Category Archives: Daily Fayre

HSBC – VALEDICTORY SET OF NUMBERS FOR STUART GULLIVER – RETURN ON CAPITAL A LITTLE LIGHT

After 38 years of unbroken service to HSBC, Stuart Gulliver is finally handing over the reins as CEO to John Flint after 7 turbulent years in the saddle, having taken over from Michael Geoghegan. Most of Mr Gulliver’s dynasty has been concentrated on downsizing the business to about 100 businesses in 18 countries, having lightened up their staff requirements by 25,000 over the past 5 years. Mr Gulliver’s legacy has been marginally dogged by controversy, such as money laundering which incurred a huge fine and tax issues with its subsidiary in Switzerland, not forgetting a few small foreign exchange misdemeanours.  However, buoyed by a final annual increment of £6.09 million following in the wake of £5.675m paid to him last year, I suspect he will get over the disappointment quite quickly.

 

HSBC posted annual results this morning – a profit of $17.2 billion on revenues of $50.5 billion (+5% on last year).  The 4th quarter profit appeared slightly light at $3.6 billion, when $4.06 billion was the expected number.  There was, however, a $188 million increase on the loan impairment charges to $685 million (40%), most of it down to Steinhoff and Carillion, which would have damaged the bottom line. Tier One Capital was strong at 14.5%. The importance of Asia to HSBC increases yearly – now 75% of its business emanates from that region.  The US has diminished in importance as has the UK, despite retail banking’s new head office in Birmingham. HSBC has already expressed its intention of moving 20% of its investment banking business to Paris which will involve about 1000 employees.  The cost is expected to approach £1 billion.
investment banking numbers were disappointing falling by 7.5% in the quarter. This was caused by a 24 per cent drop in fixed income, currency and commodity trading revenues, in line with many big rivals.

 

HSBC’S return on equity for 2017/8 was 5.9 per cent, below its own target of 10%, falling behind its US rivals, such as JPMorgan Chase. There were no new share buy-back recommendations. Since Jan 200o HSBC’s share price has been volatile. However, apart from dividends and buybacks has not been a great performer – 800p to 734p (-3.4% on the day so far. However, since the banking crisis the share price has doubled from 360p to 734p, as I write.

 

HSBC has a new broom in terms of management – Mark Tucker chairman replacing Douglas Flint, John Flint CEO replacing Stuart Gulliver and Iain Mackay Finance Director – let’s see how it goes! 

David Buik

Communications

Mobile – 07788 144 877

 

Spread bets and CFDs are leveraged products, which means you could lose more than you deposit. You should ensure spread betting meets your investment objectives. View full risk warning

This email neither constitutes, nor is to be construed as an offer to buy or sell investments. The information and opinions expressed herein are based on sources we believe to be reliable but we do not represent that they are accurate or complete. No liability is accepted by Core Spreads for any direct or consequential loss arising from this email. Please carry out your own virus checks.

Core Spreads  is a trading name of Finsa Europe Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales under number 07073413, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under firm reference number 525164. Registered Office: Tower Bridge Business Centre, 46 – 48 East Smithfield, London, E1W 1AW, United Kingdom. www.corespreads.com is owned and operated by Finsa Europe Limited. © 2018 Core Spreads.

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WEEKLY FAYRE

WEEKLY FAYRE – Monday 19th February 2018

 

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: 
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkn’d ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead.”

  

John Keats – poet – 1795-1821

 

I imagine there wasn’t a dry eye at Ascot last Saturday, as ‘Waiting Patiently’, who won the Ascot Cup, seeing ‘Cue Card’ off with not that much to spare, as he was led into the winners’ enclosure by the connections of his trainer, Malcolm Jefferson, who recently gave up the unequal struggles in battling for his life against cancer. The Norton handler had only been buried the day before. Unless the ground comes up ‘bottomless’, I doubt he will run at Cheltenham in the Gold Cup or the Ryanair.  If it chucks it down, it would be a brave person to not give this gelding some serious consideration.

 

Though many of the ladies were clad in black with a strong political message, the BAFTA awards was a glittering occasion with Gary Oldman justifiably winning best actor for ‘Darkest Hour’ with ‘Three Billboards..’ winning a fair few major awards including best film and Frances McDormand indisputably best actress. I could not understand why ‘Shape of Water’ starring Sally Hawkins did so well – such a weird subject! It was not for me!

 

 

    In the US, the bank sector tends to post its numbers at the start of each earning season, whereas here in the UK it is towards the end of the cycle. In the case of European banks there is no set pattern. US banks posted better than expected numbers apart from revenue from investment banking, with Morgan Stanley proving to be the exception.  Trading disappointed, due to a lack of volatility, low interest rates, the threat of a bond bubble bursting and concern 0ver rising interest rates.  Well, volatility certainly returned with a vengeance in January. European banks have performed indifferently. Away from the US it has been a very bad month for banks.  Deutsche and Credit Suisse are still under-water and UBS is not exactly firing on all cylinders.  Societe Generale’s share price is near enough where it was a month ago and BNP Paribas’s is slightly lower. Also, there is a strong school of thought that believes the European banking system is not as robust as it should be. In fact, if the EU negotiations go to ‘hell and a handcart’ many acolytes are of the opinion, that EU banks, away from those working out of London, may find that their balance sheets are not strong enough to step in to the breach and pick up the cudgel from London.

 

   The UK’s banking sector posts its results this week.  Apart from the headline numbers, which could read well, there will be a few metaphorical cans of worms to deal with.  Significant write downs of maybe £1.25 billion may be recorded associated with the collapse of Carillion.  RBS has had shocking press over its handling of SMES at the time of the banking crisis and the FSA has come under attack for its perceived poor handling and lack of protection of these clients.  It also waits its fine from the US, which could be as much as $6 billion. Lloyds Banking will be watched carefully for its dividend policy – will it be increased from 3p a share to 4.5p. Will Barclays’ US investment banking operation have been less profitable than the year before as others have been? HSBC sets the ball rolling on Tuesday. Stuart Gulliver will be retiring as CEO and John Flint will replace him.  70% of its business emanates from Asia.  How is HSBC’S UK operation doing?  Will Paris have a major presence in the future? It strikes me that, since US banks have got their act together more quickly, in terms of recovery and regulation post the financial crisis, the door for competing for business has been slammed on others, leaving US banks in an unassailable position. Their power seems to have been enhanced by problems at Deutsche and UBS in recent years. A decade has passed since the banking crisis and the sector is nowhere near commanding the public respect.  Everyone was keen to blame casino banking! It paled in to insignificance in comparison to poor credit judgement and issues such as PPI which cost £30 billion.

 

 

INDEX 12/2/18 16/2/18 % gain/loss
FTSE 100 7092 7294 +2.8%
DAX 12120 12451 +2.7%
DJIA 24337 25219 +3.6%
S&P 500 2636 2732 +3.6%
NASDAQ 6936 7239 +4.4%
NIKKEI 21555 21720 +0.8%
HANG SENG 29679 31115 +4.8%

 

 

Was last week the lull before the storm, encapsulating more disruption and exacerbated volatility?  No one can be quite sure. Last year volatility played no role to speak of in financial markets.  Towards the end of the year we saw bond yields creep up slowly in response to the US’S forward guidance on a gradual increase in interest rates. The week was one of consolidation, as most global indices regained their poise (see table above), apart from Shanghai (-0.8%). So far 80% of S&P 500 companies have posted results – 75% have beaten profit expectations and 78% sales expectations. Last week there were good numbers from Cisco and decent efforts from Kraft Heinz, Metlife and Coca-Cola. So, the fundamentals are still in place, though in the US data on inflation caused a few furrowed brows and retail sales were flat. The weather has been austere and the internet sales rule OK – ask Amazon, Alibaba and Baidu. Oil rallied to $65+ a barrel as did gold $1350 an ounce.

 

This side of the ‘Pond’ there were some decent earnings – Airbus and Schneider Electric especially, though Nestle slightly disappointed. It was a relatively quiet week for large cap ‘earnings’ but the news flow was fast and furious. Despite strength of the Pound ($1.40.5 at the end of the week on inflationary concerns) the FTSE 100 had a decent week with mining stocks, especially those with South African interests, blazing the trail. It looks as though that 21st Century Fox will have to up the ante for Sky above the current 1085p threshold.  BT lost out in terms of market share on the distribution coverage of sport to Sky.  There was also a message to BT, which has already spent £5 billion on sport in recent years. Concentrate your efforts on broadband quality! Galliford Try surrendered 19% of its value in the wake of the Carillion crisis. Standard Aberdeen were rocked back on the heels in seeing £109 billion of funds withdrawn by Lloyds Banking Group courtesy of Scottish Widows. Barclays PLC was further indicted by the SFO to answer allegations, in connection with an irregular loan facility, offered to Qatar for taking an $11 billion stake. John Varley former CEO and three former directors have already been charged with similar allegations. This further charge may not serve a useful purpose.  The bank was undoubtedly saved by the deal and sufficient charges have already been proffered.  The Melrose/GKN takeover battle continues to rage.  The Government continue to look for assurances on security and shareholders of GKN insist the price is inadequate. Finally, the steel industry and the miss-selling of pensions was headline news and is not going away and many others may reason to be concerned about other sectors. And as an addendum the Sunday Times tells us that Sir Philip Green is seriously thinking of selling his Arcadia Group to Chinese textile operation Shandog Ruyl. Arcadia has 2800 outlets and 26,000 employees.

 

 

UK companies posting results this week – Monday – Reckitt Benckiser, Fidessa, MJ Gleeson, Tuesday – HSBC, BHP Billiton, Intercontinental Hotels, Tristel, Dunelm, Wednesday – Glencore, Metro Bank, Barratt Development, FirstGroup, Hochschild Mining, Thursday – Anglo-American, Centrica, Go-Ahead, TBC Bank, , BAE Systems, BATS, Hays, Northgate, Kaz Mining, Intu, Serco, RSA. Rathbones, Moneysupermarket. Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, Safestore, Friday – RBS, Pearson, IAG, Standard Life Aberdeen, Rightmove, William Hill

 

US companies posting results this week – Tuesday – Walmart, Home Depot, MGM Resorts, Wednesday – Dynergy, Wendy’s, Thursday – Hormel Foods, HWP, BJ Restaurants

 

Economic data posted this week – Monday – Rightmove UK House prices, Tuesday – CBI Industrial trends, Germany’s ZEW, Wednesday – UK Labour statistics and PSBR, UK PMI Manufacturing & Services, US PMI Manufacturing & Services, , US Existing Home Sales, US FOMC minutes, Thursday – 2nd UK GDP estimate

 

David Buik

Communications

Mobile – 07788 144 877

 

Spread bets and CFDs are leveraged products, which means you could lose more than you deposit. You should ensure spread betting meets your investment objectives. View full risk warning

This email neither constitutes, nor is to be construed as an offer to buy or sell investments. The information and opinions expressed herein are based on sources we believe to be reliable but we do not represent that they are accurate or complete. No liability is accepted by Core Spreads for any direct or consequential loss arising from this email. Please carry out your own virus checks.

Core Spreads  is a trading name of Finsa Europe Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales under number 07073413, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under firm reference number 525164. Registered Office: Tower Bridge Business Centre, 46 – 48 East Smithfield, London, E1W 1AW, United Kingdom. www.corespreads.com is owned and operated by Finsa Europe Limited. © 2018 Core Spreads.

MARKET UPDATE

With Asia having attempted initially to blaze the trail without the same level of conviction as the Street of Dreams did on Friday, it would have been unreasonable to expect Europe to open without a high degree of circumspection and that it is what was delivered.  Last week’s volatility was still fresh in everyone’s mind.  The FTSE 100 opened flat but during the morning the performance of the miners with BHP (+1.8%), Anglo American (+2.7%), Vedanta (+2.21%) and Glencore (+2.5%) to the fore, giving the FTSE 100 just a tiny bit of momentum, thus preventing it from falling below the Plimsoll line.  At 4.10pm the FTSE 100 was up 18 at 7195. The FTSE 250 was down 32 points at 19347 (down 6% since 26/1/18).  Tui’s quarterly results saw good holiday sales for the summer with business in Turkey and Tunisia being booked again – shares up 2.5%, having been up 5.5% at one time. Capita continued its journey south – down 2%.

 

With inflation being maintained at 3% thanks in the main to oil prices, the Pound firmed a tad to $1.3850, with the threat of a higher rate increase in May. In all fairness, with the Pound significantly higher than a year ago, it is not unreasonable to comment that inflation to fall to 2.5% in the 4th quarter. At the same time this AM many investors also left the Dollar friendless in the ring in favour of the Yen at Y107.54. The market correction and spike on bond yields scared professional investors, according to the February Bank of America Merrill Lynch Fund Managers Survey. Investors sliced bond allocations to their lowest level since 1998, with a net 69 percent underweight fixed income. Cash allocations rose and exposure to stocks also declined.

 

On the Street of Dreams at 4.15pm GMT the DOW is down 100 points; not surprising considering Friday’s rally.  PepsiCo share price was flat and Metlife was 0.67% to the good, both having satisfied their acolytes.

 

David Buik

 

Communications – 07788 144 877

 

www.finsamarkets.com

 

CFDs and Spread Betting are leveraged products and carry a high level of risk. You can lose more than your initial deposit so you should ensure CFD trading and Spread Betting meet your investment objectives. This email neither constitutes, nor is to be construed as an offer to buy or sell investments. The information and opinions expressed herein are based on sources we believe to be reliable but we do not represent that they are accurate or complete. No liability is accepted by Finsa Europe Limited for any direct or consequential loss arising from this email. Please carry out your own virus checks. Finsa Europe Limited is authorised and regulated by Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Reference Number: 525164)

WEEKLY FAYRE

WEEKLY FAYRE – Monday 12th February 2018

 

“Now is the winter of our discontent

Made glorious summer by this sun of York;

And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house

In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;

Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;

Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,

Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.

Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;

And now, instead of mounting barded steeds

To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,

He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber

To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,

Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;

I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty

To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;

I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,

Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,

Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before my time

Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,

And that so lamely and unfashionable

That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;

Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,

Have no delight to pass away the time,

Unless to spy my shadow in the sun

And descant on mine own deformity:

And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,

To entertain these fair well-spoken days,

I am determined to prove a villain.”

 

 

 

William Shakespeare – poet & playwright – 1564-1616

 

    I must have seen RC Sherriff’s play ‘Journey’s End’ at least three times and always found this WW1 drama set in the trenches on the Somme over 3 days in March 1918 both harrowing, terrifying with a totally futile outcome.  The horrendous loss of life through dogged patriotism and stupidity coupled wholly inadequate preparations made this recently released Saul Dibb’s film adaptation extremely moving and very traumatic. There are some outstanding performance from Paul Bettany (Osborne), whom I haven’t seen since ‘Wimbledon’ and ‘Master & Commander’, Sam Claflin (Captain Stanhope), Asa Butterfield (Raleigh), Toby Jones (Mason the quartermaster) and that brilliant scouse actor Stephen Graham (Trotter). This is one not to be missed – brilliant cinematography and fine acting!

 

The intensity of the England v Wales at Twickenham was there for all to see – the passion and fierce/brutal level of contact was inspirational, but I am not sure that international rugby is the visual spectacle it once was! I suspect I will receive a tirade of disagreement! England ground out their 12-6 victory but should have killed the match off early in the second half, though Wales will feel aggrieved at having Hanscomb’s try disallowed. The better side won!

 

 

All financial market practitioners, if they are truly honest with themselves, must have expected last week’s sharp, volatile and measurable correction to global equity markets – and if not last week, surely imminently? The 40% rally in the DOW in 14 months since the start of the Trump dynasty, exacerbated by January’s unprecedented massive crescendo of frothy gains, triggered by the President’s much vaunted taxation cuts, surely meant that we investors were in ‘La-La-Land!’ The fact that fund managers put $102 billion in to the market in January beggared belief in the circumstances, considering the lofty valuations that prevailed. Even I saw a ‘retrenchment’ coming and flagged it up in December. Company valuations were just too rich when measured against growth prospects, despite the upbeat outlook for the world’s economy. Perhaps we all needed to ‘wake up and smell the coffee!’ Set out below is a table as to how each major index faired since 26th January, when traders started to fall out of love with their bloated positions by taking some risk off the table.

 

INDEX 26/1/18 9/12/18 % loss % loss last week
DJIA 26616 24190 -9.1% -7.8%
S&P 500 2872 2619 -8.8% -7.5%
NASDAQ 7505 6874 -8.4% -5.1%
FTSE 100 7665 7092 -7.5% -4.7%
XETRADAX 13298 12107 -8.9% -5.3%
CAC40 5529 5079 -8.1% -5.3%
HANG SENG 33154 29507 -11.0% -7%
NIKKEI 23631 21382 -9.5% -8.1%
SHANGHAI COMP 3558 3129 -12.1% -8.3%

 

 

I think what puzzled us all more than anything else was the manner of the pull-back and the extreme volatility that accompanied it.  We should not be that surprised really.  After all, market business is transacted by way of technology.  There are so many exchanges now, that it is impossible to monitor flows.  The best part of 40% of trades in shares executed are programme trades geared to algorithm trading or emanating from futures and derivative operation. So, no one should be remotely surprised that the spivs and vagabonds more than got in on the act, triggering seismic daily volatility.  Having seen what happened in stock market crashes,1987, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2008/9, the daily volatility never reached the intensity that we have seen in the last two weeks. This time there was one other factor to take note of – There were variable annuities – a popular tax-advantaged insurance company product, offering guaranteed revenue that helped exacerbate the level of volatility according to the FT.

 

There are two other ingredients that were not prevalent in yesteryear.  Firstly, quantitative easing has been in situ for a decade, possibly supplying a soft belly for investors, who have understandably filled their boots and very beneficial it has been too.   The US and Japan have started to taper QE, but the EU was 5 years behind the curve and is just about at the zenith of its enjoyment – hence its economy is rather more robust than the UK’S at present. We await news from the BOE’S £475 billion QE facility, though its small beer in comparison to the US’S $4.5 trillion fund. Part of my beef about what appears to have been the disorderly behaviour of the market place is the role played by the Central banks. Though they find themselves in an invidious position, their adoption of forward guidance is surely flawed.  Take the case of BOE’S Mark Carney.  He has been consistently, as have many of the world’s economic luminaries, telling us that the UK economy is going to ‘hell and a hand cart’ in so many words; yet last week the BOE upgraded growth for the UK from 1.5% to 1.7% for 2018 and consequently rates may have to rise twice this year. Maybe I am being naïve, but I find all this very misleading. However much ‘huffing and puffing’ there is over inflation and the threat of rate increases the dangerous level of debt both national, international, corporate and consumer is at breaking point, as pointed out last week by Lord Mervyn King. So, we have had near enough a 10% correction.  It should be enough, but the day trader element may not have had enough bites at the cherry! It was interesting to note that last week U.S. stock funds saw a record $23.9 billion withdrawn by investors in the last week, according to Thomson Reuters data.

 

Last week was an important week for earnings on both sides of the pond – Here in Old Blighty BP did well, Glaxo was encouraging, Rio was satisfactory. Tesco may have problems with equal pay which could cost another £4 billion in back pay. Finally the government may come to GKN’S  rescue over the Melrose hostile £7.4 billion bid on security grounds.  In the US, Twitter rose by 12%, with Walt Disney and Viacom satisfying their acolytes.  Earnings? Pha! They almost went unnoticed in the rubble of the daily turmoil.  The next wo weeks will be fascinating.  The fundamentals have not changed for the world’s economy.  However, do investors believe it or will they be allowed to?

 

UK companies posting results this week – Monday – Acacia Mining, Tuesday – Tui Travel, Wednesday –  Relx, Coca-Cola EP, Galliford Try. Shire, Thursday – Aveva, Friday – Segro

 

US companies posting interim results – Monday – Loew’s. Tuesday – PepsiCo, Metlife, Wednesday – Hyatt Hotels, Cisco systems, Marathon Oil, Marriott, Thursday – Omnicom, Friday – Kraft Heinz, Campbells Soups, Coca-Cola, Deere & Co

 

 

Economic data posted this week – Tuesday – UK inflation Data, Wednesday – US CPI & Retail Sales, Thursday – US PPI, Industrial Production and Car Registrations, Friday – UK Retail Sales and US Housing data.

 

 

David Buik

Communications

Mobile – 07788 144 877

 

CORE SPREADS

 

Spread bets and CFDs are leveraged products, which means you could lose more than you deposit. You should ensure spread betting meets your investment objectives. View full risk warning

This email neither constitutes, nor is to be construed as an offer to buy or sell investments. The information and opinions expressed herein are based on sources we believe to be reliable but we do not represent that they are accurate or complete. No liability is accepted by Core Spreads for any direct or consequential loss arising from this email. Please carry out your own virus checks.

Core Spreads  is a trading name of Finsa Europe Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales under number 07073413, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under firm reference number 525164. Registered Office: Tower Bridge Business Centre, 46 – 48 East Smithfield, London, E1W 1AW, United Kingdom. www.corespreads.com is owned and operated by Finsa Europe Limited. © 2018 Core Spreads.

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WEEKLY FAYRE

THE WEEK’S FAYRE– Thursday 1st February 2018

 

“Room after room,

I hunt the house through

We inhabit together.

Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her—

Next time, herself!—not the trouble behind her

Left in the curtain, the couch’s perfume!

As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blossomed anew:

Yon looking-glass gleamed at the wave of her feather.

 

Yet the day wears,

And door succeeds door;

I try the fresh fortune—

Range the wide house from the wing to the centre.

Still the same chance! She goes out as I enter.

Spend my whole day in the quest,—who cares?

But ’tis twilight, you see,—with such suites to explore,

Such closets to search, such alcoves to importune!”

 

Robert Browning – poet – 1812-1889

 

Most people would probably agree that Muhammad Ali was possibly the most revered sportsman in the 20th and 21st century – known, liked, admired by all age groups across the universe. However if there were a poll, I think Roger Federer might start to run him very close. To be still playing at the highest level at the age of 36, having one 20 grand slams, which is unprecedented, is phenomenal.  He is a supremely graceful artist.  He has never wavered in his resolve to play top-class tennis, despite his advancing years.  Add to that the fact that his behaviour and sportsmanship have been impeccable, adds greatly to the attraction to the sporting public.  He is very approachable and very international, speaking about 5 languages. Even though tennis is not really my game, as an international brand, today he has no peer! If tennis was a team sport, he would leave everyone in his wake.

January was quite a month for equities. Up until Monday’s sell-off the main US equity bourses had made gargantuan gains in four weeks adding between 7-8% in value in those four weeks.  Much of it down to the Trump tax cuts, expectations for infrastructure spending and decent earnings. The market has looked a little bloated and over-valued; hence the sharp healthy 2-day correction – the biggest for 5 months. It may continue for a bit, but good dividends and plenty of money to meet the challenges of a buoyant economy may arrest any serious fall. Few have missed that rally in US Treasury 10-year yield heading towards 3% (2.71%).

Last week the Davos ‘bunfight’ brought the good and the great from politics, business and entertainment together at gargantuan expense.  No one was much interested in the proceedings apart from President Trump’s visit, the first by a US President since Clinton 18 years ago. His upbeat assessment of the US economy was endorsed in last night’s State of the Union address, where he also emphasized the importance of international trade, but fair trade – China, EU and NAFTA prenez-garde!  The UK posted decent employment data and lower borrowing requirements last week. Nonetheless the perception of the UK’s economy is dogged by the uncertainty from the outcome of BREXIT, exacerbated by a weak showing from the PM’S government. Leaked adverse data was not very well received particularly as the government refuse to distribute it. The turmoil over Carillion and the damage it has done to suppliers and to its pension funds has provided unhealthy publicity for its directors, politicians and corporate governance.  It was interesting to note that the UK’S 2017 Annual Growth came in at + 1.8%. Forecasts for last year were as follows: Mark Carney/BoE 0.8%, Barclays 0.7%, CEBR 0.8%, BofA-ML 0.9%, RBS 1%, Morgan Stanley 1%, EU Commission 1%, IMF 1.1%.

Now that January is all but over, the news flow has gathered momentum.  In the US it is all about earnings.  Defence stocks such as Lockheed Martin have passed muster. Pfizer beat expectations with something to spare, but it has had a decent run on the rails, which saw investors take some risk off the table (-2.01% yesterday). Facebook posted astonishing numbers last night with over 2 billion users generating a staggering $28.7 billion in 2017 with sales up 47%, with revenue of over $9 billion coming from the last quarter. Mark Zuckerberg has governance and behavioural issues to deal with as well as fierce competition from Instagram, Snap chat and WhatsApp. Shares have risen over 40% in the last year. eBay also passed muster.  Today is a huge day for tech on the Street of Dreams with Apple, Alphabet, Amazon all stepping up to the plate in having their numbers closely scrutinised. FED chairman Janet Yellen gave her valedictory FOMC statement, announcing no change in rates but maintaining the prospect of 3 hikes this year. Inflation is just heading towards 2% with wage inflation up from 2.4% to possibly reach 2.8%. She hands over to Jerome Powell, whose conservative approach is akin to Yellen’s but he is likely to accommodate Trump on deregulation, particularly the banks.

Back here in Old Blighty there have been issues concerning Capita, following in the wake of Carillion – shares fell 45% on a profits warning and news that £700k would be required to boost the balance sheet. In June 2016 Capita shares stood at £1100 and are now 181p – oh dear! Panmure Gordon’s Michael Donnelly has had them as a ‘sell’ since their height eighteen months ago.   M&S will be closing another 8 stores which could affect 463 jobs.  M&S’S problem is fashion – theirs are dowdy.  The market is competitive.  I am sure that Archie Norman and Steve Rowe are very cognoscent of this fact. The shares are depressingly anaemic at 301p. There were a slew of earning this morning – some slightly disappointing. Unilever saw 4th quarter sales up 4% but there was some severe discounting – shares down 0.5%, having been down 0.23% at the opening. Vodafone only saw 1.1% organic sales growth to £11.8 billion – shares down 0.9% having been 1.5% easier at the ‘off’. Royal Dutch Shell posted superficially very good numbers with profits up 24% to $4.3 billion for the last quarter – not attained since crude oil was $100 a barrel. However there appeared to be a few cash flow issues – shares were down 0.7% having been down 1.7% at the opening. The FTSE at one point was down 54 points but at 9.29am it is up 6 points at 7540.

UK Companies posting results this week – Thursday – Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, RPC Group, 3is, Cranswick, Vodafone, Euromoney, Rank, AG Barr, Glencore, Friday – Astra Zeneca, BT, AON

US companies posting results this week Thursday – MasterCard, Altria, Time Warner, Hershey, Conoco-Phillips, Amgen, Motorola Solutions, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Visa, Mattel, Friday – Ester Lauder, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Johnson Outdoors

 

Economic data posted this week – Thursday – US Construction Spending, US & UK PMI Manufacturing, Friday – UK PMI Construction

THIS WEEK’S FAYRE

 

THE WEEK’S FAYRE– Sunday 28th January 2018

 

Clownlike, happiest on your hands,

Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,

Gilled like a fish. A common-sense

Thumbs-down on the dodo’s mode.

Wrapped up in yourself like a spool,

Trawling your dark as owls do.

Mute as a turnip from the Fourth

Of July to All Fools’ Day,

O high-riser, my little loaf.

 

Vague as fog and looked for like mail.

Farther off than Australia.

Bent-backed Atlas, our traveled prawn.

Snug as a bud and at home

Like a sprat in a pickle jug.

A creel of eels, all ripples.

Jumpy as a Mexican bean.

Right, like a well-done sum.

A clean slate, with your own face on.”

 

Sylvia Plath – poet – 1932-1963

 

Last Monday morning at 11.00am at the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill Gate was a new experience for me. The only people allowed in to the cinema for showing of the much-heralded film ‘Post’ had to be the guest of a baby under one year old. This film is about the Washington Post’s obsessive endeavours to have the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War released to the public. The Post was hell-bent on exposing the White House for keeping the public in the dark on the futility of the Vietnam War.  A procession of Presidents from Eisenhower to Kennedy to Johnson and finally to Nixon had been guilty of this cover-up. The spell-binding episode certainly shifted American journalism’s relationship to Government power. Tom Hanks as the editor and Meryl Streep as the owner of the ‘Post’ gave their usual high-class polished performances in this dramatic story. This film was really a precursor to what happened when the Post’s two top investigative journalists, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein exposed the skulduggery of Richard Nixon’s administration in Watergate ‘cover-up’ in 1972.  I have to confess I was extremely grateful for the sub-titles to this film as the cacophony of screaming and crying made it impossible for the ‘yummy mummies’ and the grandparents to hear the dialogue!

 

 

Though President Trump would probably not be my number one choice to my dinner table on Saturday night – well maybe, out of novelty value, he might!  Nonetheless he certainly put his points of views across very succinctly in Davos and the delegates’ interest in him was all-consuming!  Just look at the crowds that queued to watch his entry and to hear his speech. ‘America will always be first but engaging with the rest of the free world.’ It went down better than most could ever have believed. PM May seems to be back in the President’s good books with encouraging noises being made about trade. However PM May was very low-key in Davos.  She is right to be so.  No point updating the world on BREXIT when there is nothing to say. Macron’s brilliant superficial Gallic charm was there for all to see as he weaved his spider’s web around many gullible international CEOS from around the world to set down their stalls in Paris at London’s cost. French labour laws are penal. Not everyone speaks French and speaking on London’s behalf 70 years of infrastructure is unlikely to be chucked out of the window, on a whim that Paris and Frankfurt might be fun places to work. Shifting thousands of jobs is expensive and the damage to a business by moving reluctant employees could be irrevocable.

 

 

Though Davos grabbed most of the major headlines last week there was still much to ponder, ruminate and react to from the world of business, economics and politics. Firstly the IMF couldn’t resist having its annual ‘pop’ against the UK downgrading its growth for 2018 to 1.5% from 1.6%, whilst at the same time raising most other countries, apart from South Africa, and the world’s GDP to nearly 4%.   Ever since the IMF bailed out the UK in 1975/6 for a record £3.9 billion, it has had a problem with the UK and its prognosis for its economy over 40 years has very often been wrong.  I think it will be this year as the annual rate looks nearer 1.8%, as posted on Thursday, which in fairness was at its lowest level since 2012. Unemployment in the UK also continued to fall by approximately 100k in the last quarter (rate 4.2%). However as Panmure Gordon’s Simon French points out “Private sector wages falling steadily for a decade – now £100/week below 2006 levels.” In regards to the UK’s PSBR, Mr French says “Even allowing for £1.2bn repayment from EU the December the numbers are encouraging – down to £2.6bn in December. Chimes with his view that the UK economy (ex-London-specific challenges) is doing rather well!”

 

 

Growth for the US came in at a disappointing level of 2.3%, somewhat below Trump’s vision of 3%, but the outlook is very positive.  The fall in the Dollar against the Euro (-16.5%) since August 2017 and 17% against the Pound since March 2017 may have helped US trade according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.  Next week the FOMC meets.  No change is expected though two small increase are expected in 2018.  The month of January has been great news for US markets.  The DOW has rallied by 7.5% in the last month to a record level of 26616, the S&P by 6.8% to 2872 and the NASDAQ by 7.9% – much of the euphoria is due to the tax cuts!  Conversely the FTSE 100 only added 0.6% in the same period – its comparatively sluggish performance was down to the strength of Sterling. The US earnings season last week did well with Netflix acting as the standard bearer, but there were also good numbers from Johnson & Johnson, General Dynamics, Caterpillar, Raytheon, Intel and Honeywell amongst others. Trump’s tax cuts looks like good news for bank employees with the likes of Walt Disney also likely to spread its largesse around.

 

Here in Old Blighty the demise of Carillion took up so much air and press time.  However the news that Sky news could go as a result of the Government’s culture department dragging its feet over 21st Century’s bid for the remaining 61% of Sky, was sad.  I suspect that if Bob Eisner is successful with Disney’s bid for 21st Century, Sky could be superfluous to requirement. Tesco and Sainsbury could be laying off some staff in the months to come, as Lidl and Aldi dig in to their market share. Melrose’s hostile bid for GKN will come under closer Government scrutiny as it appears security issues may be of some concern. Having zapped ARM Holdings for £24 billion, Softbank now has its beady eyes taking on PayPal in its backyard.  It is likely to be funded from Sofbank’s $100 billion vision fund. This week is another hugely important earnings week in the US, with Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft to the fore. Results from Unilever, BT, Astra and Royal Dutch Shell will be significant.

 UK Companies posting results this week – Tuesday – CYBG, PZ Cussons, Domino Pizza, Filtronic, Wednesday – SSE Group, Dairy Crest, Britvic, Angle, Wizz Air, Thursday – Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, RPC Group, 3is, Cranswick, Vodafone, Euromoney, Rank, AG Barr, Glencore, Friday – Astra Zeneca, BT, AON

US companies posting results this week – Monday – Rambus, Lockheed Martin, Tuesday – Aetna, Zimmer, HCA Healthcare, Pfizer, Harley-Davidson, Corning, AMD, Wednesday – DR Horton, Spire, Eli Lily, Boeing, Pitney Bowes, PayPal, eBay, Qualcomm, Facebook, Metlife, Mondolez, Microsoft, Thursday – MasterCard, Altria, Time Warner, Hershey, Conoco-Phillips, Amgen, Motorola Solutions, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Visa, Mattel, Friday – Ester Lauder, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Johnson Outdoors

 

Economic data posted this week – Monday – US personal spending, Tuesday – UK Mortgage approvals and consumer Credit, US Consumer Confidence, Wednesday – FOMC Meeting, Gfk Consumer Confidence, US ADP index, Thursday – US Construction Spending, US & UK PMI Manufacturing, Friday – UK PMI Construction

THE LAST TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Sunday, 21st January 2018

 

 

“Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.” 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson – poet – 1809-1892

 

THIS IS THE FINAL TODAY’S FAYRE. I HAVE SO ENJOYED THE CONTACT WITH YOU ALL OVER THE PAST 19 YEARS – STAY WELL AND SAFE!

 

England seem to be a different side playing in the ODIs in Australia – no slumped shoulders; heads held high, batting with swagger and panache; bowling with venom and guile and fielding athletically.  We look a top side, though Australia tend to experiment and rarely peak until they are ready for a World Cup. Anyway here we are 2-0 up, with Hales, Roy, Root, Bairstow and Buttler putting bat to ball, looking a much more threatening than our opponents so far! The bowling attack looks very well balanced, which it never did in the Ashes series. The ODI is of course a different game altogether.  Nonetheless the performances have been altogether encouraging. Morgan, so far, has scored few runs, but is an inspiring skipper!  As I write the going looks tough for England at the SCG on a slow pitch against a better Australian attack – 150 for4!

 

We are just about through the first half of January, with the first quarter earnings season now under a wet sail. US has hit a brick wall in terms of a government shutdown and let’s hope the inconvenience is very temporary – an extraordinary event when the ruling party has a majority in Congress and the Senate! Despite this irritating setback the Street of Dreams defied all logic by closing close to all-time records – DOW +0.21%, S&P +0.44%, NASDAQ +0.55%. The quality of earnings has generally been up to snuff, though Goldman Sachs endorsed the poor trading earnings of the sector by seeing revenues from trading down by 30%. Otherwise bank earnings were good beating expectations and no doubt stimulated by the positive taxation factor. Apple announced that it will pay $38 billion in U.S. tax on its overseas cash, but will not reduce the $16 billion tax bill the company owes Ireland following a European Union ruling, the EU’s executive said on Thursday. The content from the FED’S Beige Book was benign and Industrial production was robust. China’s GDP was posted on Thursday. Its last quarter’s GDP slowed to 1.6%, YoY and YTD hold at 6.8% and 6.9% respectively; Retail Sales dropped to 9.4% YoY; Industrial Production ticked up to 6.2% YoY; FIA held at 7.2% YoY. This news had little impact on equities, which, near enough, kept their poise at the end of the week


There was a charm offensive with President Macron’s visit to the UK last week, but very few were buying his Napoleonic charisma. He did not visit Sandhurst and London because he likes us; he wanted money to pay for Calais and offered us a ridiculous sop of the loan of the Bayeux tapestry. However it was the message of an uncompromising BREXIT deal and particularly that affecting the City of London that hit the spot. We do not want to be in the single market or the customs union, nor do we eventually wish to adhere to the ECJ. That was what most people who voted for BREXIT wanted – to have the chains of bondage and inflexibility finally removed. I fear it may be time to stop playing charades if there is no deal in the offing. With Merkel still licking her electoral wounds, President Macron certainly sees himself in the ascendency. Maybe good sense will eventually prevail over these feisty negotiations, but I shall not be holding my breath.  Here in Old Blighty we had encouraging data on inflation down to 3% from 3.1%.  Expectations suggest 2.5% by August unless the Pound falls out of bed – hit $1.39 against the Greenback on Thursday.

Much of last week domestically was taken up with the catastrophic outcome of Carillion’s plight – liquidation; the loss of jobs, a loss of £1.5 billion (debt and pension black hole), the demise of many sub-contractors, totalling 30,000, which could see a number of small companies go to the wall; alleged disgraceful behaviour by management bordering on recklessness and unanswered questions as to the financial stability of Carillion by its auditors and the Government, which allowed this builder/outsourcer to tender for government work after a serious profits warning! Needless to say PFI contracts came under huge criticism and close scrutiny. Builders have warned the government that they will no longer accept fixed priced PFI contracts – a blow to the £600 billion infrastructure programme.  Also the financial vultures are hovering around the ruins, looking for cheap assets, which will almost certainly mean job losses. Canada’s Brookfield and the Dutch based engineer Endless have been mentioned in dispatches as possible predators.

UK retail sales in December fell by 1.5% compared with November, the biggest monthly fall July 2016 with consumers taking advantage of Black Friday offers and were up only 1.9% on the year. Carpetright and Bonmarche were the latest retailers to report a tough Christmas, following in the footsteps of Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser, and Mothercare. Retail was grateful for a strong Black Friday. Burberry also disappointed, though its Asian business stood up quite well. Shares eased by 4% after their trading update. AB Foods were very reliant on Primark, whose sales were up 7% over the holiday period. Whitbread also posted decent sales in the last quarter, which saw their shares up 4% on Thursday, despite Costa Coffee losing market share. DFS, Kingfisher and Dixons Carphone also shed value last week as the downbeat mood for retail prevailed. Sebastian James is leaving Dixons Carphone and is heading for Boots. Alex Baldock of Shop Direct replaces him.  EasyJet with a new CEO John Lundren, who replace Dame Carolyn McCall (off to ITV), reported improved revenues thanks to fuel hedging and the acquisition of Air Berlin – shares +4.7% on Friday.

GKN spent the week fighting off a hostile £7.4 billion takeover by Melrose.  However a £1 billion cash sweetener may turn a few shareholders’ heads.  BT lost its court case on Friday over its pension pay-out to its 83,000k beneficiaries, preserving the proposed pension increases rather than the company investing broadband infrastructure.  BT’S pension black hole is not going away; it needs attention. At the end of the week, despite a slew of challenging financial, corporate and political issues, global indices closed as follows on the week – S&P 500 +0.54%, FTSE 100 -0.62%, European bourses +0.51% on average and the NIKKEI +0.65%. Brent crude settled at $68 and change having nudged $70 a barrel and surprisingly the Dollar remained weak against most major reserve currencies (Cable $1.3890 and $/Y111.20).

 

UK Companies posting results this week – Monday – Revolution Bars, Carpetcenter, Lonmin, Tuesday – Pets at Home, Paragon, Dixons Carphone, EasyJet, SSP Group, Marston’s, Fever Tree, N Brown, Cairn Energy, Wednesday – Sage, Crest Nicholson, Polymetal, Fesnillo, Foxtons, WH Smith, JD Wetherspoon, Thursday – DMGT, Kier Group, Sky, Diageo, ASOS, Genel Energy, Greene King, PayPoint, Brewin Dolphin, Restaurant Group, Unilever, CMC Markets, Renishaw, St James’s Place, Kaz Minerals

US companies posting results this week – Monday – Halliburton, Netflix, Tuesday – Travelers, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, HB Fuller, Texas Instruments, Capital One, Wednesday – Baker Hughes, Abbotts Labs, Comcast, General Dynamics, Xilinx, Ford, Dolby, Whirlpool, GE, Thursday – Caterpillar, Freeport-McMoRan, JetBlue, Raytheon, Biogen, American Airlines, £Ms, Northrop Gruman, Intel, Friday – Abbvie, Honeywell

Economic data posted this week – Tuesday – US PSBR, CBI Industrial trends, Wednesday – UK Labour statistics, US PMI Manufacturing & Services, Thursday – ECB Monetary policy, Friday – US GDP, UK GDP, US Durable orders.

 

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

I failed to understand the logic behind yesterday’s very sharp rally on the Street of Dreams, with the DOW and NASDAQ both up over 1%. Two colleagues of mine chirped up in unison not to try too hard to work it out. There was neither ‘rhyme nor reason’ for it, apart from the fact that it was just replacing the exaggerated pull-back from a couple of days ago. Punters think that the earning season will hit targets – hence record levels on Wall Street were being titillated, despite Goldman disappointing with its trading operation with revenues down 30%. However they still beat forecast, but the shares drifted by 2.5%. Bank of America Merrill posted very acceptable progress. These shares are up over 200% in the last year! What an investment and such a recovery play! The content of the Beige Book seemed irrelevant to equity acolytes. Asia did not know quite what to make of Wall Street’s performance yesterday, this morning. In fairness it was preoccupied with China’s retail and GDP data, which was near enough in line with expectation, though there was little hue about of the colour blue!

 

Here in London, the main index made insignificant progress at the opening with little news to break up the tedious monotony of recent sessions. By 2.45pm it had drifted by 39 points to 7686. Why? The strength of Sterling helped the drift with the likes of Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever and Diageo easing some value. Mining stocks, with the exception of Glencore were quite friendless in the ring. Oil stocks were neutral – strong £ played a rising oil price.

 

There were a slew of earnings today. Whitbread’s Alison Brittain posted encouraging figures. Though until yesterday, Whitbread was down 6% in the last year, their shares rose by 4% today. AB Foods disappointed and it wasn’t Primark – sales up 7% in the last quarter, sugar sales were disappointing. As for the rest they performed as follows – Headlam +1%, GKN -0.4%, William Hill unchanged, Experian -1%, Halfords -1%, Royal Mail Group -1.5%, Evraz +2% Pearson -0.5% and Finsbury Foods unchanged.

At 2.45pm the DOW is down 10 points. IBM and Morgan Stanley have posted results. Morgan Stanley pleased their acolytes – shares up 0.8% and as for IBM the market’s stance was neutral – unchanged.

TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday, 18th January 2018

 

 

“I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name;
There is grief in the sound, there is guilt in the fame;
But the tear that now burns on my cheek may impart
The deep thoughts that dwell in that silence of heart.
Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace,
Were those hours – can their joy or their bitterness cease?
We repent, we abjure, we will break from our chain, – 
We will part, we will fly to – unite it again!
Oh! thine be the gladness, and mine be the guilt!
Forgive me, adored one! – forsake if thou wilt;
But the heart which is thine shall expire undebased,
And man shall not break it – whatever thou may’st.
And stern to the haughty, but humble to thee,
This soul in its bitterest blackness shall be;
And our days seem as swift, and our moments more sweet,
With thee at my side, than with worlds at our feet.
One sigh of thy sorrow, one look of thy love,
Shall turn me or fix, shall reward or reprove.
And the heartless may wonder at all I resign – 
Thy lips shall reply, not to them, but to mine.

 

 

George Gordon, Lord Byron – poet – 1788-1824

 

 

Ben Stokes – I am truly surprised that Cricket’s ECB/TCCB has granted Ben Stokes permission to play in the 20/20 tournament in New Zealand.  I know the CPS has taken an inordinate time to prefer charges of affray against Ben Stokes, but these allegations are quite serious in terms of the law; so for the ECB to allow him to play for England until there is total clarifications on the outcome of a trial or hearing, has quite surprised me. Perhaps the ECB feels that Stokes has been unfairly discriminated against in terms of the time taken by the CPS to bring charges and his forthcoming appearance at the Crown Court. There was also a rumour that Stokes might sue the authorities for wrongful dismissal, but I have my doubts of its validity.

 

This Carillion debacle has been a pretty tawdry affair.  The Government, with the opposition snapping at their heels and baying for blood, as if Labour were as pure as the driven snow in this arena, will need to have the drains up over the performance and behaviour of its management. Did they behave recklessly bordering on criminally and will their bonuses have to be clawed back?

 

However I never thought I would live to see the day when a Conservative Government seemed somewhat ambivalent to towards small companies and businesses in the manner it has responded to those suppliers and sub-contractors caught up in the Carillion crisis. It is absolutely correct that Carillion should not be bailed out by the taxpayer; the shareholders and the banks should bear the pain. However to convey the impression that the small fry should be metaphorically thrown to the wolves is unfair.  They should have some help in regards to issues that were beyond their control. Also laws need to be brought in whereby bills and accounts should be rendered and paid with 28 days of being issued, except on a mutually agreed alternative basis.  It is a scandal that large companies just refuse to meet their obligations within a reasonable time frame.  Small companies are the backbone of growth in this country and they need careful and responsive help. 

 

We have heard a great deal of carping from Jeremy Corbyn about how public sector work should be wholly run by the state! What nonsense! Had Carillion been state owned it would have cost the taxpayer a fortune to prop it up as it continued to fail and demand more and more in subsidies. Sound familiar?

 

There was an excellent article in the Guardian today, very well researched on the likelihood that taxpayers may need to foot a £200 billion bill for 700 existing PFI contracts, which could run over the next 25 years according to the National Audit office. It is their measured opinion that the cost of privately financing public projects could be 40% higher than relying on the public sector. I am sure some of the figures are accurate but I do not endorse the sentiment or believe in the prognosis. Civil servants tend not to have very much commercial ‘savvy’ and I suspect the profligate demands made by the Unions over the years and the necessity for extra subsidies would have been gargantuan – way ahead of private enterprise costs. The current system is not wrong. It was the poor management of Carillion and indifferent due diligence done on the company by government bodies that triggered this debacle.

 

Yesterday the Street of Dreams scrubbed up well for a great earnings season party, as the 3 main indices broke new ground. In fact Wall Street was on fire. Not even the dispiriting performance on trading, particularly bonds, made by Goldman Sachs could keep the momentum at bay. Trading revenues were down 30% on last year and 50% below the annual $45 billion revenues of 2009. Oil & gold bounced in to the bargain. The markets closed as follows – DOW +1.25%, S&P +0.94%, NASDAQ +1.03%.

 

In Asia this morning markets were relatively subdued as investors waited China’s GDP and retail sales data – last quarter’s GDP slowed to 1.6%, YoY and YTD hold at 6.8% and 6.9% respectively; Retail Sales dropped to 9.4% YoY; Industrial Production ticked up to 6.2% YoY; FIA held at 7.2% YoY. Markets closed as follows – ASX unchanged, Shanghai +0.8%, Hang Seng +0.5%, Nikkei -0.5%.

 

London’s leading index, yesterday felt moribund – down 30 points at 7725. GKN’s takeover problems and Rolls Royce’s restructuring plans presented with gusto by CEO Warren East were well received by investors – shares up 4% to 900p having initially been 7% to the good after the news broke. Since those dark days of bribery allegations concerning $671 million, the shares cascaded down hill to 513p in November 2015 exacerbated by profits warnings, from 1271p in June 2014. There is little doubt that East’s predecessors, Sir John Rose was probably in situ as CEO for too long (12 years) and the same applies to John Rishden for similar reasons. Rolls Royce was badly in need of fresh ideas and initiatives. The grass was growing under the feet. Warren East ticked all those boxes and has delivered a fresh approach to this brilliant brand. RR is cutting the company down from 5 to 3 divisions and will hopefully be selling its marine operation. GE, Wartsila and Siemens are amongst possible suitors.

 

Melrose has gone hostile to acquire GKN for £7.4 billion. Anne Stevens insists the bid grossly undervalues the company in terms of asset value. Cineworld announced a £1.7 billion rights issue to buy Regal of the US. There was a slew of earning this morning, set out below. None of them really struck a positive or negative chord. London’s leading index was down 30 points at 7798 at 11.00am.

 

 

UK Companies posting results this week – Thursday – Evraz, Experian, Pearson, Royal Mail Group, William Hill, AB Foods, Headlam, Halfords, Workspace, Whitbread

 

US companies posting results this week – Thursday – Morgan Stanley, Bank of New York Mellon, IBM, American Express

 

Economic data posted this week – Wednesday – US Beige Book, US Industrial Production, Thursday – US Housing data, Friday – UK Retail Sales

 

 

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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