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,
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