Category Archives: Daily Fayre

POST-BUDGET – ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT!

It wasn’t an inspirational Budget! It was in character as to what one might expect from Philip Hammond – a real ‘Steady Eddie’ who needs to cut the deficit and worry about the possible cost of BREXIT. The main beneficiaries were the NHS (£10 billion over 5 years), house building, though stamp duty relief up to £300k is not what is required apart from the middle-classes we need affordable housing or council housing. Apart from that it was a bit of tinkering here and there. The OBR downgraded GDP for the next few years – 2017 2% to 1.5%, 2018 1.6% to 1.4%, 2019 1.7% to 1.3% and 2020 estimated at 1.3%. This could cost the exchequer £20 billion in terms of tax revenues. There was a few quid for technology. There was nothing for savers – gone are the days of the Osborne ‘goodie bags’ – ISAS, property ISAS and savings allowances.

 

So at 3.20pm the Main UK index is up 35 points at 7445. Gilt yields are unchanged. The Pound is a smidgen firmer at $1.3270 against the Greenback. The stand-out performers are Shire +4.5%, Reckitt Benckiser +3%, HSBC +2%. House builders have reacted adversely to the very neutral Budget help to building – Persimmon -2%, Berkeley -3%, Bovis -1%. Thos Cook had a shocker on poor numbers – down 8.5%. Conversely of smaller companies Quiz Clothing Group posted a 32% increase in profitability – shares up 3.65% having been up 5.5% at the opening. The DOW is 28 points easier ahead of Thanksgiving in sepulchral trading conditions.

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TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday, 22nd November 2017

 

 

We five looked out over the moor
At rough hills blurred with haze, and a still sea:
Our tragic day, bountiful from the first.

We would spend it by the lily lake
(High in a fold beyond the farthest ridge),
Following the cart-track till it faded out.

The time of berries and bell-heather;
Yet all that morning nobody went by
But shepherds and one old man carting turfs.

We were in love: he with her, she with him,
And I, the youngest one, the odd man out,
As deep in love with a yet nameless muse.

No cloud; larks and heath-butterflies,
And herons undisturbed fishing the streams;
A slow cool breeze that hardly stirred the grass.

When we hurried down the rocky slope,
A flock of ewes galloping off in terror,
There shone the waterlilies, yellow and white.

Deep water and a shelving bank.
Off went our clothes and in we went, all five,
Diving like trout between the lily groves.

The basket had been nobly filled:
Wine and fresh rolls, chicken and pineapple—
Our braggadocio under threat of war.

The fire on which we boiled our kettle
We fed with ling and rotten blackthorn root;
And the coffee tasted memorably of peat.

Two of us might stray off together
But never less than three kept by the fire,
Focus of our uncertain destinies.

We spoke little, our minds in tune—
A sigh or laugh would settle any theme;
The sun so hot it made the rocks quiver.

But when it rolled down level with us,
Four pairs of eyes sought mine as if appealing
For a blind-fate-aversive afterword:—

‘Do you remember the lily lake?
We were all there, all five of us in love,
Not one yet killed, widowed or broken-hearted.”

 

 

Robert Graves – poet & playwright – 1895-1985

 

 

The jubilation in Harare seen on TV last night should have warmed the cockles of most peoples’ hearts. It was good see that geriatric despotic old buzzard, Robert Mugabe finally booted in to the long grass after 37 years of tyranny. I am amazed he is not going to be charged for crimes against humanity. This coup will only have been successful if there are free elections with any tampering to follow very quickly. Otherwise don’t be surprised if a Mugabe clone rises like a phoenix from the ashes. Zanu is Zanu – always has been always will be. To expect an immediate change in culture without an election could be folly!

 

I nearly had cardiac arrest following Fulham’s visit to play Sheffield United. Having been comfortable with a 2-5 lead with 15 minutes to go, the ‘Men in White’ did all in their power to not only draw the game but could have ended up losing it. They won 4-5!

 

It’s Budget Day in the UK and for most people on the other side of the Pound; they are getting geared up for Thanksgiving tomorrow with Black Friday to follow. Unless Philip Hammond pulls a few unexpected rabbits out of the hat, I don’t expect markets to move measurably.

 

Mr Hammond is not the most popular of Chancellors in living memory. He is an awkward ‘remainer’ who also believes in fiscal profligacy. So personally I will be every surprised if this is a block-buster budget. These days there are rarely many surprises in the Budget. Housing and public sector pay will receive special attention. Gimmicky innovations like driverless cars will be supported and schools should get about £200m for special circumstances re mathematics and for career development. There will also be a business rate review. However the ‘gung-ho’ gay-abandon infrastructure spending that we would all like to see on hospitals, schools, roads and HS3, I think you can forget. Top of ‘Phil’s’ pops is putting money away for a rainy day for BREXIT gyrations and pairing down the budget deficit. Even though ‘remainers’ will have been forlorn that Manufacturing posted its best month in October since 1975, despite a truly awful outlook for the economy drawn up for the CBI by PWC, this figure will doubtless not have clipped their wings. The CBI really has nailed its flag to the mast as ‘REMAIN’S’ standard bearer. Carolyn Fairbairn needs to understand we are leaving, as Adam Marshall of the BCC fully understands.

 

Yesterday saw all the European bourses put on some good gains; London’s main index was the least impressive adding 26 points at 7311. But with Pound relatively strong at $1.32 and change, Dollar related stocks would justifiably been relatively unimpressed. Imperial Brands had a run on the rails – +3.5%. Babcock International and Melrose underwhelmed their acolytes losing 5% each. Germany’s DAX did not have a care in the World. On the Street of Dreams investors were dreaming of Thanksgiving with plenty of Turkey, pecan pie all washed down with a decent Chardonnay with the prospect of Black Friday and a visit to the shopping malls to follow. Tech had a good day with Apple purring in adding another 1.8%. There were good performances from Home Depot, McDonald’s and Old Blue! New York’s main bourses closed as follows – DOW +0.69%, S&P +0.65%, NASDAQ +1.06%. Asia hung on to Wall Street’s improved sentiment and cracked on as follows – ASX +0.4%, Shanghai +0.6%, Hang Seng +0.6% and the NIKKEI +0.5%.

 

Today London’s main index is 20 points to the good at 7430 at 9.30am. There have been a few company results. Sage pleased its acolytes. Thos Cook did not and the shares fell 9.8% having at one point being down 13%. Quiz Clothing Group posted a 32% increase in EBITDA and the shares rallied 5.5%

 

UK companies posting results this coming week – Wednesday – Euromoney, Sage, Thos Cook, Countryside, Thursday – Majestic Wine, M&B, Severn Trent, Worldwide Healthcare Trust, CMC Markets, Paragon Group, Rotork, Centrica, Domino’s Pizza,

Economic data due this coming week – Wednesday – UK BUDGET, FED minutes, Thursday – UK GDP estimates, Friday – Nationwide House prices, UK High Street Lending, US Composite PMI

 

 

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

Markets have been over-concerned with the content of tomorrow’s budget. Hammond has been given more advice, particularly by those who would like his job about being bold and adventurous – sick and tired of austerity – however the poor fellow has little if any room to manoeuvre, if the Chancellor wants to be fiscally prudent. So guessing the content seems a fruitless exercise. He has to balance the need for spending on infrastructure for housing, the NHS and Education whilst at the same time being cognoscente of the very tricky and sensitive negotiations with the EU, which could cost £40 billion.  That settlement figure won’t be popular with a faction of the Tories. Philip Hammond is mindful that the country knows he is a ‘remainer’ but he has to deliver BREXIT and placate the services sector and the City, in attempting to do a decent job for them. 

There is also the German political minefield to traverse. The uncertainty seems to have been dismissed out of hand by investors, but the EU/UK negotiations look fraught with uncertainty, irritation and bile. Let’s deal with the DAX – caution has been thrown to the wind – up 0.9% at 4.05pm. The FTSE 100 has added 26 points at 7415.  The DOW is up 0.75%! So equities are in good shape today and tomorrow?; well superficially there seems very little to upset the applecart ahead of Black Friday.

 

This is how the companies that reported today fared. Again there is no hiding place for those operators that do not deliver. Babcock International and Melrose both down 5% (the latter was down 7% early doors). AO World eased by 1%.  Kingfisher turned around a 1% loss to a 1% gain on the session. Compass failed to pass muster (-3%) but a new CEO is being installed. The Yellow Jersey on the day goes to Dame Carolyn McCall’s easyJet, in her valedictory presentation of numbers, which posted a 17% drop in profits but good traffic numbers, which alleviated any negative thoughts – shares up 6% on the day!

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 21st November 201

“O Love, be fed with apples while you may,
And feel the sun and go in royal array,
A smiling innocent on the heavenly causeway,

Though in what listening horror for the cry
That soars in outer blackness dismally,
The dumb blind beast, the paranoiac fury:

Be warm, enjoy the season, lift your head,
Exquisite in the pulse of tainted blood,
That shivering glory not to be despised.

Take your delight in momentariness,
Walk between dark and dark—a shining space
With the grave’s narrowness, though not its peace.”

 

Robert Graves – poet & playwright – 1895-1985

 

One swallow does not make a summer!  However one has to be amazed at the fortitude shown by investors in response to Angela Merkel being unable to form a coalition government after two months, which could result in another General Election.  The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Chancellor Merkel has nowhere near enough guaranteed support to lead the CDU in another election. The DAX, which admittedly has only 30 stocks, which is hardly a barometer of the Germany economy, eased by 0.5% circa at the opening yesterday.  However by the close it was 0.50% in surplus. The Euro, after a few early gyrations only fell by 0.4% against the Dollar and 0.6% against Sterling.  This represents an astonishing level of calm towards quite a testing period of instability.  Germany without a Government exposes cracks in the EU’s framework, as well as political instability in the strongest member country within the EU.  France has also been somnolent in recent weeks as Macron grapples with Union problems in France.

 

‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ this period of inertia is bad for the BREXIT negotiations.  It just leaves Barnier in an unenviable position of just playing ‘Stonewall-Jackson’ and sticking to the script of no concessions of any shape size or description, whilst the main ‘dramatis personae’ are otherwise disposed.  This could damage all three parties irrevocably.  Sending out the wrong message could lead to ‘no-deal.’ Whatever Barnier or his cohorts say, this would be bad news for one and all. If that is what the EU wants, it would be better for one and all that we stopped playing charades and made the best of our lives. M Barnier says he is up for an exciting and imaginative trade deal, when the requisite boxes have been ticked. Let’s take him at his word. The British public will not be best pleased with PM May if she agrees to a £40 billion divorce package if the UK Government has nothing to show for its efforts in terms of a trade deal.

 

The Times’s Rachel Sylvester tells us that Jeremy Corbyn received a warmer welcome than PM May at the CBI Conference. God help us if that is true. Labour is financially innumerate and economically illiterate! Shows you how bad matters are for the Government.

 

Not surprisingly Canary Wharf has lost two regulators – The European Medicines Agency to Amsterdam and the European Banking Authority to Paris. In the case of the latter I sincerely hope it manages to improve on its totally hopeless bank stress tests. The UK Government is supposed to pay for this exercise. I hope it doesn’t. Any payment should be part of the trade negotiations.

 

The question of Eurex and Deutsche Boerse raining on London’s parade for clearing business, particularly derivatives, is more of a concern. The support of the ‘hob-nailed-boot-brigade’ – alias HSBC, BBVA, JP Morgan, Citibank and Deutsche provides real clout to reclaim Euro based deals. It will of course put the cost of clearing up and make the exercise less safe than it was. The US has warned the EU authorities that they may claim back their business. There’s now’t as stubborn as those obsessed with pride and resentment.

 

Yesterday markets were almost exclusively focused on Germany’s political problems and Merkel’s inability to form a coalition, which could lead to another election. Initially the DAX shed 0.5% and the Euro came marginally under pressure. Ironically the DAX did end the session 0.5% to the good. Investors remain contrary and fickle. The FTSE finished up 8 points at 7389. Cyclicals rebounded a tad but there were few outstanding or poor performances. Perhaps TalkTalk falling 4.5% is worthy of mention.

 

 

Despite the frustration of still not having any clarification over tax changes, the Street of Dreams pushed on cautiously ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday which begins on Thursday. This period of course encompasses Black Friday and Cyber Monday and will provide a reasonable litmus test as to the robustness of the US economy. Asia took hold of the bit on the back of New York’s marginally improved sentiment – The ASX closed 0.3% to the good and the NIKKEI finished the session up 0.7%. Hong Kong was metaphorically on fire – up 1.9% as we head to the close with Shanghai gathering in 0.5%.

 

This morning in London we have had a slew of earnings – some pleasing some disappointing. Focusrite put its best foot forward as did easyJet – both up 5%. However easyJet may have cost control issues in the next year which will be left to Dame Carolyn McCall’s successor, Johan Lundgren ex Tui Travel – to sort out. Despite all its corporate governance issues, how extraordinary that Uber should agree a deal to buy 24k Volvo cars starting to use them in 2019. Clearly they are attempting to embrace a new culture that will take time to catch on.

 

 

 UK companies posting results this coming week – Tuesday – Babcock International, Halma, AO World, Big Yellow Group, Johnson Matthey, Homeserve, Aggreko, Focusrite, CYBG, Compass Group, easyJet, Intertek, Kingfisher, Melrose, Cineworld,  Wednesday – Euromoney, Sage, Thos Cook, Countryside, Thursday – Majestic Wine, M&B, Severn Trent, Worldwide Healthcare Trust, CMC Markets, Paragon Group, Rotork, Centrica, Domino’s Pizza,

 

US Companies posting interim results this coming week – Tuesday – Analog Devices, Chico’s FAS, Campbell Soups, Hormel Foods, Dollar Tree

 

Economic data due this coming week – Tuesday – UK PSBR, Wednesday – UK BUDGET, FED minutes, Thursday – UK GDP estimates, Friday – Nationwide House prices, UK High Street Lending, US Composite PMI

 

 

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 – Cricket, EU, Labour’s social media & markets

 

TODAY’S FAYRE – Sunday, 19th November 2017

“In the licorice fields at Pontefract

My love and I did meet

And many a burdened licorice bush

Was blooming round our feet;

Red hair she had and golden skin,

Her sulky lips were shaped for sin,

Her sturdy legs were flannel -slack’d.

The strongest legs in Pontefract.

 

The light and dangling licorice flowers

Gave off the sweetest smells;

From various black Victorian towers

The Sunday evening bells

Came pealing over dales and hills

And tanneries and silent mills

And lowly streets where country stops

And little shuttered corner shops.

 

She cast her blazing eyes on me

And plucked a licorice leaf;

I was her captive slave and she

My red-haired robber chief.

Oh love! For love I could not speak,

It left me winded, wilting, weak

And held in brown arms strong and bare

And wound with flaming ropes of hair.

Ah well……….. nothing like this seems to happen in the South Hams……”

 

 

Sir John Betjeman – Poet Laureate – 1906-1984

 

I am so very much looking forward to the first ‘Ashes’ test match at the ‘Gabba’ starting next Thursday.  I am having my first sortie with BT Sport. I always swore I would never install it until BT provided a proper broadband and internet service across the country.  The lure of an Ashes series was far too potent for me to get left behind. My weakness to the attraction of test cricket was pathetically exposed.

I must confess I am worried about the commentary.  Though both very knowledgeable, Michael Vaughan and Graeme Swann are not my favourites – both arrogance personified. I can take any amount of Geoffrey Boycott. Ricky Ponting is a legend and Alison Mitchell grows in stature every game. Kevin Pietersen was an astonishing talent, lost to England before his time, but I can certainly survive without him as a commentator- not a character I warm to! I will just have to cope!

I was absolutely astonished to hear that the Labour Party, having had unprecedented success attracting members through the use of persuasive and sometimes poisonous social media, has had schools in its sights.  Though children are not eligible to vote until they are eighteen, Momentum and the more strident wings of socialism, have seen 16 year olds as easy prey, using the left-wing NUT to woo support.  This is a very clever and unscrupulous marketing ploy, as sweet nothings are pumped into these youths’ earholes to considerable effect, as they will no doubt dive head-long into a vortex of economic despair under an economically illiterate and innumerate Labour Government, elected by an understandably bitter youth, which see little hope or chance of owning a home or earning a decent salary.  Little do they know it could be very much worse! Unemployment is at its lowest for 42 years!

 

It is probably me but I think Donald Tusk, despite appearing to speak perfect English, may still have problems understanding it idiomatically. He needs to comprehend that it takes two parties to negotiate.  Everyone understands that the UK served notice to leave and that it’s Government is very weak and the EU probably has a mandate from its 27 members to concede nothing to the UK. With Merkel, currently politically very week and the chirpy Macron acting as omnipotent standard bearers, they clearly seem in no mood to be accommodating. Tusk and Juncker need to learn some diplomatic skills and stop briefing against the UK or dictating to Davis & Co through the media. It is unhelpful. For the UK to walk away from negotiations could be unnecessarily harmful to all parties. However the UK needs to make a decision, as to whether it is being just trifled with, with the EU having no intention of negotiating.  No point Tusk and his cohorts banging on about a divorce settlement, if the goodwill is not there to negotiate a sensible trade deal!

 

There was plenty of UK data to peruse over the last week – some of it good, much of it disappointing. Superficially solid UK employment data was posted on Tuesday. However concern was expressed that wage inflation at 2.2% languishes below inflation which seems to have steadied at 3%, with food a stand-out issue coming in at 3.5%. This of course means the consumer has less disposable income and this above all else probably contributed to a further drop in retail sales. Retail sales have fallen 0.3% since October 2016.However they were up 0.3% in October this year, but this gain was insufficient to pale back the 0.7% drop from August to September. Sales in the High Street fell 5.2% in October. How much longer the High Street can compete with Amazon and on-line services remains to be see, the differential in cost being astronomical? On-line sales in the UK are growing all the time and now account for 24% of total sales. All eyes will be pealed towards Black Friday, which starts on 24th November 2017.  Based on the current retail activity, in my opinion and it is a humble one, there is absolutely no case for another increase in interest rates in the foreseeable future. Deputy Governor of the BOE, Sir Jon Cunliffe, speaking in Oxford last week would appear to be of that opinion.

 

Global equity markets had a small monkey on their back for much of the week. On the Street of Dreams it was the lack of progress on the well-chronicled Trump tax plans that dampened the mood in beautiful downtown Manhattan.  Market inertia was further clouded by Robert Meuller subpoenaing members of Trump’s administration on the probe into Russia’s possible interference of US Presidential election. The downbeat mood on Wall Street was alleviated periodically by really stellar interim results from the likes of Walmart – up 10% in value after Thursday’s brilliant effort and Cisco Systems, which bounced by over 5% on their better than expected performance. Abercrombie & Fitch really surprised its acolytes on Friday with its shares rising like a grilse – up 23%, with Foot Locker doing much the same +28%.  However both brands are still feeling pressure from the great Retail God – AMAZON!

As previously mentioned retail in the UK remains in the doldrums and the fact that wage inflation is stagnant may not bode that well for growth and retail stocks. On Thursday Walmart’s subsidiary ASDA posted slightly disappointing sales, which were down from the previous quarter – a drop from 1.8% in like for like sales in the previous quarter to 1.1% in the quarter ending end of September. Roger Burnley has taken over from Sean Clarke as CEO, in the hope that ASDA’S fortunes will improve.   However it should not be forgotten that life styles in the UK are changing all the time.  People care rather less for sartorial elegance. No offence to the fairer sex as they attempt to turn themselves out attractively, if cheaply.  Blokes remain largely unshaven and they are entirely happy in jeans, bobby socks sneakers and a t-shirt. They would rather spend their money on entertainment and holidays.  So as long as the service sector remains buoyant, GDP should not feel the wheels of pain across its back. Last week ITV suffered with a slightly dispiriting drop in sales. Carillion share price was smashed by 48% on Friday, thanks to another profits warning and excessive debt. Mining shares were out of favour as were utilities and some retail emporiums. House builders had some support and Royal Mail disappointed.  Unless this company becomes a takeover target, it is hard to see where the growth comes from. Over the last week the S&P fell just a smidgen below the Plimsoll line – -0.02%; the FTSE lightened up by 0.7%, European bourses by an average of 1.28% and the NIKKEI by 1.25%.

Here in Old Blighty last week there were two very interesting corporate finance situations developing.  Firstly the spat between Xavier Rolet the departing CEO of the LSE and its chairman Donald Brydon and other members of the board was brought in the public domain by Sir Christopher Hohn, CEO of Childrens’ Trust, which owns 5% of the LSE.  He, like many others was surprised, disappointed and annoyed by Rolet’s notice to leave which was served with indecent haste.  Rolet may be autocratic but he is a decision market and since his arrival nearly 9 years ago the share price has risen from $4 to £37. Clearly a situation has developed, which many of us are not privy to. Hohn has called a meeting with a view to having Brydon replaced and Rolet reinstated.

With Culture Secretary Karen Bradley sitting for an indecently long period on 21st Century’s request to buy the remaining 61% of Sky for £11 billion+, either Rupert Murdoch has become frustrated and bored or he is being playful by stirring the media pot. All of a sudden Comcast, which owns the NBC and Universal studios and Verizon have expressed interest in picking up assets from 21st Century or Sky itself.  There is a bit of a ‘dog in the manger’ attitude being expressed by Murdoch. Sky’s shares were up 4.1% and 21st Century by 6.24%.

 

I will leave the vagaries of the Budget on Wednesday to much greater luminaries than me.  Suffice to say that Chancellor Hammond needs a big bold show – housing (big time) education and NHS.  I fear because of the deficit, he may disappoint. Some bold infrastructure borrowing would send out the right message. Finally will Black Friday expose the weakness in the high street as we head for Christmas?

 

UK companies posting results this coming week – Monday – William Hill, Mitie, Tuesday – Babcock International, Halma, AO World, Big Yellow Group, Johnson Matthey, Homeserve, Aggreko, Focusrite, CYBG, Compass Group, easyJet, Intertek, Kingfisher, Melrose, Cineworld,  Wednesday – Euromoney, Sage, Thos Cook, Countryside, Thursday – Majestic Wine, M&B, Severn Trent, Worldwide Healthcare Trust, CMC Markets, Paragon Group, Rotork, Centrica, Domino’s Pizza,

US Companies posting interim results this coming week – Monday – Agilent, Tuesday – Analog Devices, Chico’s FAS, Campbell Soups, Hormel Foods, Dollar Tree

Economic data due this coming week –Monday – Rightmove House prices, Tuesday – UK PSBR, Wednesday – UK BUDGET, FED minutes, Thursday – UK GDP estimates, Friday – Nationwide House prices, UK High Street Lending, US Composite PMI

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday, 15th November 2017

“Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing,

And like enough thou knowst thy estimate.

The Charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;

My bonds in thee are all determinate.

For how do I hold thee but by thy granting,

And for that riches where is my deserving?

The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,

And so my patent back again is swerving.

Thy self thou gav’st, thy own worth then not knowing,

Or me, to whom thou gav’st it, else mistaking,

So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,

Comes home again, on better judgement making.

Thus have I had thee as a dream doth flatter:

In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.

 

William Shakespeare – playwright & poet – 1564-1616

 

 

The celebrated advocate Lord Jeremy Hutchinson died very sadly last Monday, after a truly great and memorable life aged 102. Those with experience in criminal law will tell you that he was probably the most charming, lucid and brilliantly effective defence barrister to grace the Old Bailey and any other criminal court he appeared in.  During his illustrious career he defended George Blake and Horace Vassell the UK’s most notorious spies, Howard Marks, the drug smuggler, John Profumo, Christine Keeler and the publishers of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover.’ I can thoroughly recommend a book on his professional life – Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories by Thomas Grant. I could not put it down!  He even had time to marry actress Peggy Ashcroft – his first wife!

 

The Street of Dreams declined yesterday as General Electric received another larruping for the second consecutive day. A drop in crude prices hit energy shares quite sharply as well. The Dow fell 30 points, or 0.13%, to 23,409, the S&P 500 lost six points, or 0.23%, to 2,579 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 20 points, or 0.29%, to 6,738.

 

GE lost 5.9% in the largest daily volume in two years as investors wondered if a massive overhaul of the company by new chief executive John Flannery will be enough to revive the industrial conglomerate. Exxon Mobil fell 0.8% and ConocoPhillips was down 2.5%, while the energy sector fell 1.5%, the most in more than four months. Newfield Exploration was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, tumbling 7.1%. Range Resources lost 6.6%.

 

Utilities and consumer staples were the best performers on the day. Utilities rose 1.2%. Elsewhere Advance Auto Parts soared 16.3% after it affirmed its full-year profit forecast and beat quarterly profit estimates. Other big retailers failed to impress traders. TJX Cos. and Marshalls, fell 4% after it reported revenue and earnings that missed analysts’ estimates. Dick’s Sporting Goods slid 2.8% after the retailer reported a solid quarter but also said its earnings per share could drop as much as 20% next year.

 

Yesterday the FTSE finished unchanged at 7414, thanks in the main to Tesco’s share price rallying 6.4%, after news was posted by the CMA expressed its views that the £3.7 billion purchase of Booker (+6.8%) would not adversely affect the main supermarkets’ over all business plans. Needless to say the opposition profoundly disagreed and were amazed that the authorities nodded the deal through. The likes of Spar, Betway, Bidfood, Confex and Sugro also objected as Tesco with 3k outlets and Booker with 5k smaller outlets were handed an unfair advantage. This deal gives credence to the opportunity to this major supplier providing goods to 125k independent outlets and 468k restaurants. The other company that kept the FTSE above the Plimsoll line was Vodafone’s strong organic sales performance which saw its share price rise just over 5%. Miners and ITV were the main laggards.

 

There were another slew of earnings this morning. Barratt posted an 8% rise in sales but shares were a down a tad – travelled and arrived. TalkTalk posted a loss of £75 million for the last trading period– shares were trashed down 10%. Conversely Card Factory leapt by almost 10% before settling at just up 4.4%. First half sales beat expectations. Airbus announced the sale of 400 jets to an investment company to be sold on to 4 package airlines valued at $49 billion. However the deal may be heavily discounted.

 

Despite the fact that Japan’s GDP continues to blaze the trail at 1.5%, Asian markets saw profit takers with the dropping price of oil exacerbating the fall in equity markets. Stocks were down today in morning session as cautious sentiment from the last session continued, with energy-related plays in the region falling on weakening oil prices.

 

Japan’s Nikkei 225 traded 1.57% lower on the back of five consecutive negative sessions. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi was off 0.3% in the morning session. Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.58%, extending losses made in the last session.

 

Greater China markets came under slight pressure with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index off 0.70%. Mainland markets were also lower. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.61% and the Shenzhen Composite slipped 0.41%.

 

The UK unemployment rate remained at a 42-year low in the quarter to September, but the number of people in work fell for the first time in a year, new figures have shown.

The number of jobless people fell by 59,000 from the previous quarter to 1.44 million in the three months to August, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Unemployment was unchanged from the 4.3% recorded in the previous month, which was the lowest on record since 1975

 

 

UK companies posting results this coming week  – Wednesday – Fenner, Avon Rubber, Game Digital, Barratt Development, Crest Nicholson, Premier Foods, TalkTalk, Thursday – 3iii Group, Keller, Manchester United, British Land, Qinetiq, Young’s Brewery, Royal Mail, Close Brothers, Ted Baker Friday – Kier Group

 

US Companies posting interim results this coming week – Monday – Tyson Foods, Tuesday – TJX, Beazer Homes, Wednesday – Target, L-Brands, Cisco Systems, Thursday – Best Buy, Viacom, Ross Stores, Gap, Wal-Mart, Friday – Foot Locker, Abercrombie & Fitch

 

Economic data due this coming week – Tuesday – UK PPI, Wednesday – UK Average Earnings, UK Unemployment rate, Thursday – UK Retail Sales, Friday – US Housing starts

 

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

Let’s pick the bones out of today’s trading on FTSE 100. The main index is flat at 3.45pm. The Pound is unchanged $1.3115, despite inflation coming in at 3.1%.   Oil is 2% lower.  Miners are the laggards today – BHP Billiton, Rio and Glencore all down 3%.  Oil stocks are easier with BP 1% easier.  The FTSE 100 is only up a short 5% up this year.  It has been the Dollar related stocks that have done well.  The rest have not really performed with much in the way of panache, with retail and utilities looking very sad.

 

It has been a breathtakingly boring session with turnover derisory. Vodafone at last pleased its acolytes adding 5% in value after posting encouraging organic growth. UBM rose like a grilse adding 6%. Tesco was 6% to the good having heard that the CMA have approved a deal to buy Booker (+5.5%). ITV also reported today. The shares were initially up 3% but have ended the session down 2.5%. Of other companies to report today Meggitt was +1.8%, Land Securities -1.6%, UBM is up a massive 6%,. Aveva was plus 2.5% and Aviva +0.5%, BTG +2% and Vesuvius bounced out of the traps gathering in a handy 4%.

 

The DOW, as I write is 100 points lower.

TODAY’S FAYRE

TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 14th November 2017

 

 

“I poke among fallen stones, molehills, the spoil

Left by archaeologists and carelessly sieved.

I am not above ferreting out a small piece

From the foreman’s basket when his back is turned.

One or two of my choicer things were acquired

During what the museum labels call ‘the disturbances

Of 1941’ : you may call it loot,

But I keep no records of who my vendors were-

Goatherds, Johnnies in berets, Neapolitan conscripts

Hot foot out of trouble, dropping a keepsake or two.

I know a good thing, I keep a quiet ear open when

The college body snatchers arrive from Chicago,

Florence, Oxford, discussing periods

And measuring everything. I’ve done business with them:

You will find my anonymous presence in the excavation reports

When you get to ‘Finds locally purchased’.

I know three dozen words of English, enough French

To settle a purchase, and enough Italian

To convince the austere ‘dottore’ he’s made a bargain.

 

As for the past, it means nothing to me but this:

A time when things were made to keep me alive.

You are the ones who go on about it: I survive

By scratching it out with my fingers. I make you laugh

By being obsequious, roguish, battered, in fact

What you like to think of as a typical Arab.

Well, Amr Ibn el-As passed this way

Some thirteen hundred years ago, and we stayed.

I pick over what he did not smash, and you

Pay for the leavings. That is enough for me.

You take them away and put them on your shelves

And for fifty piastres I give you a past to belong to.”

 

 

Anthony Thwaite – poet – 1930-

 

 

An Agatha Christie thriller – ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Branagh himself as the great detective Hercule Poirot, Penélope CruzWillem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Olivia Coleman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp,  Derek Jacobi and Sergei Polunin – what’s not to like?  I saw the 1974 effort starring Peter Ustinov, Mia Farrow, Albert FinneyLauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman, directed by Sydney Lumet.  Fortunately I could not remember the ending! I have to say it matters not a jot whether it be an Ibsen play, portraying Henry V, Richard 111, Hamlet, Wallenger or Poirot, there is no finer Thespian on God’s earth than Kenneth Branagh. His adoring public see all too little of him!

 

 

Last week on the Street of Dreams there were some decent retail results from Macy’s, Nordstrom and finally JC Penney on Friday, whose shares shot up 15%, admittedly from a very low base. Also it would be churlish not to comment that Walt Disney’s shares rose 2.1% despite reporting an earnings and revenue miss late Thursday. Disney also announced it will be making a new “Star Wars” trilogy, as well as developing a live-action TV series tied to the sci-fi classic. The same cannot be said of retail here in the UK, where retail sales on the High Street fell by 5.2% in October. I doubt today’s Inflation numbers will offer much solace to the retailers or consumers – likely to be 3.1%.

 

Yesterday Wall Street gained in morning session, as a sharp decline in General Electric was more than offset by an advance by high dividend-paying sectors including consumer staples and utilities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 17 points, or 0.07%, to 23,440, the S&P 500 gained three points, or 0.10% to 2,585 and the Nasdaq Composite added seven points, or 0.1%, to 6,758. General Electric slashed its dividend by 50% and cut its profit forecast while unveiling a plan that narrowed its focus on aviation, power and healthcare. Shares of the industrial conglomerate fell 7.2% after touching a more than five-year low of $18.75. Shares of regional banks rose after reports that a bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers reached a tentative agreement to ease some regulations on the sector. Investors are also closely tracking developments around the tax bill after US Senate Republicans last week unveiled a new plan that differed from the House of Representatives’ version.

Toymaker Mattel jumped 20.7% after a report that rival Hasbro made an approach to acquire the company. Hasbro rose 5.9%. Qualcomm gained 3.0% after the chipmaker rejected rival Broadcom’s $103-billion takeover bid, saying the offer “dramatically” undervalued the company.

 

Yesterday the FTSE yielded a modest 17 points yesterday. There was a decent result from Taylor Wimpey and Ladbrokes Coral at last seems to be making some progress. This morning markets attempted to digest some Chinese data – industrial production +6.8% and retail sales in October +10%. However Chinese bourses seemed somewhat underwhelmed – The Shanghai Composite and the Hang Seng were down 0.5% and 0.1% respectively. The NIKKEI closed flat and the ASX was easier by 0.9%.

 

There were a slew of earnings this morning. Vodafone pleased its acolytes with modest organic growth her and more to the point in Germany. Operating profits were up 35% at £2 billion for the half year on £23.1 billion of revenue. Pre-tax profits came in at £1.2 billion. Until this morning the shares have done nothing in the last year hovering around 216p – up 3.9% this morning post results. ITV initially responded to reasonable trading across the spectrum of its facilities by adding 3%, but come 9.00am the shares were down 2%. Market needs to know more about its plans but until Dame Carolyn McCall arrives in January we may have to wait. Does Liberty Media wait in the wings to pounce?

The CMA posted good news this morning that it saw no reason why Tesco should not buy Booker for £3.7 billion. The deal is likely to go through. It felt prices would not go up as a result of this merger. Of the other companies that posted numbers today they performed as follows – TESCO & BOOKER both +4%, Land Secs +1%, Vesuvius +2.5%, Meggitt +0.25%, BOVIS +2%, UBM +1%, BTG +1.5%. At 9.20am the FTSE was up 10 points at 7422.

 

UK companies posting results this coming week  – Tuesday – Cobham, Vodafone, Speedy-Hire, DCC, Electrocomponents, Aveva, McCarthy & Stone, Bovis Homes, ITV, Wednesday – Fenner, Avon Rubber, Game Digital, Barratt Development, Crest Nicholson, Premier Foods, TalkTalk, Thursday – 3iii Group, Keller, Manchester United, British Land, Qinetiq, Young’s Brewery, Royal Mail, Close Brothers, Ted Baker Friday – Kier Group

 

US Companies posting interim results this coming week – Tuesday – TJX, Beazer Homes, Wednesday – Target, L-Brands, Cisco Systems, Thursday – Best Buy, Viacom, Ross Stores, Gap, Wal-Mart, Friday – Foot Locker, Abercrombie & Fitch

 

Economic data due this coming week – Tuesday – UK PPI, Wednesday – UK Average Earnings, UK Unemployment rate, Thursday – UK Retail Sales, Friday – US Housing starts

 

 

David Buik

Market Commentator – Panmure Gordon & Co

 

  +44 (0)20 7886 2775

Mobile – 0044 7788 144 877

 

 

Panmure Gordon & Co

One New Change | London | EC4M 9AF 

TODAY’S FAYRE

 

TODAY’S FAYRE – Sunday, 12th November 2017

“ALONG the field as we came by
A year ago, my love and I,
The aspen over stile and stone
Was talking to itself alone.
‘Oh who are these that kiss and pass?
A country lover and his lass;
Two lovers looking to be wed;
And time shall put them both to bed,
But she shall lie with earth above,
And he beside another love.’

And sure enough beneath the tree
There walks another love with me,
And overhead the aspen heaves
Its rainy-sounding silver leaves;
And I spell nothing in their stir,
But now perhaps they speak to her,
And plain for her to understand
They talk about a time at hand
When I shall sleep with clover clad,
And she beside another lad.”

 

AE Housman – poet – 1859-1936

 

I must say, considering the aristocratic as well as intellectually arrogance of Michel Barnier, I think David Davis has behaved with great dignity, considering the EU’S Chief negotiator appears to treat him disdainfully like a 5-year Old. With Merkel tied up domestically with her complicated political spider’s web, which she must untangle to form a Government and the ‘Little Corporal’ hell-bent on establishing himself with France’s unrealistic labour laws, Barnier, egged on by the tiresome Juncker and the high-octane and verbose Verhofstadt, appears unscripted, as he makes his demands on the UK, rather than attempting to negotiate with a degree of charm, which after all is what French people are supposed to major in.


The contemptable manner Barnier told Davis on Friday night that he had two weeks to get his act together over the divorce settlement figure and the tricky N Ireland problem or there would be no trade talks before the New Year, was over-stepping his pay-grade. To use an analogy, his comments remind me of Robert Redfern talking to Paul Newman in the film ‘Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid’ when he turned to look at his pursuers using the immortal words ‘who are these guys?’


I know the UK served notice to leave. I am told the EU, outwardly, could not give a tinker’s damn whether the UK’s economy collapses or not, even though they should, as like it or not, the UK’s departure will adversely affect the EU economically, if not handled pragmatically.  Perhaps Barnier has instructions to concede or negotiate nothing! Maybe it’s all a charade and brinkmanship will prevail until 29th March 2019, when all will be agreed or revealed. That’s a very dangerous game and I am less than convinced that Mrs May should participate in charades, considering the parlour state her government is in!

There are so many people out there, desperate to subvert the democratic process, instead of attempting to make the decision to leave work for all. The world of business, economics and politics copes well with good news and bad news, but uncertainty and indecision are an anathema! There were signs of good sense prevailing when it appeared that a 2-year transition period seemed acceptable to both sides. Perhaps it is time that the world of business and particularly its leaders ‘grabbed hold of the bit’ and set their respective stalls out, leaving the politicians to fester over much ado about nothing!

It all sounds very feasible, but sadly life in Westminster seems to becoming more complicated with an excess of political skulduggery to muddy the waters for PM Theresa May and her government – many of whom seem hell-bent on committing hari-kari. At present PM May seems incapable of pulling the various factions in her government together in to a cohesive and effective unit. 

 

Global equity markets look quite frothy and in some cases fully valued, but we have been saying this for months, However, until the trees have been metaphorically shaken by way of sharp interest rate hikes and the considerable tapering of quantitative easing it hard to see much more than an anaemic correction.   This year the following bourses have made heady gains – DOW 18%, S&P 500 15%, NASDAQ 28%, NIKKEI 18%, Hang Seng 31%, Shanghai Composite 24%, DAX 13%, CAC 10% and the FTSE 100 a parsimonious 4.5%.  It will not be forgotten that the FTSE made significant gains last year post the referendum, when the Pound lost about 15% against the Greenback, which had a positive effect on many of its constituent stocks. This week we have seen signs of anxiety being expressed by investors for varying reasons – Trump’s tax cuts seem to have got stuck in Congress. Asian bourses, particularly the Nikkei have got a little ahead of themselves, resulting in inevitable profit taking.  Last week from its zenith the Nikkei shed 3% towards the end of the week but still finished the week up 0.63%. The S&P 500 was down 0.36%, the FTSE 100 lightened up by 1.68%, much of it due to the weakness in the retail sector, the housing market and to a lesser degree car distribution. Banks and oil stocks were solid, preventing a greater decline in the value of UK stocks. European bourses fell by average of 1.89%, thanks partly to uncertainty over unfinished political business in Germany, France and Spain. Trump’s visit to China would appeared to have gleaned potentially as much as $250 billion of trade between the two countries with companies such as GE, Honeywell, Boeing, Caterpillar etc.  However this news was not reflected in share prices on the Street of Dreams. Oil was up 2.7% in price on the week and gold fell by $9 an ounce to $1275. Bond yields at the longer end of the market have started to creep up, particularly US Treasuries.

 

Here in Old Blighty last week, investors were nervous.  As many stocks are fully valued, when companies fail to deliver investors take every opportunity to vent their spleen and express their disappointment.  On Thursday the following stocks were meted out some severe treatment for failing to pass muster with their numbers – Burberry 9%, Auto Traders -4%, Tullow -5%, Halfords -6%, Inmarsat -7% and National Grid -3.5%.   In years gone by these socks would have eased by a percent or two – not so now! Sainsbury and M&S also posted slightly better than disappointing numbers.  High Street Sales dropped by 5.2% in October and clothes by 7.9%. The week before last NEXT near enough endorsed the current predicament the High Street is in.  There are ‘shorts’ out on a number of these stocks – Debenhams, J Sainsbury, New Look and Next. On line sales are now 24% of retail sales and its share of the market is expanding.

 

On the subject of retail sales, Alibaba reported that sales from Singles’ Day amounted to $25.3 billion, a 40 percent jump from last year’s figures. (The number did not take into account some sales that began earlier in the week in honour of the event.) Additionally, the retailer hit a record $18 billion in just 13 hours on Saturday, eclipsing last year’s record of $17.8 billion in 24 hours. Market research experts say the massive growth is attributed to retailers competing for a share of consumer spending in China’s economy. In comparison, US sales between ‘Thanksgiving’ until Cyber Monday accounted for $12.8 billion in 2016. In 2009, retailer Alibaba turned the day into the country’s version of Black Friday — and eight years later, sales from the Chinese e-commerce’s one-day event has nearly doubled those from Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US combined.

Having failed to consummate the marriage between the LSE and Deutsche Boerse, I always felt that Xavier Rolet served notice to leave as CEO of the LSE with indecent haste. He always told us there was unfinished business.  He had been at the helm of recovery taking the share price for £4 to £37 and change in the eight years he was there and then suddenly ‘boom!’ he’s going.  Obviously Sir Christopher Hohn of Childrens’ Investment Fund, a major minority shareholder, was unhappy with this outcome as were many others. So he is having the drains up and would like to see Chairman Donald Brydon on his way and Xavier Rolet reinstated!  We shall see.

 

The Sunday Times was full of woe this morning – a veritable “Sodom and Gomorrah” re Wall Street being braced for a disorderly BREXIT, with the City of London Corporation’s Catherine Mc Guinness pressing the panic button on declining bank tax revenues. She hears that jobs are threatened as well as financial stability. I think and hope that this is just a bit of sabre-rattling to force an agreement on a transition period. The City is obsessed with ‘Remaining’ and sometimes finds it hard to be objective.  In fairness it is a huge contributor to the exchequer and I think it will remain so, provided good sense prevails.  The US has already warned the EU over moving the clearing operation away from London. If countries want to cut off their noses to spite their faces there is little that can be done. In the same breath we hear that HSBC’S Chairman, Mark Tucker is on the outlook to buy US assets, particularly a credit card operation. Last year HSBC lent £750 million to US credit card customers, £8 billion in Europe and £9 billion in Asia.

 

UK companies posting results this coming week  – Monday – Lonmin, Taylor Wimpey, Senior, Ladbrokes Coral, Dignity, Tuesday – Cobham, Vodafone, Speedy-Hire, DCC, Electrocomponents, Aveva, McCarthy & Stone, Bovis Homes, ITV, Wednesday – Fenner, Avon Rubber, Game Digital, Barratt Development, Crest Nicholson, Thursday – 3iii Group, Keller, Manchester United, British Land, Qinetiq, Young’s Brewery, Royal Mail, Close Brothers, Ted Baker Friday – Kier Group

 

US Companies posting interim results this coming week – Monday – Tyson Foods, Tuesday – TJX, Beazer Homes, Wednesday – L-Brands, Cisco Systems, Thursday – Best Buy, Viacom, Ross Stores, Gap, Friday – Foot Locker, Abercrombie & Fitch

 

Economic data due this coming week – Tuesday – UK PPI, Wednesday – UK Average Earnings, UK Unemployment rate, Thursday – UK Retail Sales, Friday – US Housing starts

 

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

FOR THE FALLEN – LAURENCE BINYON – 1869-1943

“With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.”

Laurence Binyon – poet – 1869-1943