Monday, April 30

DOW rising from lows again FTSE up !

Online Stock Trading - DOW Rises

DOW rising of its low now 14 points up NASDAQ down 3 S&P up 1 FTSE up 45 (it was higher then lower earlier)

US Stock Markets

According to Art Cashin US markets will be flat today, due in part to core consumer prices being largely unchanged and it is May Day tomorrow when lots of markets around the word will be closed.

The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index has just come in at 52.9 v 61.7 which is a lot lower than expected.

US stocks have risien for four consecutive sessions and closed Friday at a record high again. The Dow has been up 11 out of the last 12 days, and 18 of the last 20. Philip Roth, from Miller Tabak however considers that there have been several trend "non-confirmations" suggesting that the stock market will see some consolidation. He also added in his research note that these "non-confirmations" were "not insurmountable negatives. ...... as long as initial support holds and ... there is no accelerating downside momentum, probabilities favor attempts to extend the advance," rumour has it that he has have been on a Greenspeak course.

In the UK the Financial Times is saying that Citigroup executives fear it could become a target for hedge funds that may ty to break it up. According to the FT Citigroup should improve its investor relations and explain to shareholders the value of keeping its businesses together.

On the stock front Citigroup increased its target for Cable and Wireless (CW.) to 240p from 190p and kept its 'buy' rating. The share rose after weekend press reports it might split itself into UK and International units, it is trading at 188p at the moment down from the earlier high of 191p.

Another favourite, ARM, has fallen back from its recent highs afer its good results, so I might even get myself some (tomorrow) !

Pensions in the UK

Millions of people in the UK have been told to expect their income to drip by 50% when they retire. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown aren't among them as they have given themselves hefty pay rises since coming to power and before they get booted out.

The national average wage in the UK is £23,244 a year (about US$46K), this works out at £447, a pension for someone on this wage will be half this i.e. £223 – just £9 more than the minimum wage, based on a 40-hour week.

SR Pharma (SPA) Changes Name to Silence Therapeutics (SLN)

Online Stock Trading - Silence Therapeutics

SR Pharma Changes Name to Silence Therapeutics

Just an update on the name which was changed today. The stockmarket code has been changed from SPA to SLN.

Trading has been light, probably because some people were confused about the name change. For more information on SLN see my earlier post -

This company has significant upside potential and there is a lot of talk about a big pharmaceutical company taking a stake.

Sunday, April 29

Autonomy's Blinkx Video Search Software a Challenge to Google

Online Stock Trading - Autonomy

Autonomy an Interesting Investment

The UK technology company Autonomy is preparing to demerge its online video search company Blinkx and to list it on the AIM next month. Blinkx is a search engine that makes use of Autonomy’s IDOL software to find online video ceontent. It is seen by some as offering a serious challenge to Google's dominant position in the internet search engine area.

Blinkx's founder, Suranga Chandratillake, is set for a very hefty pay day and city analysts Seymour Pierce are predicting that the firm's stock will be in strong demand.

Online search is still largely text-based and dominated by companies such as Google, Yahoo and MSN, but the rapid proliferation of video means that search engines now need to learn how to deal with images as well.

Using Blinkx, internet users will be able to search over 7 million hours of video. It is capable of examining images and also listening to soundtracks and can analyze subtitles to create an index of the clips. It will also provide service in the broadband TV sector and is lookin ginto the possibility of informing consumers involved in online transactions of the existence of better offers elsewhere.

When Blinkx is floated in May, Autonomy will exercise an option it has to hand it over to shareholders by way of a share dividend, but will be retaining 10% for itself.

Blinkx is also expected to give rise to in-video advertising, with the ability for users to click on objects in the video which will take the user to the homepage of the company manufacturing the items on display.

At the moment consumers can search for videos on the internet via Blinkx's website. Suranga Chandratillake said: "The software analyses video in several ways. It examines any captions or text on a video. It also listens and recognises words and it looks at visual aspects. Until now, the internet has been a world of text. In the future, as broadband enables faster access of the web, we believe it will be all about video."

Blinkx not only allows interactive advertising in online video clips, it also ensures that any banner ads. are relevant to the video being watched.
Online advertising in the video arena spending just in the US is expected to from $410m now to nearly $4 billion in 2010 and in 2007 it is set to increase by 89%.

Google, Yahoo and MSN do not at the moment have any search technology capable of analyzing video effectively. Blinkx has patented its technology and is confident it will not be replicated. There is of course the possibility that it will become a takeover target, and it might also decide to license its technology to other search engines.

Autonomy shareholders are set to receive free shares pro rata the number of Autonomy shares they own, details of the offer will become available some time during May.

According to the Autonomy website :-

"The demerger is expected to be effected in a tax efficient manner and will result in the payment of a dividend in specie of Ordinary Shares in Blinkx plc to the shareholders of Autonomy. The demerger will be effected in connection with a flotation of blinkx. As a result of the demerger Autonomy shareholders will continue to hold their shares in Autonomy.

Shares in Blinkx plc are expected to start trading as a separate company in May 2007. After the demerger and any associated offering, Autonomy is expected to hold approximately 10% of Blinkx plc's ordinary shares."

Autonomy recently reported a doubling of its pre-tax profits and there is also speculation, as it has plenty of cash, is debt free and possesses some valuable software technology, it could itself be a target.

A long time ago AU. was trading at £40

It has been recovering steadily for the last couple of years with a recent short-term high of 774p and analysts expecting further rises to come.

Further info.:-




Saturday, April 28

FTSE falls again - BARC up - Tanfield Electric Trucks Contract

Online Trading - FTSE Down Again

FTSE at two week lows

The FTSE 100 closed at its lowest level for two weeks on Friday. Despite the numerous shares that are up due to takeover bids and/or rumours.

On Friday it fell 50.7 points to close at 6,418.7, a weekly drop of 1%. European shares also fell. This much is true, but I read today (at the Reuters' site) that U.S. stocks were "flat after softer-than-expected first quarter growth", so flat, in fact, that the DOW is an at all-time high and has risen almost every day for the past 3 weeks ! Are people talking rubbish or is it me ?

I also read that the FTSE has been falling because "This week we have become rather obsessive of what's going on in the States. We are seeing some signs of slowdown... worries about China" this time it was Roger Cursley, UK strategist at Investec.

So we are rather obsessed with what's happening in the States, but in the US they aren't. They are quite happy to drive the markets up and from what US commentators are saying they will probably continue higher. Whereas here we seem to be worried that the markets have got too high and are going to fall back, therefore we have fallen back in advance! Is there something I'm not seeing here?

Well clearly there is something because here in the UK we have been falling while in the US the markets have been rising, whereas usually the FTSE follows the DOW around like a sheep. I think I just find the "explanations" illogical. We seem to be worrying more about "what's going on in the US" whatever that might be, whereas in the US on the other hand they seem to be quite happy with what's going on, earnings have been reasonably good, unemployment is not a problem, interest rates may be coming down soon.

I suspect the truth is that no-one knows what's going on, but pundits and analysts get paid for punditing and analyzing, not for saying "don't look at me I ain't got a clue".

On the stocks front Barclays rose 1% as it is expected to lose its bid battle for ABN AMRO and as a result it may itself become a takeover target, as reported here on Friday (somebody's been reading my blog!) - though I heard it first from Roger Nightingale on Bloomberg.

Glaxo (GSK) fell back 1.7% after U.S. regulators said that a high-dose version of Advair was of seome benefit to asthma sufferes but had little impact on overall survival rates.

Electric Trucks

On Monday Tanfield (TAN) launched its 3.5-tonne Edison van, based on the Ford Transit, with an order of eight trucks from Sainsbury. On Thursday it announced it has agreed a contract to supply 50 7.5-tonne trucks to TNT Express. The shares have been rising rapidly since the middle of 2006 and it seems turnover is now starting to follow. is being matched by its turnover.

The 6 year chart looks interesting to say the least. Another one to keep an eye on as it could have a bright future in these energy and pollution conscious times.

Friday, April 27

DOW at another record high - the UK frets about rubbish bins

Online Stock Trading - DOW Closes at All Time High

DOW finishes at another closing all-time high 13,122 NASDAQ at 6 year high

I look forward to London being down again on Monday as they worry about why dustbins (trashcans) are only being emptied once every two weeks

People are saying that once the S&P hits its all time high there should be some profit taking.

DOW up due to consumer sentiment, but the rally was not at all broad based

Investing in Solar Panels

The Nasdaq-listed Chinese Company Suntech has a workforce of 3,500 producing photovoltaic cells for the solar panel industry.

Sales in the industry as a whole are expected to grow by 20% to 40% annually . Suntech's main markets are Japan, Germany and Spain, which require not only that utilities buy solar-generated power but also that they pay more for it than they for electricity from gas or oil.

China itself represented just 10% of Suntech's 2006 sales of $599 million. The cost of the equipment means that in China it is only used in lighthouses, military posts and sites far from power plants. Shi says the Chinese, U.S. and other markets will expand rapidly as governments discover that they have to act to do something about global warming by implementing more and more non-polluting forms of energy. Chinese utilities have been told to generate at least 10% of their power from solar, wind, hydroelectric and other renewable sources by 2010.

Shi started life as a scientist but has developed into a tough-minded businessman. He speaks both English and Chinese (Mandarin and the Shanghainese dialect) According to David Edwards of ThinkEquity Partners he is "a strong CEO who has a strong vision for his company and the future of his industry." Shi left China in the 1980s along with tens of thousands of others. They are now slowly returning, lured by the country's booming economy and the new opportunities.

Suntech is now the world's 4th-largest solar cell maker, as ranked by Photon International, an industry magazine. Japan's Sharp Corp. is No. 1. Other competitors include Q-Cells AG of Germany, Kyocera Corp. of Japan and BP Solar, owned by British oil company BP PLC.

FTSE down DOW up on poor GDP figures in the US - Barclays could lose out to RBS

27 April - 16:55

FTSE down DOW up again

FTSE down 50 because of "lacklustre" DOW (see previous post) and in reaction to weak US GDP figures - strangely however the US is up 14 - so that makes no sense, nevertheless that is what we are being told by the pundits on the TV. But US stocks reversed their decline after data showed consumer sentiment slipped less than forecast, strange that London didn't do likewise.

Mark Mobius (who does talk sense) of Templeton Asset Management was on Bloomberg he says there is not much risk of a recession - mainly due to the employment figures

Roger Nightingale - in addition to agreeing with Mark Mobius also said that in the battle between RBS and BARC for ABN Amro, that RBS will win because they've got more money, but interestingly he went on to say that BARC could become a takeover target itself, as one of the reasons it wanted to buy ABN Amro was to protect itself against a takeover. So BARC could be one to stock up on, as if they don't get ABN Amro (which seems quite plausible), teh share price should recover for the 2 reasons mentioned above, i.e. they will save themselves some money as some people think they are overpaying for ABN Amro and also they might be taken over themselves.

Some Trading Ideas from the US

An interesting idea I have just come across is that stocks that have closed down for 5 or more days in a row and are still above their 200-day m.a.. will show positive returns, on average, one day, two days and one week later. Statistics show that these stocks provide traders with a significant advantage.

Research shows buying stocks that have declined 3 or more days in a row gives you an advantage, plus if you increase this decline to 5, 6 or 7 days that advantage is increased. The same also holds true for the opposite, i.e. consecutive up days, - the stocks underperform the market the next week.

To see a full explanation with figures and charts have a look at this useful site TradingMarkets

Asian Markets down - FTSE down - SPA up ! Saudis arrest 172 terrorists.

27 April 2007 - 13:18

FTSE falls - down 46 due to "lacklustre DOW"

The FTSE fell again weighed down by just about everything. Asian markets fell and the FTSE was up yesterday so maybe we shouldn't expect too much.

According to one pundit shares opened lower in London because of the "lacklustre performance on Wall Street" i.e. it hit an all-time high. They do make you smile sometimes! How much did he get paid to write that?

Mining stocks, of which there are a lot on the FTSE, were among the main losers due to the overnight sell-off in Asia, weaker metal prices and profit taking. The Chinese are apparently off on their hols for a week !

My recent favourite SR Pharma (SPA) keeps ticking up on expectations that a large pharmaceuticals firm will be taking a stake. The rumour now is that it will be in the next 1 - 2 months, which is slightly longer than I expected, but it keeps ticking up so I'll keep hanging on.

The guy from City Index was on CNBC and he recommended YELL as a long-term buy. YELL plummeted over 20% two days ago on bad figures from its US business. He expects it to recover although he did say it may fall a bit further first (I think that's called hedging your bets). It's down again today at 480p, one to watch.

In Saudia Arabia they have just arrested 172 terrorist militants, and seized a load of money. Some of the militants had been training as pilots and there were plans to attack oil rigs (allegedly - I don't want to be sued by our terrorist friends).

DOW futures have sold off on weaker than expected GDP figures at 1.3% in Q1 against a consensus 1.8%. The chain deflator -- a key inflation measure -- ticked higher to 4.0% against consensus 3.2%. Stock reaction has been negative

Thursday, April 26

SR Pharma to change name to Silence Therapeutics - stake building in progress ?

26 April 2007 - 15:30

SR Pharma (SPA) to change name to Silence Therapeutics

This may seem a strange name but there is some logic behind it. The company is involved in
RNA interference (RNAi), which is a revolution in biology. It represents a completely new approach to "silence" disease relevant genes and has the potential to become a whole new class of therapeutic products.

From the company website :-
"RNAi is a naturally occurring mechanism to destroy messenger RNA (mRNA) and thereby reduce expression of proteins involved in pathological processes. The process starts with the cleavage of input dsRNA into 19-23 base pair (bp) short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) by the enzyme Dicer in a processive and ATP-dependent manner. Noteworthy, based on the mode of action RNAi can, in principle, be used against any of the 30 - 40,000 human genes. In contrast to other classes of therapeutics such as proteins, antibodies and small molecules, RNAi requires neither "drugable" domains on the molecular target (e.g. kinase domains) nor specific locations at the cell membrane or extra-cellular.

Furthermore, siRNAs constitutes a well defined chemical entity. Even different siRNAs molecules (sequences) against the same or a different target gene will have similar ADME and toxicology/safety profiles in animals and humans. This implies that once the first siRNAs molecules have been approved for marketing by the regulatory authorities, the development and regulatory process for subsequent siRNAs molecules will be facilitated and more cost efficient. This is not the case for small molecules or antibodies, where each new chemical entity (NCE) commonly has a different composition and synthesis protocol.

The lead identification and optimization of siRNA molecules takes less than 6 months (vs. up to several years for the same process for e.g. small molecules). The significant reduction of the preclinical development time will lead to a faster way to the clinic. Because of these advantages Science magazine has elected both the RNAi molecule and the RNAi mechanism as Molecule of the Year in 2001 and as Scientific Discovery of the Year in 2002, respectively. "

Well that seems clear enough ! There seems to be a lot of interest in SPA - with talk of a major pharmaceutical company taking a stake in the near future. One thing I have noted over the last week or so is that every time they try to take the price down it just comes back up again. There seems to be a seller around 90p but once he/she/it is out of the way the price should move on up. Personally I like the name Silence Therapeutics, I even have another blog called 'The Silent Way', how serendipitous is that ?

And the chart looks impressive, with lots of clear blue sky ahead !

DOW up down up down ! Next stop 15,000 ?

Online Stock Trades - Stock Markets at All Time High

FTSE follows DOW up, almost, then follows it down again

The FTSE was up 40 points earlier in the day now it is down 7 points, playing follow the DOW again, which it had not been doing recently. DOW now down 8, on profit taking no doubt.

One market analyst on CNBC has just said he sees next stop 15,000 for the DOW

FTSE just gone flat on the day and DOW no up 2 ! I wish they would stop moving around while I am typing this stuff !

DOW all-time high - ARM up on good outlook

Online Stock Trading - DOW at All Time High

DOW hits new all-time high at 13,089 FTSE follows up behind up 40

DOW raced through 13,000 yesterday with considerable ease and the FTSE also moved up which is a litle bit odd, as lately the FTSE has shown a distinct lack of enthusiasm despite the DOW raising ahead.

Here in the UK ARM, which has been on my watch list for a while, moved up sharply today. They announced first quarter profits down 13%, but this was expected. They also announced plans to double the dividend for 2007 to 2 p and to increase the share buyback programme to over £100 million, which is a mark of their confidence in their prospects, operating margins rose to 30.3%. Pretax profit for the three months to end March was £21.6 million down from £ 24.7 million a year earlier, revenue rose 3% to £ 66.5 million.

The ARM CEO said 'We are pleased that our first quarter results represent another quarter of robust operational execution and strong cash flow generation against a backdrop of some softness in the semiconductor industry,'

In a conference call, the ARM CFO said he was confident that ARM would continue to grow faster than the semi-conductor industry, which he expects to grow by 5 to 10% in 2007. Revenues, he said, will increase as a result of the growing number of mobile 'smartphones' - which offer e-mail, Web browsing and improved data processing.

The shares are up 5.5% so far today, which is rather annoying given that I have been watching them for a couple of months ! Charts seem to show resistance at 140p and 145p so if they fall back I might be tempted.

Credit Suisse apparently has them rated as a buy up to 160p ‘We are positive on ARM over the longer term, .. .. the combination of growth/cash generation/defensibility is unique in our coverage although we acknowledge there is a lack of near term catalysts. ... investors might be able to find a good entry point if ARM shows any weakness in Q1 results owing to the ongoing inventory correction.’

Well they didn't show any particular weakness but I will hang on for a while more.

Elsewhere in the technology sector Apple beat forecasts and the NASDAQ is at a 6 year high so technology stocks are likely to remain strong (allegedly).

Back in the UK, credit where credit is due. Evil Knievel said he expected more upward movement from Sainsbury (SBRY) (see my previous posts) and he wasn't wrong as it moved up 7% yesterday after a big share purchase after hours. He does have useful contacts after all !

Tuesday, April 24

Most Billionaire Hedge Fund Managers Could Do Better

Online Trading - How Much Do Hedge Fund Managers Make?

Well here is the report on their stock market investment performance for 2006, there was only one who came first so the rest were also ransand we all know what that means!

  1. James Simons, Renaissance Technologies, $1.7 bn (James has been an excellent pupil all year and should do well - although his reliance on computers is rather worrying - he must learn to think independently)
  2. Ken Griffin, Citadel Investment, $1.4 bn (Kenneth has generaly worked well and tried hard, but at times his lack of concentration and his obsession with childish gadgets has led to unnecessary errors)
  3. Edward Lampert, ESL Investment, $1.3 bn (Edward has tended to rest upon his laurels, it is after all not difficult to be the richest person in Connecticut, he must learn to diversify if he is to progress)
  4. George Soros, Soros Fund Management, $950 m (George must try harder - fame is no substitute for hard work!)
  5. Steven Cohen, SAC Capital, $900 m (Steven has clearly let his infatuation with the art teacher distract him - he must buckle down to some hard work and stop frittering away his money on meaningless baubles)
  6. Bruce Kovner, Caxton Associates, $715 million (Bruce should learn to network, trading a 'global macro strategy' is not going to impress anyone and will not make him any friends)
  7. Paul Tudor Jones the Second, Tudor Investment, $690 million (Paul has clearly spent too much time fishing - he would do well to try to emulate some of his harder working peers)
  8. Tim Barakett, Atticus Capital, $675 million (If he wishes to improve Timothy must remember that there is nothing clever about copying Edward)
  9. David Tepper, Appaloosa Management, $670 million (David really hasn't been paying attention, junk bonds, dicey companies ! Investing is not gambling, as his woeful performance so clearly proves)
  10. Carl Icahn, Icahn Partners, $600 million (Carl has been a great disappointment, if he has any interest at all in succeeding, he must learn that having all his fingers in so many pies may look clever but ultimately is not worthwhile - nobody likes a smart ass!)

Poor Housing Numbers Weigh on DOW - FTSE gives up completely

Stock Market Investing DOW Falls


The DOW opened up around 21 while the FTSE was down again. Still a very strange disconnect between the US which just refuses to go down and we wimpy Brits - DOW up 15 out of past 17 sessions FTSE down 4 out of last 5.

Following the poor economic numbers below, the DOW has just gone negative - down 10, while the FTSE is falling back even further now down 67

Consumer confidence index came in at 104 down from 108.2 1 point below consensus forecasts.

Existing homes sales fall 8.4% to 612 m units - largest drop since Jan 1989 - prices fell 0.3% to 217 K $ - due to weather in February and negative impact of subprime

Whirlpool up 7% great numbers especially in Latin America and Europe

Texas Instruments very positive too

In the UK the Times tipped LoknStore as a buy

Lok'n Store is a small company involved in the self-storage sector. Its valuation is around that rival Safestore and 1/3rd the value of Big Yellow Group (BYG). They have a strong site roll-out program and also its a potential takeover target.

The Daily Telegraph recommends Ladbrokes (LAD) this is the second recomendation by different people in the last couple of weeks. Its deal to buy 88 has fallen through and the Telegraph says it could benefit from this. Organic growth may be hard to find, but Ladbroke's is growing abroad and will soon be allowed to advertise on TV after a recent change in UK law. Also a possible bid target itself.

FTSE falls - YELL slumps - RR. and BA. worth a look

24 April 2007 - 12:36

FTSE having another down day - YELL slumps 23% - tips for RR. and BAE

David Buick - he who predicted the intraday FTSE movement to within 1 point about 2 weeks ago - says that today's correction is due to inflation worries in the UK. The Bank of Engand was summoned to the Treasury apparently to explain themselves and no doubt got a jolly good teling off. Consequently interest rates are heading higher here in the UK, possibly much higher than people expect. The market is, however, still in good shape although short-term it may be too high.

The US is doing better than expected, apart from autos and housing. China GDP is good not bad and there will be continued growth in India and Japan as well as China, which will drive the rest of the world. US interest rates won't drop as fast as people think.

Talking about stocks he recommended Rolls-Royce (RR.), he's the second person to recommend this in the past week, and BAE systems (BA.). He says both are highly undervalued, but he recommends them for a 2 year period not a quick punt

With regard to mining stocks he said avoid KAZ, the CEO sold a great chunk recently and it is not one for widows or orphans. He recommended BLT which has published strong figures and, he says, is extremely well run and has 350 projects under consideration at the moment. Also XTA and a smaller stock Griffin Mining (GFM) .

A shocker from YELL

YELL has had a shocking day ! It was down 23% at one point, which is quite amazing for a FTSE 100 company. It is a monopoly and so can't increase prices in the UK, so it has been expanding in the US, but things aren't going according to plan, as it has reported only 3% organic growth, whereas the market expected 8-10%.

Goldman Sachs has downgraded them to 'neutral' from 'buy' with a price target of 454 pence instead of the previous 630p, given that they were trading around 30p below this 630p target maybe they will now trade 30p below the new target of 454p ? Or maybe that's too simplistic.

Goldman has also downgraded its EPS estimates by 8% in 2008 and by 14% in 2009 and has reduced its US organic revenue growth forecasts to 3% in 2008 and 0% in 2009, and flat US revenues thereafter. So, not very positive !

Some people of course think it may bounce, a 23% drop being seen by many as being a bit overdone. And there is still the possibility of a takeover. This has been rumoured in the past and now that it can be bought for 20% cheaper somebody may be interested. You can make your own minds up on that. Personally I'm just glad I don't have any anymore. I did have some a few weeks back, which I sold. I had been considering getting back in, but interestingly BritishBulls had them as a sell so that put me off ! Well done BritishBulls !

Finally BARC was recommended a couple of weeks back as a trading stock by one analyst. He said it is worth buying if it falls back to between 740 and 720 p, well today it's at 715p on its proposed acquisition of ABN Amro, so maybe worth keeping an eye on.

Have a good day !

Monday, April 23

DOW up FTSE down again (yawn) SR Pharma rumours

Online Stock Trading - Stock Markets Down

FTSE down 8 DOW opened down now up 10 S&P up 1

The DOW has had its longest rising streak for over 15 years all good news for online trading , so Iguess it may run out of steam today. The S&P is getting closer to its all-time high of 1527 set 7 years ago during the dotcom bubble. The FTSE still limping along, I was expecting it to be higher today, shows how much I know !

News about my favourite pick SR Pharma (SPA) (see earlier posts) from the Daily Telegraph 22.4.07

Biotech company SR Pharma rose to 88p on talk it may be working on a collaboration deal with a pharmaceutical company, which might take a 10% stake in SPA. The pharmaceutical business is expected to pay between 90p and 110p for its stake, but this will not be announced until after Thursday's EGM.

Another snippet of rumour over on ADVFN is that the co. that may be interested in a stake in SPA is a major drugs company whose name rhymes with Paxo.

On a related note the chart of GSK is looking interesting

It has been given as a 'buy' over on BritishBulls.

Sunday, April 22

SR Pharma stake building and other News from the Weekend Papers

Online Stock Trading - Weekend Stock Market News

Snippets and Stock market News from the Weekend papers

  • Saudi billionaire Maan al-Sanea, is considering increasing his stake in HSBC - well done Maan - my shares might go up ! :-)
  • Two newspapers - Daily Telegraph and Daily Express mention talk of SR Pharma collaboration deal with a pharmaceutical company and/or suggest that a major drugs company would soon buy a large stake in SR Pharma at prices hgiher than Friday's close - good news for me, maybe they've been reading my blog ! Price should rise sharply Monday morning. EGM 26th April when the company will change its name to Silence Therapeutics a strange name, but I like it as it fits in with my philosophy blog 'The Silent Way' - so I'll be watching developments with more than usual interest.
  • Tesco wants to more than treble sales for its new non-food website Tesco Direct over the next two years
  • Chancellor Gordon Brown's mismanagement makes tax rises inevitable, according to Ernst & Young ITEM Club. Hardly a shock as the man has always struck me as being incompetent and an ego-maniac.
  • Scotland Yard detectives believe they have amassed sufficient evidence for Jonathan Powell, the prime minister's most senior aide, to be charged over an alleged cover-up in the cash-for-honours scandal. Slight surprise there that the Labour Party seems to have been caught with its hand in the till so to speak, more incompetence.
  • Ark Therapeutics a tiddler to watch
  • Standard Chartered gains on banking sector bid talk
  • Hopes of good news soon from Northern Petroleum
  • Standard Chartered soars on vague Citigroup bid talk
  • Kelda on course to return 210p-a-share to shareholders
  • Talk of positive study of its potential production lifts D1 Oils
  • Johnson Service up on acquisition talk

Saturday, April 21

Google takeover of rumours on CNBC

21 April 2007 - 14:17

Is there another Google takeover in the air ?

Apparently Jim Cramer mentioned this possibility/rumour on his TV show on CNBC. Google to takeover ? I didn't see the show so I don't know what he said, but it has been mentioned before as far back as 2004 and again in January 2006. If Jim Cramer's talking about it now it may be worth looking into if you are in the US or can buy US stocks. To me it makes sone sense given Google's apparent desire to rule the world (with the help of the Chinese of course). My favourite would be for Google to set up a serious alternative to Ebay which has a quasi-monopoly on the online auction market.

5 year Monster chart from ADVFN

For 11 ways to make yourself look stupid in a job letter or resume - click here

Friday, April 20

Intraday record high for DOW - EVO recommends Aviva shares

Online Stock Trades

The DOW hit an intday record. The NASDAQ reached its highest point in 6 years, the S&P at 6.5 year high just 3% off record high set during the bubble (those were the days!) on 24 March 2000. FTSE up 55 but has hardly moved since this morning

April gain for S&P is biggest monthly gain since 2003

Reasons for the rise as per Mr Pisani

  • good earnings
  • low core CPI
  • shorts have moved out of the way
  • strong demand
  • weak dollar
  • buybacks are strong
  • plenty of M&A activity

Google's excellent results driving the Nasdaq higher.

In the UK, brokers Evolution Securities gives Aviva (AV.) as a buy ahead of figures due out on Tuesday. They expect these may be impressive enough to cause a re-rating of the shares.

Chart looks interesting with a nice gap all the way up to 860p

Aviva just got another recommendation from the guy from Tradindex, I don't like buying before results so I will wait to see what happens Tuesday I think, plus 2 tips in one day for the same share sounds a bit too good ! I'm probably too suspicious - it'll probably rocket Tuesday morning - we shall see.

FTSE joins the market rally - See the Tips from the 'experts'

Online Stock Trading

FTSE up 50 - hooray - onward and upward maybe ? DOW futures up. Asia up overnight.

Investor's Clinic has just been on CNBC, generally they were bullish about the markets. Alpesh Patel gave a buy recommendation on Go-ahead Group (GOG) - Alex Crooke recommended Rolls Royce (RR.)

Elsewhere, Evil Knievel has also been making recommendations. He is well-known in the UK for shorting stocks, with great success (he says), his style is obnoxious and abrasive and there seems to be nothing he enjoys more than gloating while people are losing money on stocks he has shorted. He is an accountant and analyses the fundamentals and balance sheets, so he does know what he's talking about in that area. He occasionally goes long on stocks and here are his recent recommendations

PetroLatina (PELE) - they were de-rated as a result of concerns about its cash and balance sheet position but these concerns turned out to be unfounded. He has undertaken "extensive research" and as a result has bought more shares.

Frontera (FRR), he bought some at 45p and 52p, and it keeps going up. They will soon be drilling in Georgia and his target price if all goes according to plan is £10-£20 a share !

He is still long Sainsbury's (SBRY). He has been told there will be a bid - recently we have been led to believe that there will not be a bid but he appears to have some info on the matter. "Just you wait" he says.

He is still short of KGN - a sub-prime mortgage group in the UK which has already slumped a fair way, but he obviously thinks they have further tof all.

My recent punt on SPA is looking good - they keep trying to take it down but it keeps coming back - great thing are expected over on the ADVFN BB.

Thursday, April 19

DOW hits new all-time high - Google fills its Pockets with more Cash !

Online Stock Trading

DOW finished up 4 at new all-time high

Well I didn't expect it but the DOW did after all reverse its losses and finish up on the day again, at a new all-time high and up 4% since the end of March. This was due to the strength of earnings in the drug sector and strong healthcare and consumer stocks. The DOW has advanced in 13 of the past 14 sessions, despite worries about economic growth in China (it's too strong, not too weak! so inflation rates may be increased)

Google announced more blockbuster results for the last quarter. Ajusted revenue came in at 2.53B v 2.49B estimated - a 65% rise - EPS was $3.68 v $3.30 est. - it also added another 1600 workers and no slowdown is expected in the near to middle term,

Capital One's results however were not so hot. American Express bottom line beat forecasts EPS 0.88 v 0.80 but revenue was less than expected - bottom line was better than forecasts.

AMD reported 85 cent loss per share - revenue 1.23 B v 1.26B - all far worse than anybody had anticipated. Problem is Intel has improved its chips and AMD has big cost base.

Microsoft is selling its software packages for $3 to poor people - I always knew the the guy was a philanthropist ! He only made all those billions for the good of the people, he could have reduced the price of Windows by 90% and only been a millonaire but he knew that a billionaire would be of far greater benefit to the planet ! Allelujah !

Will the FTSE finally manage an up day tomorrow ? It's been down 3 days in a row while the DOW has been htting new highs (people are expecting interest rate rises here) will it finally decide to drop the doom and gloom and head back up or wimp out again and make it 4 down days in a row?

I hope it's the latter 'cause I'm long HSBA and it's getting boring watching it go nowhere !

Art Hogan bullish on markets

Stock Market Investing

Stock Markets
Just a quick reaction on the markets from Stan Stovall from Standard & Poors and Art Hogan from Jefferies, I've mentioned here before that Art Hogan has an uncanny knack of getting things right in so far as concerns market movements. Well at the moment they are both bullish and expect markets to continue with there upward trend. A strong China is a good thing they say, and the worst case scenario is not justified.

I guess an up day on the DOW today might be a bit too much to expect given it's been up 13 out of the last 14, but you never know.

Have a good day !

Stockmarkets go gloom and doom again - DOW and FTSE down

Stock Market Investing

Stock markets flirt with the Gloomy Side

DOW opens up down 31 - FTSE down 23 but off lows (it's been down 3 days in a row while the DOW has been going up - very odd) - Asian markets down overnight - so everyone is gloomy again ! Except that the DOW is at new highs and has been up for 13 out of the last 14 days. Peter Kenny has just said he expects the DOW to be up at 13,000 by the end of May

There is, however, weakness in the residential housing market - paint sales down in DIY market ! And people are starting to talk about China (inflation is up) and the Yen carry trade again ! But earnings so far have been better than expected -

In London, miners were weak, the Chinese are buying so much stuff people have now decided to worry that Beijing might put up interest rates ! What would they worry about if China was contracting instead of expanding - I think people get paid a bonus if they worry, so they have turned worry into into an art form to pay for their expensive lifestyles.

As a result of such worrying there has been 'panic selling' of copper stocks, as the worries led to fears that a slowdown in China's growth might affect commodity prices! There was also some worrying corporate news, with Rio Tinto (RIO) saying output in commodities such as iron ore over the 3 months to the end of March was generally higher than the same time last year ! But UBS said the report was disappointing. It also said it preferred competitor BHP Billiton (BLT), but both of them fell anyway, so not much logic there. Antofagasta (ANTO) and Kazakhmys (KAZ) also fell. Midcap miners also fell with Hochschild Mining the worst, down 17p at 314.5p.

So this could be a good time to buy some mining stocks ? I'll have a look at my charts and see if I like any.

Have a good day !

Wednesday, April 18

DOW at record high - FTSE down - Ebay shines on

Stocks and Shares

The Dow closed at a fresh all-time closing high, due in part to strong results from banking giant JP Morgan Chase which was one of the biggest risers after it revealed a 55% increase in three-month profits. It finished up 31 points at 12,803, the previous record close was 12,786 on 20th February. This rise was the 13th day out of 14 although the advanced/decline line was really narrow and it was only financials that were up, drugs and energy didn't contribute

S&P500 only 15 points away from all time high

The latest official inflation data, released on Tuesday were also cause for optimisim, with core inflation, excluding energy and food costs, rising by just 0.1% in March, compared to 0.2% in February and 0.3% in January. As a result of this fall further US interest rate rises are less likely.

After the bell Ebay annonced more excellent results, beating consensus forecsts with revenue at $439 million v $414 million estimated. It posted a 52% jump in net profit, led by growth in its auctions business and the increasing importance of its international business.

Forecast full-year EPS is $1.30 to $1.34 -- at the top end of analysts' predictions of $1.27 to $1.34.

In the UK we finished down 47 points, no doubt because we are a country of wimps. I expect more wimpish behaviour tomorrow. :-(

Strangely my most recent punt - SPA - is still moving up !

Tuesday, April 17

US CPI good news - DOW up - FTSE down - SR Pharma interesting

Online Stock Trading

DOW up 20 FTSE down 28

The US came up trumps with good inflation news the core CPI rose just 0.1% . The DOW is rising, but the FTSE although is off its lows is refusing to join in the fun (probably because I bought some HSBC yesterday).

Another one you may wish to check out is SR Pharma (SPA)

7 year chart looks exciting

It seems to have had problems in the past !

But the 6 month chart looks promising - especially as it has just broken out above its old resistance at 82p

FTSE runs out of steam - oh dear - waits for US again

Stock Market Investing

The FTSE turned south around 9:30 after yesterday's 6-1/2 year. We are now nervously waiting for key inflation data from the US, apparently. The UK inflation data wasn't good which is why we turned south presumaby.

The FTSE is down 44 at the moment after closing yesterday at 6,516.2, its highest level since August 2000. Volume is low. Mining stocks BHP Billiton (BLT), Antofagasta (ANTO) Anglo American (AAL) are all down on 'profit-taking' though if 'they' stopped taking profits so often the prices would rise higher and 'they' would save themselves a packet on dealing costs! Hmmmmm.

So at the moment, we are waiting for the US to save our bacon again.

Monday, April 16

Stock markets up - back to recent highs

Stock Market Investing

DOW up 67 NASDAQ up 16 S&P up 10 FTSE up 44

DOW up 11th time in 12 sessions Back ot its -pre-February plung levels S&P near 7 year high

Everything is looking rosy all of a sudden. The US financials are a lot better, corporate earnings are good (nearly half the DOW will be reportin gearnings this week), economic data is trong, and there is a lot of M&A activity.

In the UK the banks are strong gainers

RBoS was up 60p at 2,083p, Barclays up 8p at 751.5p.

Bradford & Bingley 8p higher at 467p, SAN added 18p to 1,497p, Lloyds TSB 7.5p higher at 582p.

HSBC rose 12p to 931p - Maan Abdulwahed Al-Sanea's a Saudi investor increased his stake above the 3% which requires disclosure, with 3.11% he is now the bank's second-largest shareholder, the largest being Barclays.

So well done to me for buying in on Friday ! :-)

Another one to watch Catlin Group rose 8.25p to 519p after Numis increased its target to 585p from 555p and repeated its 'add' rating. One to watch because it also figures in the 'possible breakouts' site highlighted earlier today.

FTSE up and looking good for further gains

Online Stock Trading - FTSE Up

FTSE up 34 and rising after the strong economic figures out from the US at 13:30.

Retail sales +0.7 a bit better than expected there were also huge revisions to last month's figures 0.5 v 0.1

Empire State Manufacturing 3.8 (April) v 1.85 (March)

BMY is up 6.5% today - pity I didn't buy them on Friday when I was thinking about it :-( Harry Potter - maybe they'll drop back a bit

House prices rising fast or slow depending on who you listen to !

Online Stock Trading - Investing in Property

House prices rising sharply or not so sharply!

House prices have been chugging along nicely or they have been starting to cool, all depending on who you listen to ! According to Rightmove prices in England and Wales rose at the fastest rate in almost 4 years. So, surprisingly, the interest rate increases have had little effect on the market.

Prices rose 15% between 11th March and 7th April, which is a sharp increase on the 12.2% of the previous month and the fastest annual increase since May 2003.

Prices rose an impressive 3.6% over the month, the fastest increase since April 2002. The average prices for a house is now £236,490.

However, according to the Nationwide house prices increased in January by 0.3%, the smallest rate increase for 8 months. This cuts the annual increase rate to 9.3%, down from 10.5% in December. This means according to the Nationwide that the market is showing its first signs of cooling after the recent interest rate rises.

Bank of England Governor Meryvn King would like to see house prices rise more slowly, but so ar he hasn't had much success in curbing them.

Rightmove said the fact that this is a very popular time for home moving has caused prices to rise but the market may cool later in the year, but they've been saying that for years. There are now mortgages on anything between 6 times and 10 time incomes available for some people. Personally, I suspect that mortgage repayment periods will also extend at some point to 30 or 40 years or longer, like they already do in Japan. You heard it here first !

The survey also shows that there are wide differences in regional prices. Prices in expensive areas such as Kensington and Chelsea in London rose almost 90% over the year, whereas in Wales prices rose 6%.

According to official government figures house prices have risen 12.2% over the last year.

According to the Nationwide spokeswoman they expect house prices to rise between 5 and 8% and in fact closer to 5%.

So all in all the figures are very confusing, but personally it seems to me the Nationwide has got it wrong, which would not surprise me at all, as I've got an account with them and I know what they're like.

Friday, April 13

Invest in Harry Potter ? Seventh book due soon - Record sales expected

Online Trading - Alternative Investments

Is this a good time to invest in Harry Potter's magic ?

J K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series, goes on sale on July 21, and according to UK bookseller Waterstone's and US bookstore Barnes & Noble the interest has been "phenomenal". The figures are impressive, pre-orders have already beaten the record 100,000 set for the sixth book at Waterstone's. Barnes & Noble said it has had over 500,000 pre-orders and expects this to increase to 1 million. reports over 485,000 pre-orders and it too expects this to increase to a million or more.

Full details here First Editions

From an investing point of view this could benefit the UK publisher Bloomsbury (BMY) - the share price has been falling steadily for months now, but this news could give it a lift, although it may be a short-term lift as we approach the publication date for the book of 21 July.

Seven year chart - ouch

The three month chart looks a bit better !

Could be worth keeping an eye on - looks like a golden cross just formed - short-term could be interesting - longer term there are those who have their doubts. What do they do once Harry Potter is finished? Can they count on J K Rowling to write them another blockbuster ?

Home : Buy Stocks Online

The Ten Best Financial Stocks

13 April 2007 - 20:53

The 10 best US financial stocks according to 26,000 investors over at Motley Fool are

Amerisafe AMSF
Manulife Financial
Tower Group
Brookfield Asset Management
Meadowbrook Insurance
Jones Lang LaSalle
Philadelphia Consolidated

I know very little about US financial stocks, and nothing about the 10 in the list which are by all accounts not very big.

Back on the stock markets - the DOW closed at the highs of the day again up 59 - DOW and S&P at six-week highs, so somebody seems to be buying, despite all the problems.

  • Global demand for stocks is high
  • M&A activity is high
  • Companies keep on buying back their own stocks

Good news for me as I got some HSBA before the close - kiss of death no doubt - but roll on Monday !

DOW falls on poor University of Michigan Consumer Confidence Numbers

Internet Stock Trading - DOW Falls

DOW falls on poor consumer confidence numbers - Investor Eyes up HSBA
Markets rose on Core PPI remaining unchanged, although February was revised upward and energy inflation still a problem, but then turned on the University of Michigan consumer confidence numbers whih came in at 85.3 against expectations of 88.

At the moment the DOW is down 8 and the FTSE is up 20 (it was up 30 earlier). I almost convinced myself to buy some HSBA but decided to hang on till the UoM numbers came out, so now it's more head-scratching. Defensive stocks like drugs are doing well, but so are airlines and railroads, so people still don't know what they're doing!

The stock charts looks good to me

and there was a golden cross a couple of days ago, so I'll watch the action towards the end of the day to see what happens.

FTSE rises - markets wait for US economic data

Online Stock trading - Stock Markets Flat

FTSE up slightly +18 after DOW's rise yesterday, once again nothing much happening, Friday is apparently known as traders' graveyard day. Earnings start in earnest next week. It's a dull day. Check out the Trading goddess in my links she always brightens things up.

Some interesting advice from two experts in CNBC :

Ian Morley from Dawney, Day is :
  • generally negative on the markets - says take profits -
  • go short FTSE from here and buy back in a couple of weeks -
  • short metals/miners -
  • bullish on property and brokers in India, Ukraine, Germany, New York -
  • thinks UK housebuilders are toppy -
  • top tip 'think laterally' buy what other people don't want - recommended book Liar's Poker

Justin Urquhart Stewart from Seven Investment says
  • there should be more consolidation in smaller companies in house building sector, unfortunately he didn't give a name -
  • says BP is a great trading stock, buy on weakness wait for it to come back to 540 - 520 (it's 576p at the moment) -
  • wait for a bit before going short FTSE but it should fall back soon -
  • re. metals/miners wait for copper prices to come back down before buying into commodity stocks -
  • buy property in Macau

Stock markets are waiting for more economic data from the US, according to some people have been taking profits recently waiting for the economic news today, if it is good they may well go long into the weekend.

Thursday, April 12

No Matter What They Say - House Size Matters when it comes to CEO Boardroom Performance

Internet Stock Trading - Investing in Property

Size Matters when It Comes to CEOs Living Habits

In fact the bigger your house the worse your performance. Could it be that guys with little ones try harder ? Or maybe they're so busy trying hard they don't have time to go out and get a big one?

Finance professors Crocker Liu of Arizona State University and David Yermack of New York University came up with some interesting results when they looked into the relationship between a company's stock performance and the size of a CEO’s house.

They examined the stock performance of homes of 432 CEOs and the results were quite dramatic, in fact in Yermack's words they are "stronger than than any other variable". What they discovered is that CEOs with modest homes do much better than CEOs with larger homes. CEOs with larger bomes tend to sell stocks and options to purchase them. The average home size (for a CEO - not for the Joe Blows of this world like me and myself) is 5,600 sq. ft (hmm where's my tape measure?) CEOs who go for larger homes tend to buy well over 6,000 sq. ft. or purchase extensions to make them bigger! (How pathetic is that?)

The reasons are numerous and all hypothetical as no-one really knows why they do it. There could be personal issues, such as the need to show off or to compensate for feelings of inferiority! Family issues, such as more children, more wives etc... or ego-related such as the need to impress the neighbours, or financial such as the CEO having some inside info about the company and deciding that bricks and mortar are a better long-term investment than paper investments in his/her own company.

The survey showed that when the CEO owns a 'trophy home', there is a greater likelihood that his company’s stock is underperforming. Liu and Yermack looked at the addresses of 432 CEOs of S&P 500 companies (apparently all this information is available on the Internet - how many hors did that take?). They discovered that 12% lived in homes of at least 10,000 sq. ft. Stock in the companies of those in the largest homes lagged behind those of CEOs who lived in smaller homes by 7% on average.

  • The worst performer was Steven Goldman, former CEO of Power-One. His company stock fell over 30% in 2000, while he was buying a 12,000 sq. ft. beachfront property in Malibu. A good investment basically, as the price of his luxury pad was rising while his company's share price was falling.
  • Robert Nardelli, CEO of Home Depot, bought a 19,000 sq. ft. mansion in Atlanta and spent even more money making it bigger after his appointment as CEO in 2001. His company's stock fell 5% in 2005 compared to arise in the S&P 500 of 3%.

As Yermack put it "Many of these guys have been super performers, but at some point that stops, and they reap the benefits."

Interesting stuff, it would be interesting to know if this applies to lifestyles in general, perhaps it is better to invest in CEOs who are more intereted in making money than in spending it. Warren Buffett for example is well-known for living very frugally. I rest my case (if you wish to find evidence to support it please do). But in future I'll be boning up on what CEOs do with their money, in fact that would be a good idea for a website.

DOW turns positive after weak start

Internet Stock Trading - DOW Up

DOW up 13 FTSE down 8 NASDAQ up 9

Markets were down but have just turned positive, but it all seems a bit dull, maybe this is a good sign, as Art Hogan did say while the market was so volatile a while back that what we needed to see was stability, which would be a sign it is time to get back into the markets.

Retail sales were good but no reaction, not much enthusiasm, everybody seems to be hanging around waiting for earnings next week.

On the equities front the people on the ADVFN BB are expecting news on PET (oil) on Sunday, when the King of Jordan is expected to sign an agreement which has been awaited a long time. I've heard it all before but I'll be keeping an eye open for news on Sunday.

PartyGaming (PRTY) was 1.25p higher at 56.25p after seeing customer numbers increase 11% in March.

1 year chart

3 month chart

An interesting chart - and even tempting for online stock trading addicts !

Wednesday, April 11

DOW drops after FED inflations fears

Internet Stock Trading

DOW finished down 89 at 12484

The markets will be driven by what happens in earnings seasons which gets underway next week. Expectations are low so surprises are likely to be to the upside, though if there are any negative surprises I suspect that will come as quite a shock to the markets. The FED today indicated it is unlikely there will be a rate cut any time soon, due to inflation risks, which weighed on the markets. Semiconductors and telecomms were weak, homebuilders too.

Genentech's earnings have beaten estimates 74c eps against 67c expected and 100 million dollars more earnings than expected.

RIMM numbers were not as good as expected 930.4 m v 935m - eps also missed by 1 cent - guidance in line with expectations.

In the UK the FTSE finished 4 lower after being positive most of the day - tomorrow will probably open down too.

The new M&A story is now Prudential (PRU) rumour has it that HSBC is on the verge of making an announcement. Prudential shares rose as much as 12p or 1.6% higher around 1:30 pm, though they ended the day up only 3p at 752p. Watch this space ?

Got £5m to spare - £5m houses in central London increasing by £100k a month !

Stock Market Investing - Investing in Property

FTSE slightly up but generally quiet after the Easter break. After the volatility of recent weeks the markets seem to have become strangely subdued. So I've been looking into the housing market.

It appears that upmarket houses in London have risen in price by almost 33% in the last year, which means that a £5m home has risen about £100,000 a month, every month for the past year! Nice work if you can get it! This is the highest increase in 28 years, so much for the property crisis.

Estate agent Knight Frank said the city's most expensive areas saw prices rise over 3% in March, the highest monthly rate of growth on record. This is due to the shortage of "top-end" property and high international demand. Supply of property fell by 27% compared to February, while the number of prospective purchasers rose by 16%. Prime property in central London has now increased for twenty-seven months in a row. The last time prices fell was back in December 2004.

Chelsea and St John's Wood are among the best-performing areas. Houses have outperformed flats, with houses increasing in price by 3.9% in March compared to 2.2% for flats.

How do people afford them ? Well some mortgage lenders are now offering some first-time buyers mortgages of 6 times salary. It used to be around 3 times. High street banks are lending these high amounts to people desperate to get on the property ladder. The buyers do however have to meet strict "affordability criteria" and often have to be earning in the region of £100,000 or accept long-term fixed rate mortgages. Loans to first-time buyers have however dropped to a near 2-year low, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, which I guess explains why banks are increasing the amounts they will lend . Six times £100,000 wil only get you an average sort of house or more likely a flat in central London.

I've got to admit I'm surprised they haven't started offering Japanese style mortgages yet, which are handed down through the family and can run for 50 or 60 years.

On the FTSE property stocks have been falling as Lehman Brothers downgraded the European real estate sector to 'neutral' from 'positive' and cut price targets across the board by around 4 pct. They downgraded Land Securities, British Land, Hammerson, and Slough Estates to 'equal-weight' from 'overweight'. British Land fell 21 to 1,561, Slough Estates fell 4 to 797, Land Securities fell 33 to 2,165 and Hammerson fell 47 pence to 1,665 (it also went ex-dividend this morning.)

Kensington Group (KGN) continued its impressive recent slide after another profits warning

I guess at some point it's got to start looking cheap but given what happened to some US subprime mortgage lenders I will be keeping my powder dry.

Thursday, April 5

Takeover Candidates in UK Housing

Stock Market Investing - Shares to Watch

Ceri Jones over at iii has just written an interesting article on takeover candidates in the UK housing market.

The main candidates appear to be Redrow (RDW), Bellway (BWY) and Bovis (BVS) and Oakdene Homes (OKD) . As it is quite a long article it is better if I just put up the link as I don't want to be accused of anything unpleasant !
On the markets the DOW looks like it will be flat - FTSE is up 20 after the BoE decision - markets are closed tomorrow so probably nothing much going to happen today. But the volatility of recent times seems to have gone away, which is what Art Hogan was wanting to see so maybe onward and upward from here - my prediction/guess the rally continues next week ! I think I've got about 4 out of 9 guesses right so far !

The Bugatti at the top is the fastest factory-built car in the world - 253 mph - you can see Jeremy Clarkson try it out in the videos on the right !

Bank of England leaves interest rates unchanged

Online Stock Trading

Marc Rivalland from the Investors' Chronicle just gave an interesting technical analysis of the DOW and other markets. Basically, DOW is half way between all-time high and February lows and it has just closed above 12,500 . In addition to this some some European markets, notably the DAX and the FTSE 250 have made new highs for the year, he therefore believes that the scenario is bullish and the DOW will follow suit, and presumably the FTSE100 too.

The DOW was considered cheap at last Friday's low of 12,242 so as long as it stays above that then the bullish scenario is still in tact, if that support is broken then he would be adopting a bearish stance. So all pretty clear and straightforward.

The markets have been watching the paint dry on their PCs, as the UK is waiting for the BoE interest rate decision at mid-day, most are expecting rates to remain unchanged, although apparently 8 of 32 economists believe the MPC will raise the rate to 5.50 pct. Volume is fairly light ahead of the Easter weekend.

UK house prices according to the Halifax rose more than expected in March by 1% on a seasonally-adjusted basis in March, analysts were only expecting 0.5%. , good news for those with a house! Except of course you still have to live somewhere even if you sell it.

UK manufacturers on the other hand suffered their worst month in over a year with manufacturing output falling by 0.6% in February compared with analyst expectations of 0.3% rise, the worst figures since October 2005.

Vodafone fell again, down to 136.5, as it announced it is buying only 52% of Indian mobile operator Hutchison

Tuesday, April 3

Consumer data drives up DOW - Germany at new high !

Stock Market Investing

DOW up 128 FTSE up 39

DOW storming ahead FTSE limping along behind, the strange disconnect between the two continues. The US is up so much apparently because of good consumer data + airlines are strong + home contracts are strong - which indicates that the consumer holding up very well which is just what the bulls need to show that things aren't falling apart. Germany and China are at new highs, quite amazing really given all the doom and gloom of the last few weeks!

Back in the good ole UofK it has just been revealed by a bank insider from the Yorkshire Bank that the cost of dealing with current account defaults is only £2 ($4 approx.) whereas the banks actually charged £25 ($50) for the privilege of telling you that you have no money ! Some banks charged £39 ($78) but they were the ones where the CEO earned £3 million a year so it's understandable really, someone's got to pay his wages.

The anonymous employee was a business analyst with the bank, whose job it was to "calculate the precise timings and costings of a series of tasks carried out by the data input office." The Office of Fair Trading recently announced that banks are not allowed to profit from penalty charges, they are only allowed to recover their costs. So no doubt we will now see their charges drop to £2 (ha ha).

On the UK markets, the German utility co. E.On has dropped its £28.7bn bid for Spanish rival Endesa. This could mean that it will take a closer look at the UK. The likely targets appear to be - Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) or Centrica (CNA) although according to one trader it won't be "Centrica, National Grid or British Energy as there are competition issues on supply, distribution and generation respectively,' 'What's left? SSE is the glaring one. ... there might be a few competition issues on the edges but it wouldn't be a deal-breaker.'

So keep an eye on SSE ? It rose to 1620p at one point in the morning - now 1585p.

10 year chart is impressive !

6 month chart shows some resistance at 1592 or thereabouts

Monday, April 2

DOW ends positive despite bad news

Stock Market Investing - DOW Rises

DOW finished up 28 despite three pieces of bad news.

First there were concerns about 'Alt-A' mortgages, these are the next rung up after Subprime mortgages. Second the ISM index came in weaker than expected, although still above 50.0. Third Mr Poole from the FED said there is a "high hurdle" to get over before any interest rate cuts.

So all in all the market didn't do too badly when faced with this batch of bad news.

Tate & Lyle given as a Buy

Online Stock Trading - Shares to Watch

FTSE up 15 - telecoms up miners down (profit taking they say) Just quick update as I'm busy with the day job at the moment. The guy from City Index has just recommended Tate & Lyle as a buy based on some software they use called Apollo (must find out what it is!) if I understood him right he reckons it could be undervalued by about 15%

1 yr chart looks interesting