it’s a no-brainer unless one thinks interest rates are seriously on the march. Most fund managers and investors have ruled off this year. However others come into funds at this time of year and consequently tracker funds attract surpluses. My own reading of the situation here in ‘Old Blighty’ is that the rally if there is one, will rather be measured! – Merry Christmas!

 

 

Economic data due this coming week – Friday – US industrial Production

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF ​

TODAY’S FAYRE

 

TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday, 14th December 2017

 

 

Talking in bed ought to be easiest,
Lying together there goes back so far,
An emblem of two people being honest.
Yet more and more time passes silently.
Outside, the wind’s incomplete unrest
Builds and disperses clouds in the sky,
And dark towns heap up on the horizon.
None of this cares for us. Nothing shows why
At this unique distance from isolation
It becomes still more difficult to find
Words at once true and kind,
Or not untrue and not unkind.”

 

Philip Larkin – poet – 1922-1985

 

On Tuesday I was going make my views known on the question of who should win BBC SPOTY this year.  It looked quite an average year for achievement.  I suppose Lewis Hamilton and Anthony Joshua will be the red-hot jollies! I was going to make a very strong case for Chris Froome, who this year won his third Tour de France and the Spanish Vuelta.  Until whoops! – Out came the news that he had taken double the acceptable dose of a hay-fever drug, recommended by his doctor during the Spanish cycling marathon.  Even though it was not a performance-enhancing stimulant, it is still against the spirit of the sport. Why does cycling always have to court controversy or skulduggery! I suspect that Froome is a pillar of sporting society, but surely he must realise that in cycling competitions ANY drug has DANGER written all over it!  Back to the drawing board to find the winner of next Sunday’s competition! 

The government’s defeat by the opposition and just over a dozen Tory rebels headed by Stephen Hammond and the passionately trappy Anna Soubry of the Dominic Grieve Amendment to its EU exit bill is more significant than many people think.  To be a person of principal by putting your country before party may be laudable, but nonetheless that is very much in doubt in my opinion. It may just prove to be an act of subversion to destroy BREXIT, even though that may not have been the overall intention.  What should be far more worrying for these ‘REMAIN REBELS’ is that they are helping to hand the keys of No: 10 to Jeremy Corbyn. To me and many thousands of others that is a really horrifying prospect and significantly more dangerous than leaving the EU in an orderly manner!

And so to the WACCA in Perth, where England won the toss on a very good, but dry pitch. The batting line up is struggling with the extra bounce with four back in the hutch for 175 – Cook, Vince, Stoneman and Root. A big first innings score is essential and England are struggling! We need a massive century and it is hard to see this manifesting itself against an aggressive trio like Starc, Hazlewood and Cummings, with Lyon chipping in!

The FED, as was expected, raised short term interest rates for a third time this year and predicted possibly five more rate rises in the current cycle to maybe as high as 2.75%. This meeting of the FOMC was Janet Yellen’s valedictory effort as she prepares to hand over the chair to Jerome Powell amid robust employment data and surging financial markets. The FOMC increased the target range for the federal funds rate by a quarter point to 1.25-1.5 per cent. Policymakers’ median forecast was for another three quarter-point increases in 2018 and two in 2019, even as they acknowledged inflation is continuing to undershoot their target. Also yesterday the US Senate and House Republicans reached a possible agreement over tax legislation (corporation tax don to 21%) that could add fuel to a recovery that is already seeing annualised growth exceeding 3 per cent and the lowest unemployment for over a decade.

Bob Iger of Walt Disney is close to acquiring many of 21st Century Fox’s assets hoping to accelerate the entertainment giant’s ambitions in streaming media, shore up its television business and grab hold of lucrative movie franchises. The deal, expected to be announced today, would value the assets Disney is acquiring at $60 billion, including debt. Those assets include the Twentieth Century Fox movie and TV studio, cable channels including regional sports networks and key international properties. They don’t include properties such as Fox News and broadcast assets. The pact would value 21st Century Fox as a whole at around $40 a share, the people said. Disney would pay $28 to $29 a share for Fox assets, and the all-stock deal would leave Fox investors owning about 25% of the enlarged Disney.

 

Yesterday US markets did well to keep their poise against a background of the FED decision and a softer Dollar.  Markets on the Street of Dreams closed as follows – DOW +0.33%, S&P -0.05%, NASDAQ +0.20%  This morning Asian markets paused and reflected on the global effect of FED decision resulting in stronger Yen – At the time of writing Asian markets stood as follows – ASX unchanged, Shanghai -0.20%, Hang Seng-0.02%, Nikkei -0.41%. Yesterday the FTSE lost 4 points to 7496 in a quiet session with many fund managers attempting to rule off for the year. Dixon Carphone’s numbers grabbed what few headlines there were and its shares rallied by 6.3% to 179.99p, as the results were deemed to be slightly less awful than expected. Profits halved for the half year down to £61 million, as expected and this drop in activity was down to the fact that consumers are reluctant to pay £1000 for all singing and dancing mobiles and are hanging on longer to what they have.  CEO Sebastian James said the company that it was not the intention to cut back on the 700 outlets currently used. Dixons has 2139 stores and enjoyed a robust Black Friday and Cyber Monday with PC World and their own brand doing well. Mobile phone sales were down 3%.  Rupert Soames’s Serco had a great session and its shares were up 6.7% on news it had bought good assets from Carillion’s healthcare division.

 

The Office for National Statistics said average weekly wages rose by 2.3% in the three months to October, slightly better than last month but below inflation at 3%. Real earnings, which take into account the cost of living, fell by 0.4%. Unemployment declined by 26,000 to 1.43 million, while the jobless rate remained at 4.3%, the lowest since 1975. It does not sound like Christmas will be great for retailers with consumers having less disposable income. Real incomes have not grown for about 11 years.

 

Simon French Panmure’s chief economist says – “It’s the second day of the Bank of England’s policy meeting – with the decision at noon. It would a major surprise if it was anything other than 9-0 for HOLD after last month’s rate hike. Much like last night’s Fed meeting it is all about the guidance for 2018. We still expect Bank Rate to be on hold throughout 2018 but any signs that tighter labour supply is causing higher wages (or a continued spike in oil prices) could bring the MPC back into play. The other aspect to this is that given the government has seemingly thrown in the towel on hard Brexit, then that most damaging economic outcome is now more unlikely so may embolden more bullish commentary. I expect it to be written up as a “hawkish hold”.    

Sports Direct and Ocado

 

 

UK Companies posting numbers this week – Thursday – PZ Cussons, Capita, Sports Direct, 888 Holdings, Bunzl, Ocado, Petrofac

US companies posting interim results this week – Thursday – Oracle, Adobe Systems, Jabil Circuits, Costco

 

Economic data due this coming week – Tuesday – UK Inflation Data, UK House Price Index, US PPI, Wednesday – UK Wage Growth, UK unemployment data, US CPI, US Federal Reserve monetary policy decision, Thursday – UK Retail sales, MPC Decision Meeting, US Retail sales & US PMI Composite, Friday – US industrial Production

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF

MARKET UPDATE

Inflation rose to 3.1% in November, the highest in nearly six years, as the squeeze on households continued, though it was mainly down to transportation (airlines) cost, with some carriers capitalising on the demise of Monarch, according to the Office of National Statistics, which posted this data at 9.30am. Also the cost of computer games is on the march. Core inflation remains steady at 2.7%

The most recent data shows that average weekly wages are growing at just 2.2%. Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, will now have to write a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond explaining how the Bank intends to bring inflation back to its 2% target. Mr Carney has to write a letter to the chancellor if the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rate is above 3% or below 1%. With the Pound more resilient than it was last year many economists are of the opinion that inflation should start to come down in 2018. Therefore it would be a surprise if the MPC were to hike rates by 0.25% on Thursday.

Though we have seen signs of a ‘Santa Rally’ at the start of the week, it is hard to be really positive in thinking there is some measurable momentum behind this push, though fund managers will come in to cash resulting in tracker funds benefitting from this largesse. At 11.35am the FTSE 100 is up 19 points at 7472. Oils in the form of BP and Shell are strong on the back of a firmer crude oil price. The everyday perennials such as GSK, Astra, Diageo and Reckitt Benckiser have all added a few coppers here and there. Banks have been uninteresting and as a sector are down 0.25% on average.

 

Of those companies that reported today, sadly Carpetright came out with another marginal profits warning – down 6%. Robert Waters posted an encouraging outlook with more contracts in the bag – +7.5%. Drax’s efforts were uninteresting – down 2%. Balfour Beatty’s show looks like it may be back on the road – +1%. The DOW futures are up 25 points at present.

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 12th December 2017

 

 

“Circling the Sun, at a respectful distance,
Earth remains warmed, not roasted, but the Moon
Circling the Earth, at a disdainful distance,
Will drive men lunatic (should they defy her)
With seeds of wintry love, not sown for spite.

Mankind, so far, continues undecided
On the Sun’s gender – grammars disagree –
As on the Moon’s. Should Moon be god, or goddess:
Drawing the tide, shepherding flocks of stars
That never show themselves by broad daylight?

Thus curious problems of propriety
Challenge all ardent lovers of each sex:
Which circles which at a respectful distance,
Or which, instead, at a disdainful distance?
And who controls the regal powers of night?”

 

Robert Graves – poet and author – 1895-1985

 

 

 

I understand the rationale behind wanting to decentralise Government, thus spreading growth industry and commerce more evenly around the country.

 

My colleague Simon French, Chief Economist at Panmure Gordon has long championed the idea of moving Parliament outside of London for that very reason and no time like the present for starting the move in a couple of years’ time when a purpose made building can be erected in the UK’S second city! That would allow the House of Commons to be restored as a historic palace at a cost of much less than the £6 billion estimate to the tax payer for renovating Parliament for the 21st century!

 

However Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s idea of moving the Bank of England to Birmingham is utterly ludicrous! The Bank of England is an extension of the Treasury. Apart from its independent role in setting interest rates, its job is to provide liquidity for the banking fraternity in the World’s largest financial centre! It is also responsible for overseeing regulation and financial stability. If all the major banks are in London, how could the Bank of England do its job effectively and efficiently from Birmingham? Also people who think that technology is the ‘be and end all’ in life are wrong! Inter-personal relationships between market, banking protagonists and regulators are fundamental to sustain an orderly banking system. This nonsense idea to grab a few cheap headlines! In the immortal words of John McEnroe – ‘You cannot be serious!’

 

CityAM’s Jasper Jolly told us yesterday that the London Stock Exchange (LSE) is set to end the year to top the European podium for company floats, bouncing back from a weak 2016 at a crucial time for the exchange. Proceeds from initial public offerings (IPOs) on the London market have been 75 per cent higher than 2016, according to data from accountants PwC. Total funds raised in 91 floats broke through the £10bn mark for the year so far at €11.7bn, well above the €6.7bn raised last year. Who said the City of London’s professional prowess will be trashed by Brexit?

 

The tech sector and telecoms lead the charge to new records on Street of Dreams despite FED rate hike likely on Wednesday. The 3 markets finished as follows – DOW +0.23%, S&P +0.32%, NASDAQ +0.51%. With access to futures on CBOE, Bitcoin traders saw this crypto-currency surged 19% yesterday. Apple will be acquiring the popular song-identification app Shazam for $400 million. Prior to the deal, Shazam was profitable and was used 20 million times a day around the world. Shazam sells ads and makes revenue by referring users to download or stream songs on apps such as iTunes and Spotify.

 

Yesterday the London’s top index gained 59 points to 7453. It looks like a bit of a ‘Santa Rally!’ with insurance companies and energy stocks leading the charge. Market makers went about their business though volumes were nothing out of the ordinary.  This morning higher energy costs seem to blight progress in Asia where most bourses were rudderless, with investors lacking conviction Towards the close markets looked as follows – ASX +0.17%, Shanghai -0.57%, Hang Seng -0.46%, Nikkei -0.21%.

 

The US department of justice has dropped its deferred criminal charges against HSBC. This action is probably due to the fact that management team headed by Douglas Flint and Stuart Gulliver have made sure the bank has complied with all its regulatory requirements since its fine of $1.9 billion for money-laundering in countries such as Mexico and possibly Iran and North Korea back in 2012 . London’s No 1 index is set to open up 16 points.

 

 UK Companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – Carpetright, Drax, Polar Capital, Balfour Beatty, NCC, Wednesday – Bellway, Dixons Carphone, PurpleBricks, Wood Group, Thursday – PZ Cussons, Capita, Sports Direct, 888 Holdings, Bunzl, Ocado, Petrofac

 

US companies posting interim results this week – Thursday – Oracle, Adobe Systems, Jabil Circuits, Costco

 

Economic data due this coming week – Tuesday – UK Inflation Data, UK House Price Index, US PPI, Wednesday – UK Wage Growth, UK unemployment data, US CPI, US Federal Reserve monetary policy decision, Thursday – UK Retail sales, MPC Decision Meeting, US Retail sales & US PMI Composite, Friday – US industrial Production

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF

TODAY’S FAYRE

 

TODAY’S FAYRE – Monday, 11th December 2017

 

“The Love a Life can show Below
Is but a filament, I know,
Of that diviner thing
That faints upon the face of Noon—
And smites the Tinder in the Sun—
And hinders Gabriel’s Wing—

‘Tis this—in Music—hints and sways—
And far abroad on Summer days—
Distils uncertain pain—
‘Tis this enamors in the East—
And tints the Transit in the West
With harrowing Iodine—

‘Tis this—invites—appalls—endows & mda sh;
Flits—glimmers—proves—dissolves—
Returns—suggests—convicts—enchants—
Then—flings in Paradise— 

 

Emily Dickinson – poet – 1830-1986

 

Now that last week’s frenetic activity over the EU/UK negotiations has settled down with the greatest political compromise in living memory, I think it is fair to say that there is no more than an agenda to talk about over how the UK leaves the EU, at what cost plus the continuing influential role of the ECJ as well as a basis of retaining the status quo over the Irish border and that of Northern Ireland.  I think a sieve has rather less holes than this rather nebulous agreement.  ‘Hard Brexiteers’ will almost certainly pick up the cudgel and make their feelings very strongly felt.  I cannot see anyway that the Cabinet hardliners and their key back benchers will buy this potential basis for agreement in a month of Sundays, despite Michael Gove’s surprisingly conciliatory tone towards the achievements of PM Theresa May. However I am very much of the opinion that compromise is the only way of achieving a satisfactory outcome to BREXIT in the light of the Government’s wafer-thin majority and the EU’s uncompromising attitude and reluctance to negotiate meaningfully. Of course, it would say why should it? However what I think has become clearer is that ‘NO DEAL’ would not really suit the EU.

 

When all factions have time to look at the small print and with only just about 14 months to ago to agree a tortuous and unbelievably complicated trade agreement that has over 1400 tricky clauses to be successfully dealt with, it would come as no surprise, if a push came to a shove, a very strong case for ‘NO DEAL” was made by the hardliners.  PM May deserves a great deal of credit for agreeing an accord that prevented the EU from throwing its toys out of its pram and allowing both parties to push on with trade talks, subject to a ratified and tacit agreement from the other 26 members. Ireland will be clearly disappointed for being potentially hoodwinked over its borders and potentially a single market, which has no chance of being accepted. Also a wedge seems to have been driven between David Davis, the BREXIT Secretary and Chancellor Hammond.  Mr Davis tells us there will be no divorce settlement without a trade agreement, though the Chancellor believes there is a moral obligation to pay these dues regardless of any agreement.  Also it appears that Mr Davis has backed down over the border deal with Ireland suggesting it was an expression of intent, and not legally binding. Let’s hope that this is not the first of a slew of cracks appearing in a rather flaky agreement? There was also talk of full-alignment in terms of regulation associated with the ‘Single Market and also a continuation of payments to be made to the EU.  That won’t go down well in many quarters of a deeply divided government and country on this fraught issue.

 

Last week, despite huge concern expressed over President Trump’s rather undiplomatic behaviour in calling Jerusalem the new capital of Israel, (despite the fact that investors were buoyed by US tax reforms) and the fraught EU/UK negotiations, which went down to the wire, global equities managed to keep their poise and the main indices closed last week as follow – S&P +0.21%, FTSE 100 +1.28%, European bourses an average of +1.62% and the Nikkei -0.03%. Gold eased by $33 to $1247.00 an ounce, with Brent Crude down by 2.15 to $63.53 a barrel. Non-Farm payroll data was on the whole positive with 228k jobs being created in November and the unemployment rate remaining at a 17 year ‘low’ at 4.1%.  However wage inflation remains anaemic at 2.5% but it is expected to rise to 3% next year. Against that background, the FED is still expected to raise rates by 0.25% on Wednesday of this week. With tax reforms very much on investors’ agenda, banks were in demand and there was ‘buying’ interest in the likes of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Honeywell and the tech magnates – Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Microsoft.

 

Back here in Old Blighty, Sterling bounced around like a cork in a bath between $1.35 down to $1.3390 with punters taking a mixed view on the Brexit negotiations. There was plenty of M&A activity around last week, with GVC bidding £3.9 billion for Ladbrokes which saw the latter’s share price rally by 28% on the day of the announcement.  21st Century may now sell assets including Sky (ex-news) to Disney for a consideration of approximately $60 billion. Hammerson have joined hands controversially as far as fund managers are concerned, with Intu in a retail property enterprise, which may require a change in business plan with more emphasis on entertainment and leisure, rather than shopping units. Investors were not wholly convinced. Later in the week Vodafone bounced on a ‘buy’ recommendation as did Tesco.  There was some interest in house builders, Barratt and Taylor Wimpey. Saga posted a poor profits warning – down 23% on the week. House of Fraser had its credit rating lowered, as did the owner of Poundland, the South African firm, Steinhoff, to junk status. BAE Systems has landed a contract with Qatar value at £5 billion for 24 Typhoon combat jets. Airbnb is threatening to lay out £1 billion to buy UK luxury travel agents – Hoseasons (70 year old camping business), James Villas Holidays, cottages.com plus brands in Greece, Italy and Croatia. Airbnb carries listings of 3 million properties in 65K cities and towns across 191 countries. Wyndham’s European Villas rentals is also vying for this business. Dixons Carphone posts numbers on Wednesday and investors are expecting to see a 50% drop in profits, thanks to the increasing cost of mobile phones, which has resulted in people retaining their old phones for longer.

 

Finally the CBOE has opened its futures contract for BITCOIN today. Initially it triggered a 19.8% rise in the price of Bitcoin from $13853 to $16609.  There is a school of thought that suggests it may not be easy to ‘short’ a Bitcoin futures contract, according to the US luminary on the subject Nassim Taleb, who has over 200k followers. This is not an investment product for the faint hearted!  

 

UK Companies posting numbers this week – Monday – Photo-Me, Capita, Tuesday – Carpetright, Drax, Polar Capital, Balfour Beatty, NCC, Wednesday – Bellway, Dixons Carphone, PurpleBricks, Wood Group, Thursday – PZ Cussons, Capita, Sports Direct, 888 Holdings, Bunzl, Ocado, Petrofac

 

US companies posting interim results this week – Monday – Casey’s, Thursday – Oracle, Adobe Systems, Jabil Circuits, Costco

 

Economic data due this coming week – Tuesday – UK Inflation Data, UK House Price Index, US PPI, Wednesday – UK Wage Growth, UK unemployment data, US CPI, US Federal Reserve monetary policy decision, Thursday – UK Retail sales, MPC Decision Meeting, US Retail sales & US PMI Composite, Friday – US industrial Production

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF

TODAY’S FAYRE

 

TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday, 8th December 2017

 

“He would declare and could himself believe
That the birds there in all the garden round
From having heard the daylong voice of Eve
Had added to their own an oversound,
Her tone of meaning but without the words.
Admittedly an eloquence so soft
Could only have had an influence on birds
When call or laughter carried it aloft.
Be that as may be, she was in their song.
Moreover her voice upon their voices crossed

Had now persisted in the woods so long
That probably it never would be lost.
Never again would birds’ song be the same.
And to do that to birds was why she came.” 

 

Robert Frost – poet – 1874-1963

 

So at 6.50am this morning we heard from the PM that a basis for agreement on the Divorce Bill, Citizens Rights, the on-going roll of the ECJ and the Ireland/NI border issues, had been cobbled together, allowing trade talks to start. Genuinely well done PM May!  You were dealt a horrible hand of cards. Your partner put you in to 4 spades and you only went down one, which metaphorically speaking was a great achievement.  I like the fact that M Juncker paid tribute to you for your tenacity and gentle handling of tricky negotiations.

Not everyone will be pleased.  The issues that will concern people the single market and customs union issue will remain an imponderable as a result of agreement in principle on the Irish border with NI and the question of the on-going roll of the ECJ particularly on regulation throughout the two year transition period.  It has been the start of the end of the beginning. HOWEVER the trade negotiations are fraught with danger and provide a seriously surmountable challenge.

My colleague, Simon French, Panmure’s chief economist makes the point – “The one thing to remember about this deal is that it still doesn’t tell us what kind of UK-EU relationship occurs post-Brexit. For businesses to know that arrangements on migration/ regulation are far more important than the divorce settlement.”  He also makes the following valid points – “A trade deal may not be agreed until well into Q4 2018/ Q1 2019. The EU will ask the UK what type of Brexit it wants in terms of

 

1) Regulatory alignment – That would keep NI/RoI happy and soft Brexiteers content; but it would limit the ability of the UK economy to look markedly different from the EU and get 3rd country trade deals.

2) Regulatory divergence – this calls into question the viability of no hard border, imposes trade frictions between EU/UK but does allow negotiating room on 3rd country trade (think chlorinated chicken and the US).

 

The problem for the government is that the Cabinet and Parliament are divided on this and when the PM has to opt for one it will cause fury amongst the other group. So whichever way you look at it this is a case of difficult conversations kicked down the road.

 

I always try to attend the Spectator’s Carol Service at St Bride’s Church, off Fleet Street – It is the place of worship for journalists.  For those who don’t know it, it is the most beautiful but simple Wren church tucked off the Eastern end of Fleet Street near Ludgate Hill. By attending this service of all the favourite carols, led by a superbly balanced choir with readings from this brilliant magazine’s contributors such as Andrew Neil, Fraser Nelson and Rod Liddle, I always feel that Christmas Festivities are up and running!

 

A decade or so ago, if investors had been looking at the equivalent of Trump, without any legitimacy, declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the UK and the EU indulging in unholy and unpleasant negotiations, thorough badly handled from a diplomatic perspective by both sides and the added dimension of North Korea not far off antagonising and needling the US into war, equity and bond markets would have fallen out of bed with everyone fleeing for the hills.  Not so today – almost total peace and tranquillity prevails. In fact yesterday the Street of Dreams posted a perfectly satisfactory trading session – the three main markets closed as follows – DOW +0.29%, S&P 500 +0.29% and the NASDAQ +0.54%.  The Dollar gained strength during the session and it was the tech sector together with industrials that gave the market a little impetus. Caterpillar +1.8%, Boeing +1.3% and Nike +1.4% captured the imagination. Coca-Cola -1.4% and Procter & Gamble -1.2% were the main laggards.

 

Asia redressed yesterday’s quite measurable losses with the NIKKEI leading the charge thanks to a weaker Yen and some better than expected Chinese trade data – exports Y/O/Y +12.3% against expectations of 5% and imports +17.7% against expectations of 11.3%. Asian markets finishes as follows – NIKKEI +1.39%, ASX +0.28%, Shanghai +0.55% and Hong Kong +1.19%.  In London yesterday the FTSE 100 eased by 27 points to 7320.  Apart from the CVC/Ladbroke acquisition deal which saw the latter’s shares rattle up by 28% it was DS Smith’s performance, a new entry in to the FTSE 100, which caught the eye.  Thanks to Amazon making a huge contribution to their packaging business, yesterday’s results saw shares up by nearly 3% and 37.2% on the year.

 

Initially, Bitcoin made headline on the business pages.  Today it was the front pages.  This crypto currency which has attracted 6 million traders since 2009, and whose share price has rallied from $234 19 months ago to $15476 as I speak, has attracted warning notices from Sir Howard Davies, the Chairman of RBS and Robert Shiller the Nobel prize winning economist.  Both think this asset is heading for a big fall. Sir Howard used an analogy from Dante’s Inferno – “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here!”  Maybe a bit strong but a ‘prenez-garde’ notice for this relatively unregulated market.  It will be interesting to see if a futures contract gives the product more liquidity.  Last night’s volatility was humungous. Bitcoin’s price hit $17139 at 1.55am this morning.  By 4.35am this morning it was down to $14749. As I speak at 10.10am it is $15475.  This is not a market for the faint-hearted. Traders need to know exactly how many beans make four!

 

At 10.10am the FTSE is up 18 points at 7339. The Pound has eased a smidgen from its high to $1.3481 from a high of $1.3512.  UK posted decent industrial production numbers at 9.30am and the sun is shining! Non-farm payrolls will be posted at 1.30pm GMT.

 

UK Companies posting numbers this week – Friday – Berkeley Group

 

US companies posting interim results this week – Friday – Johnson Outdoors

 

Economic data due this coming week – Friday – UK industrial production & Construction output

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF

TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday, 6th December 2017

 

The anguish of the earth absolves our eyes

Till beauty shines in all that we can see.

War is our scourge; yet war has made us wise,

And, fighting for our freedom, we are free.

 

Horror of wounds and anger at the foe,

And loss of things desired; all these must pass.

We are the happy legion, for we know

Time’s but a golden wind that shakes the grass.

 

There was an hour when we were loth to part

From life we longed to share no less than others.

Now, having claimed this heritage of heart,

What need we more, my comrades and my brothers?

 

Siegfried Sassoon – poet & soldier – 1886-1967

 

 

Most of you who have time to read this trivial column won’t remember Christine Keeler or Mandy Rice-Davies, who died in 2014, having eventually enjoyed a really high-flying life, which included 3 marriages and many appearances in television and TV dramas. Christine and Mandy, through their relationship with Stephen Ward, the society osteopath, were introduced to the Cliveden set – John Profumo, Lord Astor and even the odd Russian diplomat Ivanov. At the time John Profumo, then Minister of War is alleged to have had an affair with Miss Keeler. He lied to the House of Commons, which in truth probably put Harold Macmillan’s Premiership to the sword. That scandal back in 1963 was unprecedented. Stephen Ward wilted under pressure and committed suicide.

 

Miss Keeler died yesterday aged 75, having probably led a very sad and lonely life. In her hay-day she was stunningly beautiful, but probably attempted to punch above her weight socially. She seemed nothing like as vivacious or ebullient as Mandy R-D. I often used to see her wandering around Camden Town and Regent’s Park on her own for many years after the scandal. Conversely John Profumo worked tirelessly for charity at the Toynbee Centre in Canning Town and lived his life quietly with the full support and devotion of his gracefully charming wife Valerie Hobson, the actress.

 

Miss Keeler was defended by the celebrated and distinguished barrister Jeremy Hutchinson, who died aged 102 last month. In his book he referred to the first meeting he had with Miss Keeler in Chambers, he noticed that all his colleagues had their doors open as she walked down to corridor to his rooms – such was the world’s fascination at that time with this femme-fatale!

 

The Street of Dreams seemed to have a ‘monkey on its back’ yesterday. Perhaps the euphoria over tax cuts was beginning to wear off and investors started to look at the realities of life, such as these indices are starting to look very fully valued and too rich for some peoples’ blood – hence some risk has been taken off the table. The US economy is doing well but, it’s not that groovy. Sustaining profit levels to justify current P/E ratios of S&P 22.5 X and NASDAQ at 42.4X may prove a bridge too far in 2018. Turnover was in line with 20-day moving average at circa 7 billion shares with the VIX down a smidgen. There were few bright sparks – just coal and software. Department stores, gold and telecoms were under-performers. The DOJ told AT&T and Time Warner that their $85 billion deal must remain in the in-tray. However there may well be more substance to 21st Century Fox selling assets to Walt Disney than was apparent before. There is a swirling momentum of opinion that believes Disney will lighten up 21st portfolio and take National Geographical, Star in Asia, regional sports network, movie and TV studios and its stake in Sky, less the news. It looks as though Comcast is currently out of the picture as a potential competing predator. Sky shares have quietly drifted up in the last week by 5% to 973p.

 

London had a rather nebulous session with its main index losing a mere bagatelle – 11 points to 7327. It was like pulling teeth with little corporate news. Investors and analysts alike were levitating 2 inches above the carpet wondering if Messrs May and Davis could dig themselves out of the quagmire over the EU negotiations and particularly the impasse with DUP over borders.

 

Asia has made great gains this year – Hang Seng +29% and the NIKKEI +16%. So the region required little in the way of encouragement to lower the flags of many key sectors especially tech, especially as the Dollar was showing signs of weakness. The Nikkei closed down 2% today with the ASX easier by 0.5%. Heading to the close the Hang Seng took a bit of a larruping down 2.1% and Shanghai was just o.3% lower.

 

This morning there was a slew of earnings from some smaller but interesting companies. Carillion was interesting by its absence. We thought, obviously erroneously so, that they had points to make today. Numis continues to excel as the premier stockbroker and investment bank for SMES – up 2% today. Stagecoach helped to lighten the gloom adding 4% – London’s main index down by 25 at present (9.07am) with buyers lurking in the wings for bargains. Cineworld completed its acquisition of Regal Entertainment which has 9542 screens in 10 countries. Cineworld required a rights issue of £1.7 billion to complete the transaction. Some fund managers are less than convinced that savings of $100 million can be made annually after the merger. Shares have fallen 17% since the announcement of the deal.

In closing it is interesting to note that the delay in distributing Apples iPhone X has seen its sales in the US of iphones drop from 40.6% to 32.9%, with the Google Android appearing to be the beneficiary. But the interesting news yesterday was the fact that the change in the tax laws could see Apple benefit to the tune of $47 billion. It will be worth Apple repatriating its overseas funds, which are alleged to total $252 billion back to the US as the rate of tax on these monies may drop from 35% to 14.5%. It is thought that US corporations hold $1.3 trillion off-shore.

 

UK Companies posting numbers this week –  Wednesday – RWS, Mulberry, Carillion, Stagecoach Numis Securities, Thursday – DS Smith, Capita, HSS Hire, Friday – Berkeley Group

 

US companies posting interim results this week – Wednesday – Brown-Forman, H&R Block, Fred’s, Korn/Ferry, Thursday – Vail Resorts, Dollar General, Ciena, Friday – Johnson Outdoors

 

Economic data due this coming week – Wednesday – US Mortgage applications, Thursday – US Consumer Credit, Friday – UK industrial production & Construction output, UK trade balance, NIESR GDP, US Non-farm payrolls and employment data.

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF ​

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 5th December 2017

 

“To sweeten a swift minute so
With such rare fragrance of sweet speech,
And make the afterhours go
In a blank yearning each on each ;
To drain the springs till they be dry,
And then in anguish thirst for drink ;
So but to glimpse her robe thirst I,
And my soul hungers and I sink.

There is no word that we have said
Whereby the lips and heart arc fire;
No look the linked glances read
That held the springs of deep desire.
And yet the sounds her glad lips gave
Are on my soul vibrating still ;
Her eyes that swept me as a wave
Shine my soul’s worship to fulfil.

Her hair, her eyes, her throat and chin-
Sweet hair, sweet eyes, sweet throat, so sweet,
So fair because the ways of sin
Have never known her perfect feet-
By what far ways and marvellous
May I such lovely heaven reach ?
What dread, dark seas and perilous
Lie ‘twist love’s silence and love’s speech?”

 

Isaac Rosenberg – poet & author – 1890-1918

 

 

Whether you are 3 years of age or 80, you owe it to yourself to go or take little ones to see ‘Paddington2.’ This film has all the qualities and emotions, which provide a panacea of age groups with all they could possibly want – excitement, fear, sorrow, happiness and love – tears flow from all ages! The cast is much the same as the first film with Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins as Mr & Mrs Brown. Julie Walters puts in a stunning cameo performance with Imelda Staunton’s voice used for Aunt Lucy. Ben Whishaw is quite splendid as Paddington’s voice over. However Hugh Grant as the villain (Felix) steals the whole show! He is an actor of many parts. What a great treat this seasonal film is!

 

Yesterday’s BREXIT meeting felt like a re-run of a ‘Fred Karno Special!’ an absolute shambles. All the aspirations went up in smoke when clearly all the parties were clearly not in agreement. I’m not a real fan of Ireland’s Taoiseach, but he has a point in saying that it is not Ireland’s job to make sure the DUP or the Conservatives are on side! To prevent an Irish Sea border, Theresa May could end up pledging regulatory convergence with the EU, which negates all that Messrs Gove, Johnson, Fox, Grayling, Patel and others yearned for! – Their whole raison-d’etre out of the window! Some of my contacts tell me there are also issues over the wording in regards to the ECJ having jurisdiction over EU citizens residing in the UK. I am also amazed that the divorce settlement has been put to bed without as much as a challenge or even a whimper! PM May seems to be obsessed and horrified at any prospect of a ‘NO DEAL.’ She seems to concede on everything! It is not preferable, but if the UK was to walk away, it’s not the end of the world. If the EU feels as strong as steel then good for them, but we should not be pushed in to a blind alley and metaphorically beaten up!

 

The US Tax Reform Bubble did not burst on the Street of Dreams but it certainly leaked with all three main indices surrendering ground. It was the financial sector buoyed by the prospect of increased lending that caused the DOW to flourish. Investors again started to feel that tech stocks are over-valued and some risk was taken off the table. Key-companies like Apple lost 2% in value yesterday. Wall Street finished as follows – DOW +0.24%, S&P -0.11%, NASDAQ -1.09%. Asian seemed to enjoy a rather nebulous session resulting in rudderless trading heading towards the close they looked as follows – ASX -0.21%, Shanghai +0.06%, Hang Seng -0.30%, Nikkei -0.32%

 

After a somewhat non-descript session yesterday in London, when investors were preoccupied with developments in Brussels – the main London index was up just under 0.55, with banks showing a little bit of form, this morning we saw similar activity – Main index up 0.23% 16 points at 7335. Banks again were in the vanguard up a rough 1%, with miners still struggling on strong Sterling. IG posted good profits and their shares rallied 5%. The UK biotech Collagen did not pass muster with its efforts – 5%. McBride was 2% to the good.

 

Yesterday Ryanair saw its travellers increase by 6% for the last quarter, despite 400,000 passengers suffering cancellation. Many will receive their share of £62 million. However Ryanair’s management lost no time in criticising its staff for underperformance in selling ancillary goods. This budget airline raked in £1.6 billion from these services, which represents 10.6% of the airline’s total revenue! UK Construction in November was rather better than expected, but there is no doubt that retail sales were disappointing, despite Black Friday. The main problem is inflation at 3% against wage inflation coming in at 2.3%. Retail sales fell, as we know by 0.3% in October, but rose by 1.5% last month, much of it was down to food. Non-food online sales were up 6.4% in November, but contributed just a rather parsimonious 1.8% to overall growth in non-food sales. The outlook for 2018 looks fairly unappetising. However Tesco rallied by 3% this morning. We understand that GEMS Education, which has schools in 6 regions may be seeking a public quotation in 2018 valuing the company t $5 billion. This is welcome news in the wake of the cancellation of Arqiva and BGL Group cancelling their IPOS in November. I have to admire the pugnacious Kelvin Mackenzie, who appears to be a glutton for punishment as he attempts to set up two new radio stations – CitiSport and CitiTalk – under the financial auspices of Stephen Lansdown. TalkSport was a huge success listened to at one time by 11 million people.

 

 

UK Companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – IG Group, Collagen, McBride,  Wednesday – RWS, Mulberry, Carillion, Stagecoach Numis Securities, Thursday – DS Smith, Capita, HSS Hire, Friday – Berkeley Group

 

US companies posting interim results this week – Tuesday – Toll Bros, Autozone, Wednesday – Brown-Forman, H&R Block, Fred’s, Korn/Ferry, Thursday – Vail Resorts, Dollar General, Ciena, Friday – Johnson Outdoors

 

Economic data due this coming week – Tuesday – UK car registrations, UK PMI Services, US ISM Non-Manufacturing, Wednesday – US Mortgage applications, Thursday – US Consumer Credit, Friday – UK industrial production & Construction output, UK trade balance, NIESR GDP, US Non-farm payrolls and employment data.

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF ​