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
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