Latest Posts

More debt before Christmas…

This morning’s Public Sector Borrowing Requirement showed the government borrowing £7.7bn more than it received in revenue in October.  So far this year the government has racked up £64.1bn of debt, actually up £3.7bn from last year.  And yet the economy has grown around 3%. This makes any Christmas giveaways in the Chancellor’s Autumn statement on 3rd December difficult.  Like many […]

Centrica – no longer boring.

“May you live in interesting times” is supposedly an English translation of a Chinese curse.  But many sources claim there is no such original Chinese proverb.  Even so shareholders are feeling the pain of Centrica being a far more “interesting” investment that they may have wanted it to be. Since Ed Milliband’s attack on the industry in September last […]

RBS £56mn poorer….

I am beginning to feel like Bill Murray, playing a weather man in the film Groundhog Day.  I have written about bank fines so many times before.  It is beginning to feel like a daily occurrence. Such are the clean up costs of past failures, these fines seem not to “extraordinary” or “exceptional” items – one off costs […]

Easy peasy Easyjet…

Making it look easy… If a woman is going to run a company it may as well be a great one. Easyjet share price has almost quadrupled over the last few years from £4 to over £15.  Its a compelling story of a well run company.  And there are a number of lessons that plenty of companies could […]

Don your Santa suit Merkel.. its time to be generous.

My Times Business column:  

A dovish Carney (not a hawk, owl or loon)

The markets have clearly got more dovish as UK inflation has fallen further to 1.2% and European growth has slowed, particularly in Germany.  Friday sees 3Q GDP released from both. Carney’s dovish tone has added to this sentiment today.  Markets are now predicting the first hike now in October of next year according to Ioan Smith […]

Sainsbury’s – getting there slowly but still complacent.

Sainsbury’s is slowly realising the scale of its problems but still is complacent. I attended the AGM earlier this year and was amazed to be told that the retailer was still opening out of town stores.  This is an industry deeply entrenched in its old ways and reluctant to leave behind a business model that […]

Forex Fines

Both the Financial Conduct Authority and the American CFTC have come out with fines for forex rigging this morning.  The UK regulator has fined five banks £1.1bn and the US fined the same five – JPMorgan, Citigroup, UBS, RBS and HSBC –  $1.4bn.  Barclays is still in negotiation which may mean it gets a higher penalty.  The FCA notes that […]

My Times column on why bond markets may currently be poor predictors of inflation    

Share tipsters can be hazardous to your wealth

When, at about 16, I first decided I wanted to be a stockbroker, I subscribed to a small-cap tip sheet. It was a spivvy world then and it has not improved. More than a quarter of a century later — yes, I’m that old — the internet has replaced tip sheets with bulletin boards, but […]