Category Archives: Daily Fayre


ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ – I think we would all be having more fun looking around the Ape House in London Zoo. Gracious me! What a crashing bore. The FTSE 100 is unchanged at 2.45pm at 7275. The volumes are derisory! There is no volatility. Considering the strength of Sterling, miners are holding up well. Sterling based stocks are well supported. The FOMC tonight, PM May on Friday and the German Election at the weekend have forced investors to sit on their hands – what for?  I have no idea.

Kingfisher’s results were less awful than expected – +4.5% and Babcock International’s efforts were praiseworthy – +6.5%. The Street of Dreams is up 5 points at the opening. So roll on 7.00pm BST!!



TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 19th September 2017

“The curtains were half drawn, the floor was swept

And strewn with rushes, rosemary and may

Lay thick upon the bed on which I lay,

Where through the lattice ivy-shadows crept.

He leaned above me, thinking that I slept

And could not hear him; but I heard him say,

‘Poor child, poor child’: and as he turned away

Came a deep silence, and I knew he wept.

He did not touch the shroud, or raise the fold

That hid my face, or take my hand in his,

Or ruffle the smooth pillows for my head:

He did not love me living; but once dead

He pitied me; and very sweet it is

To know he still is warm though I am cold.”


Christina Rossetti – poet – 1830-1894


I doubt the UM General Assembly has ever heard such jingoistic rhetoric from a President of the United States, as was delivered yesterday by Donald Trump.  He certainly did not pull any punches as he chided Kim Jong UN – the Rocket Man – warning him that he would regret any act of military aggression against the United States, as I suspect would the rest of the World.  President Trump seemed none too enamoured with ISIS driven by Muslims extremists, offering them in a rather incendiary manner, little in the way of solace.  Few are around today that remember the solemn words of Harry S Truman before the hydrogen bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but I doubt they were as bellicose as President Trump’s threats.  Let’s hope his advisers can keep the President on the bridle, rather than let him run around, dangerously green.


I know the anger and remorse Rio Ferdinand must be feeling at losing his wife, Rebecca, at such a tender age. However at the age of 38, regardless of the incredible shape he is in, he is showing a degree of unacceptable irresponsibility towards his vulnerable children, by attempting to build a career, however short it might be, in the boxing ring. I hope the British Boxing Board of Control do not grant him a licence. He’s a very good football pundit. What’s wrong with that?


Sir Vince Cable did a great job rallying the troops at his Lib-Dem conference speech in Bournemouth yesterday. He was relentless in his quest on an ant-BREXIT ticket. He dreams of being the next PM. Dream on! There should be no second referendum. We have moved on Sir Vince; ask the IOD and the EEF. Now we need to secure the best deal for the UK, whilst building a good trading relationship with the EU.


International equity markets have felt rather anaemic in the last few days. Investors, analysts and economists have been preoccupied with Trump’s UN bellicose speech, PM May’s forthcoming speech on Brexit in Florence on Friday, with the German General Election following in its wake and of course the 2-day FOMC meeting, starting today, which should pave the way for another modest hike in rates probably in December and the start to some tapering of the FED’S gargantuan quantitative easing of its $4.1 trillion facility. The market wants a steer on how much and when. With inflation in the US down to 1.9% and hourly wage inflation at 2.95% there is certainly scope for some modest adjustments. Unemployment has fallen from 8% nine years ago to 4.4% last month on a string of positive non-farm payroll postings. So Janet Yellen is not expected to delay any announcements. Also Stanley Fischer is due to go as Yellen’s deputy. Who will replace him? In fact will Trump attempt to replace Yellen. It would appear that the President is frustrated with her conservative and ponderous approach to monetary and fiscal policy


As I alluded to earlier, Wall Street seemed fixated with President Trump’s UN rhetoric yesterday, with the FED being offered up later as pudding. The 3 main indices closed as follows – DOW +0.18%, S&P +0.11, NASDAQ +0.10% Asian markets stayed on hold ahead of FOMC meeting and guidance on rates/QE, despite the fact Japan posted stellar export growth data – ASX -0.09%, Shanghai +0.22%, Hang Seng +0.33%, Nikkei +0.05%.


Yesterday the FTSE added 21 points at 7275 in quiet trading conditions with oil the stand-out sector. Ryanair continues its rehabilitation with its passenger base, by offering a £14k bonus to those passengers, who surrender outstanding holidays due. BIS Secretary Greg Clark is expected to post rules for the protection of UK companies from foreign predators. The basic criteria include 1) no threat to national security 2) HQ to remain in the UK and 3) Research to also remain in the UK. Lord Mandelson and Sir Vince Cable warned against scurrilous behaviour, remembering Kraft’s £11.9 billion bid for Cadbury Schweppes, when Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld promised jobs were safe. The ink was hardly dry before she was proved to have been economical with the truth. Cable and Obama thwarted Pfizer’s aspirations to buy Astra Zeneca for different reasons – tax and protection of jobs and scientific development respectively. Deutsche Boerse failed to gain shareholder approval to buy the LSE.


It is interesting to note that France and Germany have hardly, if ever, allowed an overseas predator to buy one of their companies ‘since the Old King died.’ However that does not make them right, as there is a school of thought that says they are too protectionist. It is a question of finding the right balance. Since Toshiba fell from grace Japanese investors have been looking for support for their Cumbrian Moorside nuclear project. China General Nuclear may be prepared to participate in the £15 billion project. Does this Chinese investor meet the security criteria? Finally many also feel that Softbank’s acquisition of ARM Holdings for £24 billion went through with indecent haste.


It looks as though Tata have worked out an agreement with ThyssenKrupp to merge their operations making the company the second largest steel manufacturer after Arcelor/Mittal in Europe, serving 31 countries with 48ooo employees. Having agreed a formula on the £15 billion pension hole many of the 4000 Port Talbot workers will hopefully keep their jobs. IG Metall, Germany’s powerful union will be more than look after their workers. Kingfisher posted less awful results – profits only down 5.7% rather than a forecasted 18% saw its shares leap by 5%.


UK retail sales grew by an unexpected 1% in August – Consumers are showed an impressive resilience in the face of the on-going real pay squeeze and the imponderable imposed by BREXIT. Panmure’s chief economist Simon French says –

“An increase in household spending adds weight to my view that the MPC will hike interest rates in November, though perhaps only symbolically, as with the Pound at $1.35, inflation should fall to nearer 2% next year.”.


 UK Companies posting, results this week – Wednesday – Kingfisher, Babcock International, Thursday – Scisys, Kier Group, Friday – Saga, Smiths Group


US companies posting interim results this week – Wednesday General Mills, Thursday – Herman Miller, Friday – Finnish Line


Economic data due this week – Wednesday – UK Retail Sales, US Existing Home Sales, Thursday – UK Public Sector Net Borrowing, US Initial Jobless Claims,


 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 ​


I am watching US Ambassador to the UN, Nicky Hiley on TV, looking dreamily at her boss, President Trump, who is vociferously under a wet sail at the UN and I must say she looks to me like the kind of person it might be folly to trifle with. I suspect she takes no prisoners! Suddenly I am feeling a cold shiver down my back bone. President Trump’s oratory is all that anyone is interested on the Street of Dreams today, until the FED’S Janet Yellen gets to her feet tonight. Trump certainly entertained his acolytes with an array of jingoistic oratory. As for the FED, market protagonists are asking will there be one more hike in rates this year and will the FED chairman spell out by how much QE will be tapered?   As I speak the FTSE 100 is up 25 points at 7278 at 3.40pm.  The Dow is up a sedentary 25 points.


Oil companies have been in the vanguard – Tullow +5%, Cairn +4%, Wood Group, BP and Royal Dutch Shell all up about 1%. Of the banks HSBC has been stand-out – up 1%. Of those companies posting numbers or trading statements, they have performed as follows – Escher Group down 2%, MaxCyte unchanged, Eagle-Eye Solutions -0.5%, Gulf Keystone Petroleum -4% and Ocado down 1%. Initially these shares fell unrealistically by 5% despite turnover increasing by 13%.  There was some concern that customers’ basket content had fallen more than a smidgen. However the market, on reflection, seemed pleased with the overall performance.


TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 19th September 2017


“I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,

When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;

Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:

The shapes a bright container can contain!

Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,

Or English poets who grew up on Greek

(I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek).


How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,

She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand;

She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin;

I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;

She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,

Coming behind her for her pretty sake

(But what prodigious mowing we did make).


Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:

Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;

She played it quick, she played it light and loose;

My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;

Her several parts could keep a pure repose,

Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose

(She moved in circles, and those circles moved).


Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:

I’m martyr to a motion not my own;

What’s freedom for? To know eternity.

I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.

But who would count eternity in days?

These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:

(I measure time by how a body sways).”



Theodore Roethke – poet – 1908-1963



I was very sad indeed to hear that Dame Tessa Jowell has become unwell, suffering from cancer of the brain. We all wish her well and a speedy recovery. Dame Tessa is one of the great voices of New Labour. He exudes decency from every pore. I was personally very sad that she was not nominated as Labour’s candidate to become Mayor of London.  I think the whole London community would have rallied around her as a voice of reason and unanimity of purpose. She would not have tolerated any divisive behaviour.  She has always come across as kind, considerate and very humane.   At the time of ‘9/11’ she handled Cantor Fitzgerald’s and Eurobrokers’ tragic humanitarian issues with great sensitivity and compassion. That will never be forgotten by the families, who suffered such anguish and grief.


The ‘Emmy Awards’ brought UK productions or actors to the fore for awards on Sunday night.  It was no surprise that Elizabeth Moss won best actress for her performance in “The Handmaid’s Tale” and no prizes for guessing that Riz Ahmed won the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series. “The Night of.” Both awards were richly deserved – brilliant acting in exciting slightly ‘left-field’ productions.


I’ve always been a fan of Gigginstown Stud and the huge contribution it and Michael O’Leary makes to NH racing. However, I am less than convinced that he would number amongst my favourite guests at my dinner table on Saturday night. I am confident he will get over that. However I was aghast that Ryanair’s shares, which had rallied by 30% in the last year, only eased by 2.3% on news that 50 flights a week would be cancelled in the next few weeks affecting 400k passengers due to pilot arrangements having gone awry as well as on-going employment disagreements. I am told that because Mr O’Leary said SORRY and the fact that Ryanair has done so well in recent years he has snatched victory from the jaws of death and got away with it! Those passengers looking for compensation, which analysts say could cost Ryanair £20 million, perhaps should look at the small print. If like easyJet alternative flights are available within 48 hours, it may not be necessary for Ryanair to settle some claims. We await developments.


It was sad news that TOYS R US has applied to Chapter 11 for bankruptcy protection. All is not lost but it does not look good, with a debt mountain of $5 billion with $400 million due to be repaid next year and a recent loss posted of $250 million. This company was bought by private equity in 2005 for $6.6 billion (KKR, Bain and Vornado). There are 875 shops in US 765 international outlets and 245 shops using its brand and a workforce of 64,000. Perhaps re-financing may be found for a smaller unit or individual outlets may be bought. Toys are such a competitive business with Amazon rampant in that zone.


Yesterday US equity markets on the Street of Dreams seemed wholly preoccupied with the forthcoming UN meeting and tomorrow’s FED meeting. Gold retreated to $1312 an ounce and the Dollar held steady. The three main indices closed as follows – DOW +0.28%, S&P +0.15%, NASDAQ +0.10%. At the time of writing, Asian markets were mixed ahead of FED meeting, with the Nikkei adding +1.45% during today’s session, playing positive ‘catch up ‘after yesterday’s holiday. As we headed to the close the main bourses performed as follows – ASX + 0.10%, Shanghai -0.29%, HS -0.14%.


After yesterday’s modest gains, the FTSE was very reflective this morning adding 15 points at 7265. HSBC was in good form adding just under 1%. Yesterday, of the larger cap stocks, BAE Systems added 4% thanks to confirmation that 12 Typhoon fighters valued at $2 billion, had been bought by Qatar. This morning despite revenues increasing by 13% in the last quarter, the shares fell 5% – very much travelled and rived.


Much of this morning’s financial press comment revolved around Mark Carney’s comments on his visit to the IMF. Though not officially a ‘REMAINER’, the BOE Governor, is known to be more than sympathetic to that cause. He was unequivocal in stating that ‘BREXIT’ had dealt the UK an economic blow, which would result in a lower growth rate for the UK than the rest of Europe. He spelt out rather a negative outlook. I am less than convinced that the economy will collapse under BREXIT. Inflation currently has risen to 2.9%. Wage inflation is 2.1% on an annualised basis; BUT has apparently run at 3% in the last 3 months. So I suppose Mark Carney and the MPC will want to restore the 0.5% official bank rate, which it cut by 0.25% 13 months ago. However any further hikes may be dangerous. Maybe retail and mortgages (many are fixed rate) can probably cope with a 0.25% increase. I accept that, but it worries me. The Governor has suggested that the UK’S economy is in danger of de-coupling from the EU and the rest of the world. That is a huge assumption and clearly the FX market does not, for the moment, agree – up from $1.20 to $1.35 in the last 9 months. So I hope next month’s move, if it does take place is nor more than symbolic. Otherwise it could be a case of throwing the bay out with the bathwater – folly?




UK Companies posting, results this week – Tuesday – Escher Group, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, Eagle Eye Solutions, Ocado, Wednesday – Kingfisher, Babcock International, Thursday – Scisys, Kier Group, Friday – Saga, Smiths Group


US companies posting interim results this week – Tuesday – Adobe Systems, Bed, Bath & Beyond, FedEx, Maxcyte, Wednesday General Mills, Thursday – Herman Miller, Friday – Finnish Line


Economic data due this week – Tuesday – UK Current Account, UK Housing Starts and Building Permits, Wednesday – UK Retail Sales, US Existing Home Sales, Thursday – UK Public Sector Net Borrowing, US Initial Jobless Claims,


 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 – Sunday, 17th September 2017


“More beautiful and soft than any moth

With burring furred antennae feeling its huge path

Through dusk, the air liner with shut-off engines

Glides over suburbs and the sleeves set trailing tall

To point the wind. Gently, broadly, she falls,

Scarcely disturbing charted currents of air.


Lulled by descent, the travellers across the sea

And across feminine land indulging its easy limbs

In miles of softness, now let their eyes trained by watching

Penetrate through dusk the outskirts of this town

Here where industry shows a fraying edge.

Here they may see what is being done.


Beyond the winking masthead light

And the landing ground, they observe the outposts

Of work: chimneys like black fingers

Or figures, frightening or mad: and squat buildings

With their strange air behind trees, like women’s faces

Shattered by grief. Here where few houses

Moan with faint light behind their blinds.


In the last sweep of love, they pass over fields

Behind the aerodrome, where boys play all day

Hacking dead grass: whose cries, like wild birds,

Settle upon the nearest roofs

But soon are hid under the loud city.”




Stephen Spender – poet, essayist & author– 1909-1995



“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” – Winston S Churchill – Battle of Britain – 16th September 1940


It is extraordinary how that exceptional columnist Rod Liddle gets away with being ‘non-PC’, outrageously controversial, humorous, contemptuous and incendiary in a manner that most of us, if we tried to copy his ways, we would have our lapels tugged by the strong arm of the law. I buy the Spectator every week with the express reason to access his column and I also rarely miss an opportunity to read his views in the Sunday Times or the Sun. He articulates his views embarrassingly bluntly, which makes him unique as a columnist. Last week I went to hear him being interviewed by his Editor, Fraser Nelson. I was not disappointed. He covered everything from the Guardian, BBC, The Labour Party, Corbyn, Millwall FC, Middlesbrough and race issues.  The only subject he refuses to write about or be drawn in to argument over, is abortion. The evening was ‘a guinea a minute!’


There were two main issues that grabbed the headlines last week and both were interlocked – the surprising threat of higher interest rates in the UK and the value of Sterling which shot up to $1.35.89.  The MPC voted to keep rates unchanged, but a new member, of the committee, Gertjan Vlieghe let his intensions be known that he felt rates could go up by 0.25% this November restoring bank rate to 0.5%, where it stood pre-the –referendum result on 23rd June 2016. I am not exactly a student of economics.  However when wage inflation (2.1%) languishes behind inflation (2.9%), the idea of putting up rates, thus triggering less disposable income could have a very damaging effect on retail and therefore growth.  Surely it might have been better to wait a little to allow inflation to fall next year, which it looks likely to as commodity prices flatten out provided Sterling remains firm. 



Anyway Carney’s and other BOE luminaries’ thoughts saw Sterling bounce out of the traps adding 2.7% in value against the Greenback.  Also it has risen from $1.20 to $1.35 in the last year. In fairness Mr Vlieghe pointed out that private sector wages had increased by 3% in the last quarter, but the annual rate remains low at 2.1%. To get the balance right is essential. A serious fall in retail activity, which is already under threat thanks to press driven uncertainty over BREXIT, could be hugely damaging for growth. The public’s perception of the government’s handling of BREXIT negotiations is very poor.  That does not help.  Hopefully Mrs May’s speech scheduled for 20th September in Florence may help to clear away the clouds of uncertainty. I think financial markets were delighted to hear that the Bank of England was considering tapering the £475 billion quantitative easing facility. QE feels like a drug that the economy should be weaned off as soon as possible.


Global equities put in mixed performances this past week.  The FTSE 100 eased measurably by 2.2% thanks to the glittering performance of Sterling. With so many Dollar earnings related constituent stocks, the fall in the mining, tobacco and drug sectors skimmed the cream off the FTSE. Other stocks such as Diageo, Reckitt Benckiser and WPP have enjoyed better weeks. Carnival also sank by 6%, much of the loss being attributed to the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma. Negative press comment on the indifferent progress being made on the BREXIT negotiations, as previously stated, also did not help. However there was a much better performance from Next, whose shares rallied by 10% on the week and JD Wetherspoon, which posted a stellar performance on Friday, which saw its shares leap like a grilse – up 13%. Markets never do anything by halves these days.  Interserve posted a shocking trading statement and investors vented their spleens taking the share price down by 50%.  Spire Health associated with the insensitive surgeon Patterson, who will now languish in jail for 20 years with any luck, felt the wheels of pain across its back – shares down 16% on the week.



Conversely the S&P 500 in the US added 1.5%. The Dollar regained its poise and encouraging numbers were posted by the likes of Cisco Systems and Oracle. European stocks rallied by an average of 1.3% and the NIKKEI an agreeable 3.29%, thanks to the weak Yen. Gold fell $35 an ounce from its recent high of $1357. With the aroma of higher interest rates in the air, plus tapering of quantitative easing it was no surprise that 10-year gilt yield flipped up by 15 basis points. Bell Pottinger, unsurprisingly went into liquidation for alleged reprehensible behaviour in South Africa when representing the Gupta family’s business interests. Like many others I was dismayed that Culture Secretary Karen Bradley referred 21st Century’s remaining 61% bid for Sky (valued at £11 billion +) to the CMA for what looks like political reasons rather , commercial ones.  This referral is particularly frustrating as even the EU nodded it through. It will be interesting to see whether Evening Standard Owner Evgeny Lebedev will be successful in buying the Metro for £30-£40 million or whether it might end up in the stable that owns the ‘I’ or will it remain with DMGT. Sir Peter Wood the original innovator of Direct Line and recently successful helping to spin off ‘Gocompare’ is pondering over whether to see his 30.7% stake in concert with the rest of eSure to a possible US bidder for maybe as much as £1 billion.


UK Companies posting, results this week – Monday – Finsbury Food Group, Dairy Crest, Tuesday – Escher Group, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, Eagle Eye Solutions, Ocado, Wednesday – Kingfisher, Babcock International, Thursday – Scisys, Kier Group, Friday – Saga, Smiths Group


US companies posting interim results this week – Tuesday – Adobe Systems, Bed, Bath & Beyond, FedEx, Maxcyte, Wednesday General Mills, Thursday – Herman Miller, Friday – Finnish Line


Economic data due this week – Monday – Rightmove House Price Index, Tuesday – UK Current Account, UK Housing Starts and Building Permits, Wednesday – UK Retail Sales, US Existing Home Sales, Thursday – UK Public Sector Net Borrowing, US Initial Jobless Claims,


 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 was about the good the bad and the ugly! The good news was the fact that having voted 7-2 to keep rates unchanged the BOE is considering tapering quantitative easing in the months to come. The Pound rose like the proverbial grilse – $1.3371.  Stocks, particularly Dollar related ones took flight – FTSE 100 down 70 points at 7309 at 3.45pm. Miners, though, remained quite resilient, though some eased by 4%. Tobacco and drugs also felt the wheels of pain on their back – down by a average of 2%. Banks were in good order – up by an average of 1.5% apart from Barclays -1%. Gold stocks were weak – -4% on average.  


Of those companies that reported today NEXT grabbed the ‘yellow jersey’ – +12% thanks to better than expected outlook. One thing is for sure these days traders express their glee and dismay very positively. So I’ll mentioned the joy now for the bad or pain. Interserve, after a severe profits warning, received a serious larruping – down 50%. Spar healthcare lost 20% exacerbated by its association with Dr Patterson and the resulting claims. Morrison’s outlook did not pass muster – down 6%. Ophir Energy was 2.5% to the good and Haynes Publishing added 3%.  The DOW is up 10 points.


TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday, 14th September 2017


“The morning sun shows like a pillar
Of fire through smoke on frosty days.
As on a faulty snap, it cannot
Make out my features in the haze.

The distant trees will hardly see me
Until the sun at last can break
Out of the fog, and flash triumphant
Upon the meadows by the lake.

A passer-by in mist receding
Is recognized when he has passed.
You walk on hoarfrost-covered pathways
As though on mats of plaited bast.

The frost is covered up in gooseflesh,
The air is false like painted cheeks,
The earth is shivering, and sick of

Breathing potato-stalks for weeks.”



Boris Pasternak – poet & author– 1890-1960



Sir Peter Hall, who died recently at the age of 86, having suffered from dementia since 2011, is generally acknowledged to be the father of National Theatre, which he put together with the assistance of Kenneth Tynan, the doyen of theatre critics of the day and our most celebrated actor Laurence Olivier. He was a man of complete artistic creativity, which he developed whilst at Cambridge.  Not only was he a leading light behind that National Theatre but he also directed opera at Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House, as well as directing many films.  Over the years he worked with Sir Trevor Nunn and was married first to the delectable Leslie Caron – she of ‘Gigi’ fame – and to the opera diva Maria Ewing.


Chancellor Hammond has informed the City that he will help craft a “bespoke deal” for the UK financial services sector in Brexit negotiations, as industry voices continue to call for greater clarity on the details of any proposed transitional period. In his speech to the UK Finance Annual Dinner at Mansion House last night, Hammond set out his plans for a transition period after March 2019, “during which the UK and the EU 27 will retain access to each other’s markets, and will operate a harmonised customs arrangement.” This news will please the ‘soft’ BREXIT brigade, but his ideas may not get a smooth passage from some whilst Juncker and Barnier adopt such an obstreperous attitude to negotiations and possible trade deals.


Yesterday did not see US equity markets at their best, as investors in beautiful downtown Manhattan ruminated over the possible introduction of Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s much vaunted taxation cuts. Congress will prove to be no push over with these imaginative cuts. The main US indices closed as follows – DOW -0.18%, S&P +0.08%, NASDAQ +0.09%.  Chevron, Dupont, Verizon and GE shone through in quiet almost anaemic session. Caterpillar, Pfizer and Apple found few friends as they all drifted by an average of 1%. Asian bourses were mostly flat on Thursday after the release of slightly disappointing Chinese data. Markets watched with interest the rise in U.S. Treasury yields overnight following tax reform headlines out of Washington, although the dollar’s advance paused. Industrial Production, investment in fixed asset investment and retail sales came up a little short in China today.


London’s market was a dull affair as the FTSE 100 drifted by 21 points to 7379. Halfords appointed Graham Stapleton from Dixons Carphone to replace Jill McDonald as CEO of Halfords. Dunelm saw a small drop in sales (-2.4%) but the outlook was very positive as revenues rose by 8.5%, resulting in the shares adding 9% on the day.


I think the market always feared that Apple would not be delivering its new ‘all singing and dancing’ iPhoneX in time. Tim Cook eluded gently to it some weeks ago. Apple’s shares went mildly in to reverse but are unchanged over the last month. Ironically Softbank which bought ARM Holdings saw its share price rise by 0.34% today.  However, IQE (-6%), Imagination (-4.8%), and Laird (-0.3%) – all key suppliers to Apple, mainly chips – have fallen in price due to supply concerns, as their chip production levels fall.  I suspect these reverses are temporary as Apple’s support seems very strong and the expectations for iPhoneX are almost stratospheric. However Swatch (-3%) and Richemont (-1.4%) may be a different kettle of fish. The iPhone could damage long term sales from these two companies – who needs a watch and an iPhone unless it’s a Rolex.


Many like me would have been very disappointed that Culture Secretary Karen Bradley referred 21st Century’s bid for the remaining 61% of Sky to the CMA against the findings of Ofcom and the fact that even the EU waved it through.  Who is getting to the Culture Secretary?  This deal has nothing to do with politics and there is stench of professional jealousy in the air from the competition. Murdoch does not have to be liked.  Sky has created thousands of jobs and has provided entertainment for millions.  He has also saved many newspapers.  If corporate governance issues can be agreed, this deal should be allowed to go through. Shares closed all but unchanged but the day before fell from 950p to 937p.


There was further good news on the UK’s employment data yesterday – UK unemployment fell by 75,000 in the three months to July, bringing the jobless rate down to 4.3% from 4.4% in the previous quarter. The rate stands at its lowest since 1975, but a squeeze on real incomes continues, according to the ONS. Wages in the period were 2.1% up on a year earlier, little changed from the previous months’ growth rates. Inflation hitting 2.9% in August, wages are failing to keep up. In real terms, wages have fallen by 0.4% over the last year.



Sports Direct seems to be under the corporate governance cosh again.  Two influential Parliamentary select committees are contacting Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley over concerns that the retailer’s Hermes drivers are underpaid. Amazon is also be challenged for failing to cooperate fully in tackling a multibillion-Pound fraud that is putting scores of small companies out of business. Some foreign companies are alleged to be selling goods on Amazon and eBay thus evading tax on a third of it sales.  According to the Times this could amount to £1.5 billion of lost revenue to HMRC.


EU car sales for June to August inclusive were up 4.5%.  However it was Japanese car makers that excelled in the EU in August – Nissan +17%, Toyota+17% – both up despite tariffs. BMW only up 2.4% and VW 2.7% but Fiat grew by 9.4%! Wm Morrison posted numbers for the half year – like for like sales grew by 3% including fuel (1.4% last year). EX fuel 2.6% – Turnover was up 4.8% and profit before tax was up 12.7% to £177m (£157m last year). For the last 6 months NEXT posted numbers thus –  NEXT Brand full price sales1 in the first half were down -1.2% and total sales2 (including markdown) were down -2.3% on last year. Group profit before tax was down -9.5% and Earnings Per Share (EPS) were down -6.2%. The first half has seen a marked divergence of performance between our Retail and Directory businesses, with sales and profits down in Retail (-8.3%) but moving forward in Directory (+5.7%). The FTSE 100 is expected to open virtually flat.


UK Companies posting, results this week –Thursday – NEXT, Booker, Ophir Energy, Haynes Publishing Wm Morrison, SQS Software, Friday – JD Wetherspoon, Investec

US companies posting interim results this week – Thursday – Cisco Systems, Oracle

Economic data due this week – Thursday – UK Retail Sales, MPC Meeting, US CPI and Initial Jobless Claims, Friday – BOE Quarterly bulletin.


 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



The London equity market opening promised some positive action after the relief rally in New York yesterday and a reasonable session in Asia.  But London failed to deliver, stuttering most of the day and looking listless through a recent lack of volatility. At 4.00pm the FTSE 100 was down 12 points at 7401. The 2.9% inflation number caused Sterling to breach through the $1.325 threshold, but I would be reluctant to hold my breath in regards to an interest rate increase.  There are too many imponderables such as BREXIT. Inflation, according to our excellent economist, Simon French could be nearer 2% than 3% in a year’s time. Anyway the banks rallied with Barclays, RBS and Lloyds all adding 2%+. Mining, despite the strength of the Pound, was steady.  Astra Zeneca held on to recent gains. Sky shareholders had a ‘dose of the pip’ when it was becoming increasingly apparent that 21st Century’s bid would be referred.  Shares dipped from 950p to 910p but have recovered to 937p.


Of those companies that reported today – Ashtead held on to its 5.25% gain.  JD Sports initial 10% gain was impaired down to just 9%, but hardly shabby. Oxford Instruments failed to please their acolytes – down 3%. SMS initially lost 2.5% but were looking to close just 0.5% down. Hilton Foods added just 1% from decent numbers. The DOW is currently up 60 points!



TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 12th September 2017



“I hid my love when young till I

Couldn’t bear the buzzing of a fly;

I hid my love to my despite

Till I could not bear to look at light:

I dare not gaze upon her face

But left her memory in each place;

Where’er I saw a wild flower lie

I kissed and bade my love good-bye.


I met her in the greenest dells,

Where dewdrops pearl the wood bluebells;

The lost breeze kissed her bright blue eye,

The bee kissed and went singing by,

A sunbeam found a passage there,

A gold chain round her neck so fair;

As secret as the wild bee’s song

She lay there all the summer long.


I hid my love in field and town

Till e’en the breeze would knock me down;

The bees seemed singing ballads o’er,

The fly’s bass turned a lion’s roar;

And even silence found a tongue,

To haunt me all the summer long;

The riddle nature could not prove

Was nothing else but secret love.”


John Clare – poet– 1793-1864


HC Blofeld, affectionately known as ‘Blowers’, is probably not on the tip of everyone’s tongue as a household name unless you are a major cricket freak like me! Anyway after 46 years as a commentator with his own very personal style – ‘My Dear Old Thing’ or ‘you are absolutely right’ – finally hung up his microphone last Saturday. After play there was an incredible unsolicited outpouring of affection for this very eccentric Old Etonian cricket journalist. The crowd gave him a standing ovation as he toured around this hallowed piece of turf waving to the fans.  For a cricket commentator, this was unprecedented. One thing is for sure Henry Blofeld brought a sense of fun to this great sport.  He will be sorely missed!   



Yesterday BGC Partners hosted their 13th Charity Day. It is always a day of mixed emotions – sadness at the loss of their 658 friends and the 61 that worked for Eurobrokers, who perished in a mindless terrorist attack on the North Tower in the World Trade Center 16 years ago to the day. However a huge amount of money was raised for worthwhile charities. The generosity of banking clients and the staff of BGC, Mint, Cantor Fitzgerald and GFI will generate $10 million + in the form of donations for distribution. Great contributions from the likes of Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Sir Alex Ferguson, Keira Knightley Danny De Vito, Kay Burley, Mary Berry, Sam Allardyce, Didier Drogba, Frank Bruno, Kyle Sinkler, Damian Lewis and Nick Ferrari added some real colour to the occasion.


Labour and other renegades failed to lower the Government colours in losing the EU withdrawal Bill 326-290. Though the vote is significant, one can see those opposed to BREXIT becoming a thorn in the Government’s side but challenging every single amendment to a point of boredom, in the hope the BREXIT will never happen. I think they will fail!


J-C Juncker – The President of the European Commission will push for more thorough screening of foreign takeovers in the EU. This is a response to criticism that the Commission does not do enough to protect its own companies. That’s laugh! The EU is already breathtakingly protective, thus stifling free enterprise!


Yesterday the market told us that North Korea was now just an on-going problem rather than a major crisis. Also the fact that Hurricane Irma was starting to blow itself out, provided some stability to the frayed nerves of investors. Consequently the Street of Dreams selected second gear and thanks to this strong relief rally, markets closed as follows – DOW +1,19%, S&P +1.08%, NASDAQ +1.13%. Gains were felt across the board with tech, banks, and retail all performing with aplomb. In Asia sentiment also turned more positive. The Nikkei closed up 1.2% and though the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite were relatively unchanged Australia ASX was 0.76% to the good!


Yesterday the FTSE 100 added 35 points to 7413. Again it was more of a relief rally. The Pound continued to gain in value against the Greenback. At 9.30am we may see a blip in inflation to 2.8% from 2.6%, but Simon French, Panmure’s economist feels there is a good case for inflation falling below 2% a year from now. Despite wholesale management changes at Carillion the shares only fell 1.4% yesterday but they have fallen from 192p in July this year to 43p yesterday. This morning there were good numbers from JD Sports (+10% and always oversold in recent weeks). Hilton Foods also did well. Ashtead also was on the climb – +5.75%. It is interesting to see that Vodafone is driving its business on in Germany and hope to have 13.1 million users in a year’s time.


The EU is playing with fire by venting its spleen in suggesting that the likes of Google and Apple have their turnovers’ taxed rather than relating to profits. The EU is becoming so protective. It is in danger of cutting off its nose to spite its face and will alienate these US titans. The on-going challenges on fines implemented on Google for $2.2 billion for protective policies on sales may well have a back lash. The same applies to Apple being required to pay €12 million back taxes for its operation in Ireland. I remind the EU it is not the only place to do business.


 UK Companies posting, results this week – Tuesday – Ashtead, Futura Medical, Hilton Foods, JD Sports, Vernalis, Wednesday – Galliford Try, Soco International, Alliance Pharma, Dunelm, Just Group, Thursday – NEXT, Booker, Ophir Energy, Haynes Publishing Wm Morrison, SQS Software, Friday – JD Wetherspoon, Investec


US companies posting interim results this week – Thursday – Cisco Systems, Oracle


Economic data due this week – Tuesday – UK Inflation, Wednesday – UK PPI & Employment data, Thursday – UK Retail Sales, MPC Meeting, US CPI and Initial Jobless Claims, Friday – BOE Quarterly bulletin.


 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 – Sunday, 10th September 2017



The grey sea and the long black land;

And the yellow half-moon large and low;

And the startled little waves that leap

In fiery ringlets from their sleep,

As I gain the cove with pushing prow,

And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.



Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;

Three fields to cross till a farm appears;

A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch

And blue spurt of a lighted match,

And a voice less loud, thro’ its joys and fears,

Than the two hearts beating each to each!”



Robert Browning – Soldier– 1887-1915





If there is any occasion more ‘British’ than the BBC’S Last Night at the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall I have not heard of it.  So why the chosen conductor for the occasion, Sakari Aramo, chose the occasion to make a long and rather boring veiled political speech swathed in EU flags really escapes me and I suspect many others in what is a very NON political event.  I thought it distasteful in every way. I accept this is just about a free country; so people should be allowed to express themselves. However this much cherished occasion, did not need any objectionable disenchanted political flavour.  Thank goodness there was a huge number of Union Jacks in the vast crowd enjoying the occasion in Hyde Park.


Though not a week to remember politically or economically, what a fabulous one for sport. Tennis saw a titanic match between Del Potro, who vanquished Federer, the current Wimbledon champion. Whilst on the subject of tennis I wonder if we will ever see Sir Andrew Murray at his most potent ever again.  A new hip does not sound like the best antidote to become the World’s Number One again! England easily eclipsed the West Indies at Lords in 3 days winning by 9 wickets with Jimmy Anderson taking a magnificent 9 wickets in the match, whilst becoming the very first England bowler to claim 500 test wickets. It looks as though Chris Froome will be the first UK cyclist to win the Tour de France and Spain’s Vuelta by this afternoon, in the same year – a top effort!


Last night the TUC led us to believe that British households are being squeezed in the wake of the Brexit vote. Its research showed wages have fallen, economic growth has weakened and the UK’s reliance on the European Union for trade has increased since the referendum to leave the EU – not sure about the latter!  The TUC urged Theresa May to invest in infrastructure and to guaranty workers’ rights to ensure the UK could hold its own as a major trading partner. Francis O’Grady’s organisation felt growth had slowed in 11 industries in the year to June. She has a point.  However the negative political approach to BREXIT has certainly damaged investment confidence, despite the democratic decision taken by the people in the UK on 23rd June 2016. I think on this issue democracy is going to play a ‘spear-carrying’ role, rather than one associated with a ‘matinee idol!’

Let’s be under no illusions that this country has never been more divided on an issue than it currently is over BREXIT since perhaps the depression in 1930 or perhaps when the country turfed Winston Churchill in to touch in 1945. Though the anti-BREXIT demonstration in London yesterday, which may have attracted 50k people appeared to be good natured and well organised, politicians need to get a grip to prevent civil unrest, if the furore and wave of contempt which is gathering momentum in the country is anything to go by.


Even though the schools are back, the markets still seem, in the face of geopolitical instability across the world and potentially the worst damage from hurricanes in living memory, near enough fast asleep. Equity markets had a few wobbles as North Korea squared up the West, but only lost marginal ground – Last week the S&P eased by 0.5% and the FTSE 100 by 0.7%.  European bourses hardly mover – 0.2% and the NIKKEI suffered the most down 2.2% thanks to N Korean missiles flying over Hokkaido and a relatively strong Yen.  Gold, a haven for those who have become risk averse, added $19 last week to $1343 an ounce, though it did touch $1357 briefly.  However the fact that the Greenback fell to its lowest level against a basket of currencies for nearly three years, put the rally in to context.  Oil, in the wake of N Korea and Hurricane Irma was up 2.7% on the week. Hurricane Irma could cost an eye-watering $150 billion in claims. There was decent Chinese trade and manufacturing data, but that seemed to pale in to insignificance in the current climate.


In the UK house builders on the whole posted decent numbers last week, especially Bovis Homes and Redrow. On Friday Berkeley Group, whose shares have rallied 35% this year superficially did not let the side down, but Tony Pidgeley took home £29 million, which did not go down at all well, whatever his contract said – shares down 3.4%. Pubs had a bad week with Greene King losing 15%, blaming bad weather and poor sales, JD Wetherspoon which posts numbers this coming Friday lost 5.7% and Marston’s 8%.  Rockhopper Explorations added a much-enjoyed 8% with a better outlook.


The ECB’s Mario Draghi continued to toy with investors and economist, titillating them with threats to taper its current E60 billion QE facility shortly – again no date.  This kept the Euro strong. However it is interesting to note that there are calls across the world for higher interest rates especially from bankers such as Deutsche’s John Cryan.  Deutsche did not appear to have a completely clear bill of health from the BOE’S ‘Prudential Authority’ – much of it rumoured. Talking of banks it was not a great week for HSBC, who appeared to have closed thousands of accounts in recent times of those people without reference, who refused to answer questions on re-locating money to and from abroad. Also RBS will soon becoming under close scrutiny from the FCA and the Treasury Select Committee on the 12000 business that may have been transferred to GRG between 2007 and 2012, which were “exhibiting clear signs of financial difficulty” and that in a “significant majority of cases, it was likely RBS’s actions did not result in material financial distress”. This is unwelcome publicity, which will disturb Ross McEwan, who rumour has it may be a candidate to become CEO of CBA in Australia. RBS’S head of commercial and private banking Alison Rose is a favoured contender to replace McEwan if he goes.


Sports Direct’s AGM was a feisty affair with Chairman Keith Hellawell just about beating the hangman 53-47% to remain in situ, saved in essence by Schroder’s vote!  I won’t be holding my breath but Mike Ashley, who did a ‘no-show’ for the meeting, presumably having done his maths, would be well advised to listen to his main shareholders and to the importance of good corporate governance, if he wants to maintain his share piece momentum – up from 287p to 393p in the last 3 months. Jaguar Rover followed in the footsteps of Volvo, in announcing that all cars manufactured would be electric by 2020. BMW followed suit but said not until 2025 – twelve models electric and thirteen hybrid. BMW currently manufacture about 1.9 million cars annually – 338k in the UK (minis). Google and Apple are under fire from the EU on the unacceptable level of taxation currently paid.  Google is also fighting an E2.2 billion fine for monopoly abuse. Provident Financial’s problems are still manifesting themselves.  It is attempting to rejig its sale force and debt collection routine.  This will take time to restore investor confidence – share were down another 7% this week.  The Sunday Times tells us that Carl Svanberg’s time as chairman of BP for the last seven stormy years is all but up – maybe next May. The possible replacement could be either HSBC’S Douglas Flint or BG’S Helge Lund.

In closing how sad to see an iconic PR company such as Bell Pottinger virtually collapse from a totally unnecessary badly run business in South Africa, tainted with racism comments. Lord Tim Bell has not been well of late. Sad to see his and Piers Pottinger’s dynasty go up in a puff of smoke. What was James Henderson doing? We all want to know.



UK Companies posting, results this week – Monday – AB Foods, John Laing, Abcam, Christie Group, EKF Diagnostics, Tuesday – Ashtead, Futura Medical, Hilton Foods, JD Sports, Vernalis, Wednesday – Galliford Try, Soco International, Alliance Pharma, Dunelm, Just Group, Thursday – NEXT, Booker, Ophir Energy, Haynes Publishing Wm Morrison, SQS Software, Friday – JD Wetherspoon, Investec

US companies posting interim results this week – Thursday – Cisco Systems, Oracle

Economic data due this week – Tuesday – UK Inflation, Wednesday – UK PPI & Employment data, Thursday – UK Retail Sales, MPC Meeting, US CPI and Initial Jobless Claims, Friday – BOE Quarterly bulletin.


 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