Could it be that the world is on the brink of oil price war, asks David Cowell of Myddleton Croft Investment Managers?

After Saudi oil minister suggested that Opec would keep its production ceiling at 30 million barrels per day, I can think of at least five major producers who will feel a lot of pain very quickly.

One wonders at the Saudis’ motive for this, but my bet is on kicking the Shi’ite world out of existence – and with it the Russians who have been supporting them. I seem to remember reading a report that the ex-Saudi foreign minister issued veiled threats to his Russian counterpart in such a vein.



myddleton croft



The saga of improbability continues at RBS. They get fined for a massive software glitch; find that they have miscalculated (upwards) their capital adequacy by a sizeable chunk, then, suddenly, they are saying that two of their top executives ‘mis-spoke’ to the Treasury Select Committee when they denied that they had made a profit out of binning SMEs in the recession. It appears that the supposed independent inquiry by a leading law firm wasn’t that independent as the chap doing it had worked for RBS in the past. What would have happened to an IFA in similar circumstances? The least of his/her worries would have been that they would never work in the industry again after being fined into penury. Whatever happened to ‘fit & proper’?

Charles Stanley has reported a £3.9 million loss in its half yearly results, having already issued two previous profit warnings for the same period. Perhaps part of IFAs’ due diligence ought to encompass the fact that a lot of the ‘big boys’ ain’t turning a crust. Viability ought to be a major consideration.

Are US shares expensive?


Schiller chart

Could the stock market get even more overvalued? Sure! During the dot-com heydays, the Shiller P/E got as high as 44. US GDP increased at a rate of 3.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2014, up from a provisional estimate of 3.5 per cent, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis figures. The second estimate released by the BEA ­­showed positive contributions from personal consumption expenditure, non-residential fixed investment, federal government spending, exports and state and local spending. Sounds good to me.



The ONS confirmed the UK economy grew 0.7% in the quarter, unchanged from its initial estimate a month ago. Consumer spending grew by 0.8% in the third quarter. It also confirmed that the economy grew by 3% compared with the same quarter a year earlier.

Yet again, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has put his dainty size 8s in it. He has said that women cannot be treated as equal to men and has accused feminists of rejecting motherhood.”You cannot put women and men on an equal footing,” he told a meeting in Istanbul. “It is against nature.” He also said feminists did not grasp the importance of motherhood in Islam. The Yanks had the same problem with apple pie.

It appears that our short yen/long dollar position was a good move. Admittedly we were a bit early but that has meant that we have made more . Looking longer term, the yen may have much further to fall, having risen over the past forty years. John Mauldin reckons that it could be 200 to the dollar eventually:


Japan yen

A survey measuring German business confidence has shown a rise for November after six months of declines. The IFO institute’s index rose to 104.7 from 103.2 points in October.

China is ready to cut interest rates again and also loosen lending restrictions, concerned that falling prices could trigger a surge in debt defaults, business failures and job losses. Friday’s surprise cut in rates, the first in more than two years, reflects a change of course by Beijing and the central bank. One for the future, methinks.


Continuing my exposé on matters Liverpudlian: Q. There are two Liverpool girls in a car without any music – who is driving?

A. The policeman..


I’m orf to get some sunshine so there won’t be a rant next Friday.

Have a good week.

David Cowell


For and on behalf of Myddleton Croft Investment Managers

1 Woodside Mews

Clayton Wood Close


LS16 6QE

Tel:        0113 274 7700

Fax:       0113 274 7711

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