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Getting the Bird

Okay, it might be January, but David Cowell of Myddleton Croft Investment Managers says it isn’t too late to be talking turkeyturkey. Happy New Year!


‘Tis the season for predictions. That being the case, I might as well join in: 1) There will be a general election in May; 2) The leader of the opposition will put in his electoral expenses a sum of £2,000 for lessons on how to eat sandwiches; 3) Nigel Farage will get hiccups, and 4) Investors taking a moderate amount of risk will see a return for the year of 5-8%.


 

myddleton croft


 

Should you find that boredom is setting in, you may wish to spend a little time watching Patrick and me doing a Smith & Jones: Alas Cowell and Toes.


A bank fine of £1.1bn for manipulating the currency markets has helped reduce government borrowing figures in November. Osborne really is a rapacious individual. The sensible thing to do is to use the money to start a compensation fund for the people who suffer and abolish the FSCS. This is triple taxation on the industry. Just wait until I’m king.


On the subject of banks, Santander plans to raise up to £5.9bn through the sale of 1.3m new shares. They issued a statement to the stock exchange yesterday saying the funds will be used to boost capital, start paying an all-cash dividend and help achieve growth plans. Paying a cash dividend? My experience has led me to believe that any company that borrows to pay dividends seems to have forgotten what dividends are.


According to the Financial Times, the minutes relating to the run-up to the financial crisis reveal that former Bank of England governor Lord King kept the Bank’s governing body (The Court) in the dark on key matters of internal dissent and denied non-executive directors information about financial stability. Lord King told the FT: “What matters to the country are the decisions we took, and those decisions prevented a repetition of the Great Depression and made it possible for the recovery that is now underway.”

Lord King is partially right but that doesn’t excuse such behaviour. Also, what was the cost to the taxpayer and to subsequent generations of taxpayers? His and the other regulators’ inactivity, together with the fiscal imprudence and stupidity of the Labour government, has cost the nation a goodly part of its financial prosperity for many years to come.


At the end of 2014, the UK Gilt 10 Year Yield was  1.58%. Sheer madness.


According to a recent study by Premier Asset Management, funds with a higher active management on average perform far better than so-called ‘closet index trackers’ over various periods of time. Over the current market cycle, Premier has calculated highly active funds have outperformed closet trackers by 2.9% a year; even genuine tracker funds have managed to outstrip their closet rivals by 0.3% a year due to lower fees.


The European Court of Auditors has found that over £100m of EU funding to build airports has been “wasted”, and that a further £165m represented “poor value for money.” Of the total £3.6bn spent between 2000 and 2013, 28% of the spending was “wasted” on airport infrastructure that has never been used. Sorry, I don’t understand. Surely “wasted” isn’t the word; “fraud” is.


The US has published revised data showing the economy grew at 5.0% in the third quarter, the quickest pace in 11 years.


 

currencies

Ain’t it nice when a plan comes together? Our long USD/short the others trades are now paying handsomely – a benefit of being ‘too early’.


Data released by Eurostat showed that annual Eurozone harmonised inflation was -0.2% in December. However, the decline was driven by a 6.3% drop in energy inflation, meaning core inflation actually rose to 0.8% from 0.7% in November. A one-off or the start of a trend?


China reported its official PMI slipped to 50.1 in December, the lowest level of 2014 and barely in expansion territory. The service sector PMI rose to 54.1.


As some people will still be eating left-over turkey, I thought that this story might be apposite: A chap called John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to ‘clean up’  the bird’s vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer.

For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s arm and said “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and  actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my unforgivable behaviour.

John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change, the bird spoke-up, very softly:

 “May I ask what the turkey did?


 

Have a good weekend.

 

David Cowell

Director

For and on behalf of Myddleton Croft Investment Managers

1 Woodside Mews

Clayton Wood Close

Leeds

LS16 6QE

Tel:        0113 274 7700

Fax:       0113 274 7711

www.myddletoncroft.co.uk

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