TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday, 6th July 2017

“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing

A flowery band to bind us to the earth,

Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth

Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,

Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways

Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,

Some shape of beauty moves away the pall

From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,

Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon

For simple sheep; and such are daffodils

With the green world they live in; and clear rills

That for themselves a cooling covert make

‘Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,

Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:

And such too is the grandeur of the dooms

We have imagined for the mighty dead;

All lovely tales that we have heard or read:

An endless fountain of immortal drink,

Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.”


John Keats– poet – 1795-1821


I never thought there would ever be a time or an issue that I would find myself in wholesale agreement with J-C Juncker. Well I found one on Tuesday, when he castigated MEPS for not taking their duties seriously when only 30 turned up to ratify business. The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker launched a bitter attack on them, standing up in an almost empty chamber in Strasbourg, he denounced the body as “ridiculous, totally ridiculous”. He went on to say that their action proved that the parliament was “not serious”. Mr Juncker, I am sorry to have to remind you that the EU is a dysfunctional anachronism that simply does not work.  Above all else I like to dream as well, for a perfect Utopia, but it will never be found in Strasbourg or Brussels.


I just love the way Frankfurt is gearing up for an assault of UK’S international bankers to re-house them in the historic town of Frankfurt – total population of 750k against London’s 12 million with tax concessions and bribes for ‘risk taking’ institutions, which of course can easily be reversed. It looks as though Nomura, Daiwa and Sumitomo Mitsui have been sucked in. Apparently some US banks are giving a move to Frankfurt serious consideration. No one seems to have thought about infrastructure issues, which suggest that a flight to Frankfurt post BREXIT may only be a trickle!


Today is the day I have been waiting for months – the start of the Lord’s Test Match – England v South Africa. As Fred Astaire sang all those years ago before even I was a twinkle in my father’s eye to Irving Berlin’s score of ‘Cheek to Cheek!’ back in 1935 – “ Heaven, I’m in heaven, And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak!”


Whilst I was on my way to a funeral, I listened intently to BBC Radio-5 Live’s Emma Barnett interview Lord Chris Patten – What a full life! – MP for Bath, Cabinet Minister, Conservative Party Chairman, EU Commissioner, Last Governor in Hong Kong, PR Advisor to Pope Francis, passionate European and chairman of BBC Trust. Not a bad CV! If you get a minute please download the conversation (Wednesday 5th July 10.00am) – a guinea a minute – visionary, lucid and clever. Don’t agree with him about BREXIT, but I would say that wouldn’t I?


G20 meeting takes place in Germany this weekend. China needs to step up to the plate to avoid a disastrous outcome to Kim Jong Un’s outrageous jingoistic behaviour. This is SERIOUS. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the first meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin!


Post-Independence Day machinations on Wall Street were hardly going to turn the earth on its axis. However crude prices settled about 4% lower, ending their longest bull run in more than five years, hurt by a stronger dollar and concerns about rising OPEC exports. Shares of Exxon and Chevron fell by more than 1.5% and were among the biggest drags on the Dow and S&P. The S&P energy index lost 2% and was the worst performing out of the 11 major S&P sectors. It is becoming apparent that recent tepid economic data and an inflation rate below the Fed’s 2% target may have a bearing on the US central bank’s plans for interest rate hikes.


The tech sector’s 1% rise led the S&P 500 gainers, with Advanced Micro Devices, Micron and Nvidia were among the best performers in the sector. The session on the Street of Dreams could justifiably be described as sepulchral.  US Markets closed as follows with YTD achievements – DOW: 21,470 -0.01% +8.681% S&P: 2,432 +0.15% +8.652% NASDAQ: 5,548 +0.93% +16.144%


Yesterday poor UK productivity numbers did nothing to warm the cockles of investors’ hearts as activity fell below pre-2007 financial crisis levels. The FTSE 100 seemed unmoved as it gathered a measly 10 points to 7367. Still I suppose so many constituent companies have Dollar earnings. There were interesting figures from Ocado, which brushed aside the idea that Amazon could be a real danger to its business. I think it would be a good idea if Amazon bought it!! Persimmon posted a great set of numbers. JP Morgan dropped out of the race to buy WorldPay leaving Vantiv to pick up the £7.7 billion tab. Shares dropped 8.8%, but I shall not shed too many tears as the recent rise was meteoric (+28%). So it looks as though Antonio Horta Osorio will be staying on as CEO of Lloyds Banking Group. However after 5 years, Andrew Bester often thought of as Prince Regent and head of commercial banking will be moving on, as will Simon Davies, Head of legal and strategy. The two rising stars would appear to be Stephen Shelley, risk director of commercial division and Vim Maru head of the retail bank. I think the market will approve of Horta Osorio’s intended decision to remain in situ. AB Foods posted excellent progress by with its core business and Primark, which of course is very core! The performance for the year has been upgraded – shares rallied by 2.75% in early skirmishes. At 8.20am the FTSE 100 was down 5 points at 7362.


Despite a drop in oil and concern about North Korea, Asian markets remained calm – NIKKEI 19,976 -0.52% + 4.462% HS 25,504 -0.08% +15,805% CHINA 3,638 -0.55% +9.865% ASX 5,767 +0.07% +1.742%


Panmure Gordon’s chief economist SIMON FRENCH expresses the following comments on UK equities going forward – ”The backdrop to current UK equity valuations remains supportive. Global investors hunt for yield will not, in our view, diminish over the near term despite recent hawkishness from a number of prominent central bankers. Closer to home the domestic economy is proving resilient to political ineptitude. While the distributive impacts of globalization remain a concern, the immediate threats to the returns from risk assets have abated. We therefore reaffirm our upbeat outlook for UK equities – a position we have held since the start of Q4 2016.”


UK companies posting numbers this week – Thursday – AB Foods, Great Portland Estates, Friday – Dunelm


US Companies posting interim results this week – Thursday – Cherokee Inc


Economic data posted this week – Friday – Halifax House Price Index, UK Trade Balance, UK Industrial Production, US Non-Farm Payrolls & unemployment rate (4.3%)


 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 is 10 years since the last time the BoE raised interest rates. Most should be familiar with my view that we are stuck at low rates for some considerable time as the uncertainty of A50 plays out and structural deflation across the world (oversupply, demographics, ‘contestable’ markets) remains in place. Having said all this there are three voices at the BoE (Saunders, McCafferty and Haldane) angling for higher rates. On the other side are Cunliffe, Carney and Vlieghe who all favour waiting. The balance is therefore held by Broadbent and Tenreyro who we haven’t heard much from recently. My best guess is that they are going to side with the Governor in August and we will be waiting somewhat longer for a UK rate hike. It has to be said that recent data suggests that the Doves are on the right side of the argument here as weaker economic data, a stabilising GBP, low oil prices and the Bank cracking down on lending standards all point to less need for rate increases.


Yesterday, being the first trading day of the 3rd quarter, investors basked in the warm sunshine whilst they enjoyed the momentum propelled by fresh funds going in to the market – FTSE up 64 points at 7377.  So it was probably fair to expect a bit of a back lash and some profit taking this morning.  So by 9.00am the FTSE 100 was down 29 points with mining and oil feeling a little pain across their respective backs.  However it was short-lived.  Stocks recovered their poise and by 3.05pm the FTSE had recovered, sticking its head just above the Plimsoll line – up 3 points 7380. Miners were up an average of 1%, despite Glencore adding 5.5% yesterday.  Oils were mixed but had improved since the opening – BP -0.25% and Royal Dutch Shell +0.5%. Pharmas were strong. Despite a downgrade by Behrenberg for HSBC (-0.75%) banks were OK – up an average of 0.75%. Utilities were not the flavour of the month thanks to UU and Severn Trent being downgraded.


J Sainsbury was only up 1% despite improved sales in the last quarter (LFL ex fuel +2.3%). Many believe that was down to Argos’s strong performance rather than the supermarket food activity.  We await news on the Nisa acquisition.  Justin King had 10 years as CEO and never posted a quarterly drop in sales.  Qatar now own 25% of J Sainsbury, the last 7% being purchased at 595%.  Since Mike Coupe replaced Justin King the share price has fallen from 365p down to 251p – a drop of 31.5% – not all Coupe’s fault – more down to no food inflation for about 3 years as well as Lidl and Aldi leaving their hobnailed boot prints all over the supermarket sector with visceral discounts. Imagination Technology saw its share price rise by 10% today with revenues up 19%, despite the arrogant and cruel treatment meted out by Apple, who will be bypassing Imaginations chip production.


TODAY’S FAYRE – Tuesday, 4th July 2017


“The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees

Is my destroyer.

And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose

My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.


The force that drives the water through the rocks

Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams

Turns mine to wax.

And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins

How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.


The hand that whirls the water in the pool

Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind

Hauls my shroud sail.

And I am dumb to tell the hanging man

How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.


The lips of time leech to the fountain head;

Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood

Shall cam her sores.

And I am dumb to tell  a weather’s wind

How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.


And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb

How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.”


Dylan Thomas– poet – 1914-1953


After such a desperate General Election campaign, you would have thought that the warring factions within this very fragile government would have buckled down and shown some unanimity behind their rather battle-scarred Prime Minister. By all means have robust debates on policy matters such a public sector pay and Brexit, but hanging out conflicting dirty linen for the media to ridicule must be folly in the extreme! We should all be mindful that for every 1% extra pay rise for the 5 million or so public sector workers costs £1.8 billion. Someone has to pay. So its higher taxation, borrowing or redundancies – two are unattractive options. As for taxation the government will need to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water.


The Street of Dreams only put in a half-day-shift ahead of Independence Day holiday today. But it was far from a bad shift. Here is how the session ended with YTD performances, with the DOW breaching through to a record level – DOW: 21,479 +0.61% +8.686 S&P: 2,429 +0.23%+8.495% NASDAQ: 5,596 -0.88% +15.078%. There was a touch of euphoria around, as there very often is on the first trading day of a new quarter. More often than not fresh funds trigger a modest rally. Last month the best performing sectors were as follows – biotech +9&, banks +8%, house builders +6% and pharmaceuticals+5%. The losers were oil services -5%, gold and mining -3% and telecoms -3%. Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors added 2% on news that its $35k electric car would be ready 2 weeks ahead of schedule. It is hoped that production will reach 20k a month by December and 500k in full capacity. If you’d bought these shares 5 years ago at $35 a pop, you would be preening yourself like a peacock – $352 a share! This company is valued at $59 billion against GM at $54 billion and Ford at $46 billion.


Yesterday the FTSE 100 enjoyed a decent quarter start adding 64 points at 7377. It was mining stocks that blazed the trail and despite caps being discussed on energy prices, the performance put in by utilities was far from shabby. Asian markets were mixed in the wake of Kim Jong Un’s capacity to rebel rouse with another missile test. I fear he is trying President Trump’s patience. Heading towards the close their bourses behaved as follows with YTD performances – NIKKEI: 20,004 -0.25% +4.587% HANG SENG: 25,365 -1.65% +15.43% CHINA: 3,616 -0.94% +9.31% ASX: 5,773 +1.57%, +1.881%.


This morning the market would have been surprised by J Sainsbury’s trading update. Many hedge fund managers were contemplating getting their teeth into retail by shorting some constituent stocks within the sector such as M&S, Next, Morrison, Sainsbury and Kingfisher, as a result of inflation and consumers having less disposable income. However CEO Mike Coupe posted very adequate like for like sales figures for the last quarter +2.3% excl fuel. Overall sales were up 4%. These numbers include Argos and we are led to believe that Argos outperformed the market. Overall transactions were up 1.9%. However shares have only risen 1% to 251p. These shares are up 10% on the year but 18% down since May 2017. Imagination Technology, despite the damage inflicted by Apple, which has withdrawn business support taking the shares down 60%, posted a 19% increase in revenues, with shares responding accordingly – up 6%.


It was good to hear that despite concerns over BREXIT, IPO business in London is still buoyant with 18 companies having raised £4.2 billion in the last quarter – one more company than in the previous quarter. Needless to say Allied Irish Banks accounted for 2.62 billion. Other companies of note included Eddie Stobart and Alfa Financial Software. To end on a fairly tacky note, many people will have been sad to hear of Mike Ashley’s alleged behavior at meetings concerning his £14 million spat with Merrill’s Jeff Blue. Talk of 12 pints of bear being drunk with kebabs being eaten at the board table and vomiting in the fireplace is disappointing. Hardly high class corporate governance.


UK companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – Imagination Technology, J Sainsbury, Wednesday – Ocado, Booker, Topps Tiles, IAG, SIG, Persimmon, Thursday – AB Foods, Great Portland Estates, Friday – Dunelm


US Companies posting interim results this week – Wednesday – Yum China Holdings, Thursday – Cherokee Inc


Economic data posted this week – Tuesday – US PMI Construction, Wednesday – BRC Shop price Index, US Factory orders, Thursday – US Balance of Trade, Friday – Halifax House Price Index, UK Trade Balance, UK Industrial Production, US Non-Farm Payrolls & unemployment rate (4.3%)


 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 – Monday, 3rd July 2017


I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe

and strong,

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off


The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the

deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing

as he stands,

The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the

morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,

The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at

work, or of the girl sewing or washing,

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young

fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.


Walt Whitman – poet – 1819-1892


To win the final rugby test at Eden Park next Saturday would be an achievement of gargantuan proportions by the British and Irish Lions. For a scratch side to go to New Zealand after a exhausting and long domestic season with only a month’s preparation and compete is fantastic.  However, for the All-Blacks to have lost the game on Saturday in Wellington by 21-24, when missing a player of Sonny Bill William’s stature for all but 22 minutes of the game, just goes to show what an incredibly talented and resilient team the it is! Also the Kiwi kicker, Barrett missed at least three relatively regulation penalties, though conditions under foot were very wet. However the Lion’s defence was immense, with the All-Blacks unable to cross their line, whilst Faletao and Murray scored two excellent tries! All to play for at Eden Park this coming Saturday!


On the whole I am a fan of Michael Gove’s political antennae. I would respect him even more if he were to admit that the £1 billion given to N Ireland to secure the support of the DUP was a necessary political ‘BUNG’ to provide a working majority for this rather weak government.


As Emmanuel Macron awaits the visit of President Trump on Bastille Day, the French President is wasting no time in whispering sweet nothings in to the ears of bankers and French ex-patriots to return to France with the possibility of tax breaks, which he will also be offering to international film companies – He’s a boy!


I am normally very happy to listen to the great Central bankers of the day and respect the content of their remarks, policies and edicts. Last week was probably the rare exception to the rule. There appeared to be a high-degree of miscommunication or misunderstanding. The less than clear prognoses from the BOE and the ECB on interest rates and monetary policies in general set foreign exchanges markets bobbing around with a high degree of uncertainty like corks in a bath! 


Firstly BOE Governor Mark Carney, post last week’s MPC meeting, which voted 5-2 to leave rates unchanged, told markets that the time was not right to hike rates with so much uncertainty prevailing ahead of BREXIT negotiations, regardless of the fact that inflation had reached 2.9%. These minutes had not even been circulated when BOE Chief Economist Andy Haldane controversially suggested that he might vote for a hike in August. Shortly afterwards Mr Carney appeared to his change his mind saying that conditions were changing. Consequently a modest rise in rates could well be justified! What was the market to think? The Pound wobbled for a few days down to $1.265 and then rose sharply to $1.30.21 on Friday evening. Of course Carney has worryingly acute consumer credit to contain – growing roughly by 10% annually in recent years. If a push comes to a shove the MPC will leave rates well alone apart from restoring the 25 basis point cut last summer as a symbolic gesture.


As for the ECB’S Mario Draghi, he also put the cat amongst the pigeons. Markets felt that he was signalling the contraction of stimulus. Draghi, the following day was forced to say that the market had misunderstood his message and that the current rate of stimulus was still required. Again these comments added to an already totally confused market place.  Then of course the threat of higher rates in the US, not discouraged by FED chairman Janet Yellen, rattled the cage of international bond markets. Yields shot up abruptly, which may not augur well for the economies of emerging markets.  However we need to put these moves in perspective – rates are still historically very low.

Last week the S&P 500 yielded 0.48% in value and the NASDAQ looked very volatile and vulnerable shedding 1.8%, with the likes of Alphabet, Netflix, Apple and Facebook being subjected to some rough treatment. The FTSE 100 continued its downward spiral easing by 1.5% – much of it down to the strength of Sterling and the weakness of the May Government who are failing to find unanimity of purpose over BREXIT negotiations. This does not augur well for investment going forward.  According to the FT the SMMT signalled that investment the UK car industry has fallen to just £322m in the first half of 2017, in a sign that companies are delaying or cancelling spending ahead of the UK leaving the EU. Last year £1.66bn was invested in the auto sector, more than 30 per cent down from £2.5bn in 2015, as carmakers and their suppliers delayed non-essential investment following the EU referendum last June. Also if public sector pay is increased above the 1% guideline, inflation pressures could become a real worry. The final nail in the coffin this week for the UK was the fact that GDP fell to 0.2% in the first quarter (+0.7% in last quarter of 2016) – the bottom of the G7 pile.  European bourses were also dragged down on negative sentiment as well as for valuation reasons. They have had a great run on the rails in recent months – down 1.11% on the week. Japan’s Nikkei eased 0.49% on the strength of the yen.


There was quite a compendium of corporate and economic news to digest last week and to consider this week.  Culture Secretary Karen Bradley referred the 21st Century £11.7 billion bid for the remaining 61% of Sky to the CMA for further scrutiny, for competition reasons,  I hope it proves to be no more than delaying tactics. Murdoch may have had some issues with the competition in the UK but he has proved to be a brilliant supporter of the press as well as a great employer. Debenhams reported some very average results and it is becoming equally clear that hedge funds such as Odey and Marshall Wace have massed their troops for an assault on the likes of Morrison, Ocado, Sainsbury, Next, Halfords and Debenhams. Google was the recipient of a $2.4 billion fine for preventing competition through its search engines, which are alleged to have damaged on-line sales.  Too much protectionism in my book – charge what the traffic will bear.  If Google’s appeal is rejected, there could be many civil cases. They could be very damaging for the EU’s relationship with the US. BAE Systems has landed a £4.7 billion contract to build frigates from the MOD. Barclays has chosen Dublin for its EU banking operation, which could take 150 people from London to the Irish Capital – a decent contingency plan. Softbank is rumoured to be taking a £1 billion investment in Dilveroo. J Sainbury posts numbers on Wednesday.  Whereas the acquisition of Argos will continue its progress the supermarket business may have struggled as the market awaits news of the Nisa operation. Inflation and less disposable income from the consumer may see sales fall perhaps even in to negative territory. Savings in the UK have reached dangerously low levels – just 1.7% of earnings. Fears of lower growth, inflation and rising taxes have damaged savers’ appetite to put money away for a rainy day.


UK companies posting numbers this week – Monday – SuperGroup, Tuesday – Imagination Technology, RPS Group, J Sainsbury, Wednesday – Ocado, Booker, Topps Tiles, IAG, SIG, Persimmon, Thursday – AB Foods, Great Portland Estates, Friday – Dunelm


US Companies posting interim results this week – Monday – Ford (sales), Wednesday – Yum China Holdings, Thursday – Cherokee Inc



Economic data posted this week – Monday – US construction, Tuesday – US PMI Construction, Wednesday – BRC Shop price Index, US Factory orders, Thursday – US Balance of Trade, Friday – Halifax House Price Index, UK Trade Balance, UK Industrial Production, US Non-Farm Payrolls & unemployment rate (4.3%)


 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​

21st Century/Sky Bid – I smell political skulduggery!

21st Century’s bid for SKY falters – I smell political skulduggery!


It would be wrong to play down the horrific anguish experienced by the Milly Dowler family and copious hacked celebrities at the hands of the News of The World and the insults levelled at the people of Liverpool by the Sun 23 years ago. In the same breath we must also remember that the perpetrators at the NOW have been brought to justice.  Also do NOT forget that even the Guardian and eventually the Police admitted that nobody from the News of the World deleted messages from Milly Dowler’s phone.

However I have to confess that I am hugely disappointed that Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has passed the buck, as to whether 21st Century should be allowed to purchase the remaining 61% for £11.7 billion, to the CMA for further investigation.  I know there has been a General Election, but OFCOM and the CMA have had donkey’s years to deliberate. Madam, may I rather vulgarly suggest, you grow a pair and make a decision and the right one, straight away. We have listened for years to the whingeing opposition to this deal, that the Murdoch Empire is too large and therefore it has too much influence.  We also have the Tom Watson battalion throwing its two cents worth in.  I wouldn’t be listening too closely to what he has to say on this subject.  You only have to remember the reprehensible manner he treated Lord Leon Brittan, when the former Home Secretary was accused of paedophilia. He all but choked when apologising under duress to Lady Diana Brittan. So spare me the moral story.

Let’s look at the commercial realities. Sky has been a magnificent employer in a market that is diminishing in players. SKY TV has been a truly innovative media machine and here in Europe it has expanded in Italy and Germany.  Let’s not forget that terrestrial and pay TV are diminishing in importance as the internet grows in stature as a broadcaster.  The same can be said for the written word.  Papers are dying all over the place as they are replaced by blogging and the internet. It is fair to say that The Times and Sun would be dead and buried without Murdoch’s steadfast loyalty.

I am a free market man.  I would have fought BT tooth and nail to prevent them being given Sky’s  ground.  Compete! Earn it! Charge what the traffic will bear.  

So frankly the postponement looks no more than political skulduggery. Provided there is no editorial influence from FOX, this deal should be allowed to go through unopposed.  Shares in Sky are up 3.35% to 988.5p – well below the 1o75p cash bid.

TODAY’S FAYRE – Politics, Central Banks, Sky & Markets

TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday, 29th June 2017


And death shall have no dominion.

Dead man naked they shall be one

With the man in the wind and the west moon;

When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,

They shall have stars at elbow and foot;

Though they go mad they shall be sane,

Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;

Though lovers be lost love shall not;

And death shall have no dominion.


And death shall have no dominion.

Under the windings of the sea

They lying long shall not die windily;

Twisting on racks when sinews give way,

Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;

Faith in their hands shall snap in two,

And the unicorn evils run them through;

Split all ends up they shan’t crack;

And death shall have no dominion.


And death shall have no dominion.

No more may gulls cry at their ears

Or waves break loud on the seashores;

Where blew a flower may a flower no more

Lift its head to the blows of the rain;

Though they be mad and dead as nails,

Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;

Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,

And death shall have no dominion.


Dyan Thomas – 1914-1953


Having had 24 hours to calm down and reflect on life, I have come to the very obvious conclusion that this country has fallen in to a vortex of dangerous social despair. The gap between ‘those that have’ and ‘those that do not’ has widened unacceptably.


 We have an acute housing problem – both owner/occupier, ‘buy-to-let’ and affordable housing plus private renting and council renting. Unemployment has gone down, but wages are stagnant and have been so for too long! The generational gap is also widening. Why should the 30-50 age group pay for the social care of the elderly, when they become infirmed or for that matter their health. I am not suggesting that those who have accumulated wealth over the years should not be able to pass on the lion’s share to their children/grandchildren, but some measurable contribution should be made to alleviate the burden of the young, in terms of taxation to pay for elderly social care that is fair. What a shame that parts of the Tory manifesto was presented in such a ham-fisted manner, without proper explanation. It was a truly awful exercise in incompetence that appeared cruel and uncaring.


It is hard to blame the young for supporting Jeremy Corbyn, when butter would not melt in his mouth and who keeps offering them succulent sweets they do not have to pay for. To them anything is better than Tory austerity, so why not try Labour’s sack-full of ‘terminological inexactitudes.’ They don’t feel any worse and even if they pay for it two years down the line, at least that will have satisfied their curiosity. The Government really has to work out a social policy that is fair to all, which also pays some attention to balancing the books.


Like thousands of others I am astonished that it has taken 28 years to bring criminal charges against six people, who are alleged to have been responsible for the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989. I suspect that those who have suffered from the Grenfell Tower disaster will give this government no more than six months to bring those alleged of wrong doing to book before the courts.


It would appear that rather as Unilever responded to Elliott Advisors rattled Paul Polson CEO of Unilever’s cage about failing to deliver shareholder value, Loeb has done the same with Nestle. He has taken a 1.3% stake in the Swiss food processing giant. Nestle have already responded by buying-back CHF 20 billion of shares. Nestle’s share price rallied by 1.3% today. We wait eagerly for further action.


Housing Doyen Henry Pryor tells us that HM Land Registry confirmed that just 481 £1m+ sales in England & Wales last month. 304 were in London.


The Street of Dreams enjoyed improved fortunes yesterday, with President Trump managing to stay away from a plethora of negative press. Financials were the best performing S&P sector, rising 1.6%. JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America, both rose more than 2%. These stock also rose ahead of stress test results expected from the Federal Reserve that could pave the way for the banks to return more capital to shareholders. Technology shares gained 1.3%, surging back from their worst day in more than two weeks. Apple rose 1.5% and TripAdvisor jumped 4.5%. Energy companies rose as oil futures climbed for the fifth consecutive day.

Consumer-focused companies also enjoyed the warmth of the summer sun as stocks recovered the previous day’s losses. Staples jumped 8.5% on reports of a possible sale. Medical device company Spectranetics added 26% after Dutch electronics and health care technology company Philips agreed to buy the company for $38.50 a share, or $1.68 billion. General Mills shares rose 1.6% after the ‘Cheerios’ cereal maker reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit. Staples shares rose 8.4%. The company may announce its sale to private equity firm Sycamore Partners. US markets closed as follows & YTD performances – DOW: 21,454 +0.68% +8.562% S&P: 2,440 +0.88% +9.016% NASDAQ: 5,753 +1.44% +18.287%


Asian markets today rode on the back of New York’s coattails and Central bank clarification on policy & YTD – NIKKEI 20,206 +0.38% +5.669% HANG SENG 25,881 +0.79% +17.679% CHINA 3,655 +0.26% +10.455% ASX 5,808 +0.91% +2.566%.



Miscommunication by Central bankers Mario Draghi and Mark Carney not only led the currency market a merry dance yesterday, but they also threw equity markets in to confusion. The FTSE 100 behaved like the Grand old Duke of York, initially reacting to Draghi implying that he would start tapering stimulus and then in the next breath telling the market it misinterpreted his comments. QE was not finished. Meanwhile back at the ranch, Mark Carney, having stated unequivocally at the last MPC meeting, which voted 5-2 for no change, that it was not the time for a rate change, which Andy Haldane, BOE Chief Economist contradicted the next day, also appeared to change his mind? Why? – Inflation and BREXIT uncertainty. Consequently, confusion ruled in abundance. The Euro initially hit its highest level for a year but post these eminent central bankers’ comments, Sterling headed for the moon relatively speaking $1.2960.


Yesterday the FTSE 100 dropped 46 points to 7387, with Tesco announcing that 1200 jobs would be shed as part of a £1.5 billion savings plan. Dave Lewis and his troops are likely to focus more for ‘On-line business.’ This morning the FTSE was up 35 at 7415. It was up 60 points at the opening but Sterling is nudging $1.30, which has damaged Dollar earning related stocks. Banks are on a roll on the back of New York, with HSBC the pick of the bunch – up 4.3%. JD Sports disappointed -4.5%, so did Wood Group – energy stocks remain perilous – -5%. Greene King’s numbers were solid – unchanged.


Culture Secretary Karen Bradley should tell us within the next hour that 21st Century can buy the remaining 61% of Sky for £11.7 billion. Ofcom and the CMA, despite protestations from the media not owned by Sky objecting to Sky/Murdoch/News Corpn’s domination, should advise M/S Bradley to tick the acquiescent box without further delay. SKY has been a brilliant employer creating a tremendous network in the UK, Germany and Italy. Apart from jealousy, there is not a scrap of meaningful evidence to block the deal.


UK companies posting numbers this week Friday – Trinity Mirror, Serco


US Companies posting interim results this week Thursday Walgreen Boots Alliance, Constellation Brands, Micron Technology, Nike, American Outdoor Group


​​Economic data posted this week –Friday – UK Gfk Consumer Confidence, UK GDP estimate, UK Revised Business Investment.


 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 – The Grand Ole Duke of York – he had 10k men…

Oh the Grand Old Duke of York, he had 10,000 men…. It is fascinating to think that corporate news and sentiment have had virtually no influence on stock market activity for weeks. It’s been all about foreign exchange, the volatile price of oil and political volatility. Today was a classic example of such a compendium of varied news.  The market opened slightly below the Plimsoll line in the wake of indifferent performances in New York and Asia in recent sessions. Many interpreted Draghi’s comments on the ECB and monetary policy as dovish.  He had to mark the market’s cards by saying stimulus packages were still needed – so the FTSE, DAX and CAC rallied just into positive territory – the FTSE 100 having been down 40 down.  Then BOE Governor Mark Carney was unambiguous in saying that the UK economy and rising inflation was indicative in stating that no more stimulus packages would be required.  Though Sterling bounced against the Euro and Dollar – cable $1.2950 – the FTSE took flight and surrendered 44 points to 7390 at 3.40pm.


Banks have been steady in London. Miners and oils rocked a bit after Carney’s comments. Dollar earning stocks such as Reed Elsevier and to a lesser degree Diageo surrendered some ground on a weaker Dollar. Of those companies posting numbers today Bunzl was a standout performer – +4%. Dixons Carphone, having been up 2.6% is now down 3.18% because of retail concern – low wage inflation. Stagecoach, after a bright start was down 5.94%. BT was impressive today on an upgrade from McQuarie. The DOW has bounced back today on a weak showing of the Dollar and is up 130 points.


TODAY’S FAYRE – Wednesday, 28th June 2017


Thou who seest all thing below,

Grant that Thy servants may go slow,

That they may study to comply

With regulations till they die.


Teach us, O Lord, to reverence

Committees more than common sense;

To train our minds to make no plan

And pass the baby when we can.


So when the tempter seeks to give

Us feelings of initiative,

Or when alone we go too far,

Chastise us with a circular.


Mid war and tumult, fire and storms

Give strength  O Lord, to deal out forms.

Thus may Thy servants ever be

A flock of perfect sheep for Thee.”





There are no better months in the year than June and July here in Old Blighty, with a plethora of world class sport, with the sun more often than not high on the yard arm, the smell of cut grass, the taste of Pimm’s No:1 and strawberries to savour!  We will always have the horrendous terrorist attacks in Manchester and in London plus the Grenfell Tower tragedy on our minds in perpetuity. However, Let’s try and put the dire General Election campaign behind us as well as the acrid stench of fear and hatred surrounding the BREXIT negotiations to the side whilst we attempt to enjoy two rugby tests – New Zealand v British & Irish Lions, a Test match v South Africa, the Wimbledon Championships and the Open Golf Championship – all to relish and enjoy! 


Yesterday’s session on the Street of Dreams was not one to relish. President Trump failed to get his healthcare bill through Congress. That did not help the mood in beautiful downtown Manhattan. Though banks held their own, tech stocks were under the cosh for most of the session. The gargantuan fine of €2.4 imposed on Google by Brussels for abusing its dominance in search as well parallel sales, which has been on the cards for some time, took the wind out of the sails of this flag ship sector. Shares dropped 2.25% yesterday. Margarethe Vestager the EU’S Competition Competitor, claims that Google’s stance has denied other companies the chance to compete and has left consumers with inadequate genuine choices. I know it’s not PC, but I find protectionism disingenuous. I am a great believer in charge what the traffic will bear and tend to dislike government or bureaucratic interference. Obviously Google will appeal.  There are concerns permeating around Washington that Google and other US companies are being discriminated against. Apple is still appealing against the writ to pay €13 billion for taxes incurred in Ireland, despite the Irish being against this claim.  There are serious ramifications with the US Government likely to be less accommodating over any trade deal going forward. Also the floodgates may be open for future civil claims against Google. Perhaps the arrogance of the EU may need to be tapered in dealing with US authorities, unless of course, the EU just doesn’t care! The EU has of course a bit of ‘previous’ against the US, when Neelie Kroes, one of Vestager’s predecessors, fined Microsoft $732 million for web-browsing misdemeanours in 2013, having served notice in 2009.


So unsurprisingly other tech stocks took some hits – Netflix -4.1%, Facebook -2%, Microsoft -1% and Amazon -1.73% – a combination of the Google syndrome and valuations. General Motors has adjusted its sales targets to lower levels. All in all it was a dispiriting session. Set out below was how New York closed – US markets close & YTD – DOW: 21,310 -0.12 +7.833% S&P: 2,419 -0.81% +8.064% NASDAQ: 5,671 -1.83% +16.613%.



Asian markets were reflective of the US markets with tech stocks in South Korea taking enjoying a little rough treatment, as investors awaited on a speech to be made by Janet Yellen in London on the US economy.  Also included are ‘the year to date’ achievements – NIKKEI: 20,163 -0.31% +5.492%, HANG SENG: 25,732 -0.41 +16.949%, CHINA: 3,662 -0.32% +10.743%, ASX: 5,756 +0.74% +1.606%.


So after diagnosis the prescription! We had our cards marked yesterday that Household debt stood at £1.5 trillion in the UK with consumer credit standing at £200 billion – this debt has increased by 10% per annum to dangerous levels. Car debt currently stands at £58 billion.  So BOE Governor Mark Carney has told UK domestic banks that they must build a special buffer of extra capital totaling £11.4 billion to be raised by them to prevent and repetition of the 2008/9 banking crisis. The threat of inflation could easily mean that some consumers could fall behind with their payments.


Yesterday the FTSE 100 eased by 12 points to 7434.  It was a good day for Carpetright and a poor one for Debenhams – down 2.25% having been down 3.37%.  Like-for-like sales dipped by 0.9%.  Retail sector is under the cosh, as wages fail to keep track with inflation.  So expect the hedge funds to mass their troops and take out some short positions on the likes of Debenhams, M&S, Next and maybe even Morrison, which has had a terrific run in the last year. This morning the FTSE 100 is down 40 points at 7390 as I write at 9.18am. The mood is slightly negative following in the footsteps of New York and Asia. Bunzl pleaded its acolytes – up 4.1%, so did Dixons Carphone who like for like sales were up 4% on the year.  Profits were up to £291 million – shares up 2.7%.  Petra Diamonds faltered – down 4.32%.



UK companies posting numbers this week – Wednesday – Dixons Carphone, Stagecoach, Bunzl, Tullow Oil, Kier Group, Thursday – Blur Group, Purple Bricks, Greene King, JD Sports, John Laing, Wood Group, Friday – Trinity Mirror, Serco


US Companies posting interim results this week – Wednesday – General Mills, HB Fuller, Thursday – Walgreen Boots Alliance, Constellation Brands, Micron Technology, Nike, American Outdoor Group


​​Economic data posted this week – Tuesday – BBA Mortgage Approvals, Wednesday – Nationwide HPI, Friday – UK Gfk Consumer Confidence, UK GDP estimate, UK Revised Business Investment.


 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 – Tuesday, 26th June 2017


To be, or not to be, that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,

No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;

To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub:

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause—there’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life.

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

Th’oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office, and the spurns

That patient merit of th’unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscovere’d country, from whose bourn

No traveller returns, puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pitch and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry

And lose the name of action.”



‘The tragedy of Hamlet – Prince of Denmark’



William Shakespeare – poet & playwright – 1564–1616



   As the years roll by I find myself having considerably more empathy with ‘left-of-centre’ political views.  There is nothing worse than excessive social inequality and urban deprivation. So of course there is a role for a strong Labour party, a robust official opposition and a government’ in waiting.’ However Labour needs to shake off its image as a party of envy, spite, hatred and mob-oratory that brooks no opposition and is just vicious in its outlook. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are not to be trifled with. They have stoked up the intellectual ‘angry brigade’ with measurable venom.  Labour’s acolytes are impressionable, gullible and susceptible to the empty and hollow promises of riches that lie ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ – with all of these promises financially unaccounted for.


   The visual media seem unhappy with the arrangements the Government has made with the DUP. ‘Hobson’s Choice’, when the mob are baying for PM May’s head on a charger! Even if it’s only for a few months, show us Mrs May, what can be done with strength of character, humanity and resolve! However the Conservative party should listen to the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson –  “If the Conservative party does not present a clear plan as to what their policies and core values are, sooner rather than later, Labour will rule from Downing Street for a decade!”  What a price to pay!  


    Though the performance of US equity indices looked superficially fairly unexciting, there were a few positives to take from the session.  The likes of JP Morgan (+0.44%) and Morgan Stanley (+0.70%) have underperformed the market in relative terms post the major rally after the Presidential election.  They took the opportunity of responding well to the E17 billion Italian bail out of Monti Dei Paschi and Intesa, encapsulating the winding up of Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza, blighted by bad loans and a miss-selling scandal.  Make no mistake, despite this remedial action, Italian banks are creaking like dodgy floor boards! Confirmation of this news saw European equities respond well, including the FTSE 100 which added 22 points to 7446. Crude oil also rallied 0.6% yesterday.  Whirlpool, which owns Hotpoint, Indesit and Kitchen Aid amongst its brands, and whose capital value stands at $140 billion saw its share price add 2.2% yesterday. This was quite surprising considering it was a Hotpoint fridge which caught fire in Grenfell Tower. 60k of that model were manufactured between 2006/9. It was the tech sector that attempted to drag the NASDAQ down yesterday as Facebook lost 0.9%, Alphabet -1.4% and Apple -0.4%. The DOW closed +0.07%, the S&P was 0.03% to the good with the NASDAQ easier by 0.29%.


    I much look forward to talking about the 3rd quarter earnings, which start slowly next week, but gather momentum the week after.  Nonetheless there are little snippets of information and news worthy of comment.  It looks as though the Coop Bank – 80% controlled by US hedge funds since 2013, when a £1.5 billion black hole was found in the accounts, may not have to be sold.  Having recently repaid a loan of £700 million the Coop Bank felt that it was not in a position to meet the BOE’S capital requirements.  It seemed that the pension scheme liabilities was the main stumbling block. Agreement is close with the hedge funds having negotiated responsibility for just the bank’s Pension funds rather than the group. The Coop Group has about 90k pensions with 37k already drawing these pensions. So let’s hope it’s onwards and upwards, though the recovery will be tough and challenging.


    Concern is being expressed about the level of debt in this country. Household debt in this country stands at £1.5 trillion with consumer debt at £200 billion. The level of debt is increasing by 10% per annum.  Expect the Bank of England to re-impose greater capital requirements by about 0.5% to curb the level of debt explosion. There was evidence of a fat finger by a gold trader causing the price of gold to drop in New York by 1.6% yesterday to $1236 per ounce.  Not the first or last time this kind of mistake will manifest itself. Facebook will spend $3 billion setting up its own TV service in competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime. It will appeal to 14-30 year olds and CEO Mark Zuckerberg insists on no nudity or bad language!


    Today Debenhams posted an unambitious trading statement which did not please its acolytes and shares drifted lower by 3.37%.  Northgate’s efforts were poor – down 10% in early skirmishes. Carpetright for the first time in a long time posted really encouraging progress which met with the market’s approval – up 11%! The FTSE 100 was down 9 points at 7438 at 8.30am.  



UK companies posting numbers this week – Tuesday – Debenhams, Northgate, Carpetright, Petrofac, Wednesday – Dixons Carphone, Stagecoach, Bunzl, Tullow Oil, Kier Group, Thursday – Blur Group, Purple Bricks, Greene King, JD Sports, John Laing, Wood Group, Friday – Trinity Mirror, Serco


US Companies posting interim results this week – Tuesday – Darden Restaurants, KB Homes, Wednesday – General Mills, HB Fuller, Thursday – Walgreen Boots Alliance, Constellation Brands, Micron Technology, Nike, American Outdoor Group


Economic data posted this week – Tuesday – BBA Mortgage Approvals, Wednesday – Nationwide HPI, Friday – UK Gfk Consumer Confidence, UK GDP estimate, UK Revised Business Investment.


 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​