Monday, June 30

Ebay Sued Again

Online Trading - Ebay Fined $61 Million

In a decision which has huge implications for Ebay, a French court has ordered it to pay €38.6m ($61m) to LVMH the luxury goods group for allowing the sale of fake goods such as Louis Vuittonhandbags on its auction site. Ebay immediately lodged an appeal against the decision “in the name of its customers”.

This decision comes just a month after another French court ordered Ebay to pay Hermes €20,000, also for allowing the sale of counterfeits. This is but the latest episode in Ebay’s fight with luxury goods makers.

”We will fight all these decisions in the name of Ebay users, and we have decided to appeal,” Ebay said.

”If counterfeit goods are put up for sale on our site, we scrap them as soon as possible.”

EBay also said that LVMH has a hidden agenda, namely protecting “commercial practices that exclude all competition.”

LVMH claimed the damages because it says Ebay’s French site had failed to do enough to prevent sales of counterfeit goods.

Today’s ruling concerned separate cases brought by several different LVMH brands – LVMH and Dior Couture, and perfume brands Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy and Kenzo.

Ebay has also been sued by jewellers Tiffany. Tiffany claims that Ebay also did not do enough to prevent sales of counterfeits, and Ebay also faces action from L’OrĂ©al regarding the sale of perfumes.

The issue has significant implications for Ebay in particular but also for online commerce in general.

Ebay is accused of encouraging forgers by providing a ready marketplace for vendors to sell fake goods.

Ebay argues that it has increased its fight against counterfeits via programs that track sales patterns by particular vendors and also be VeRO (verified rights owners), a system designed to help block sales of counterfeit goods.

Ebay, which had sales of about $60 billion last year, says it has only a limited responsibility and also only a limited ability to control what people sell on its site. Ebay has also been sued by the “conseil des ventes”, which represents offline French auctioneers. They claim Ebay is trying to get round laws regulating auctions by claiming to be a “broker”.

All in all it looks like difficult times ahead for Ebay, which has not endeared itself to many people since it set up business. It consistently annoys the manufacturers of genuine goods by claiming it has little control over what is sold on its site and encouraging manufacturers to police Ebay themselves and report any suspicious looking items. It also annoys the people who sell on Ebay by constanly increasing commissions, thereby forcing them to find other sites on which to sell their goods.

Ebay 3-year Chart

Sunday, June 29

Weekend Newspaper Share Tips

Online Stock Trading - Weekend Newspaper Share Tips

Share tips from the newspapers this weekend


· Portfolio review – some nasty surprises; average fall 14.6% (Smiths Group, Smith & Nephew, Rexam, Capita Group, Johnston Press, BPP, Wolfson Microelectronics, Northern Foods)

Other News
Rumours of rights issue by Legal & General played down
Tiddler to watch - Sinclair Pharma
Defensive shares. Buy Shire and BAT

Avoid Carnival at £15.79
Buy Porvair at 111.25p
Buy Micro Focus International at 268p

Midas :

Buy Halma at 204.25p
Hold Oxford Instruments

Friday, June 27

Newspaper Share Tips Investors Chronicle

Online Stock Trading - Newspaper Share Tips


· Shares that should thrive in a credit crunch:

Cattles, Provident Financial, PayPoint, International Personal Finance, Albermarle & Bond, Payzone, Begbies Traynor, Tenon, Vantis, S&U, H&T, Fairpoint, Islamic Bank of Britain, Park, Davenham, London Scottish Bank, Onvocas

Buy – Capita, Morgan Sindall, Accsys Technologies, Beazant Resources, Radicle Projects
Sell – Ark Therapeutics

Tips Updates
Buy – BG, Sibir Energy
Sell – HBOS

Company Results
Good Value –Trifast, Caretech, Porvair, Electron, Creston, Sanderson
Buy –Chemring, Celsis, Petrel, Victoria, First Property, Idox, Geong, GMA resources
Fairly-Priced –Roxi Petroleum, Consort Medical, Western Canadian Coal, GW pharmaceuticals, RPC, Norcross, ACM Shipping, Zambezi Resources, Thomas Cook
High-Enough –Kesa, Safestore, Ashtead, Gooch & Housego

Small Talk
· Indian power play (KSK Power)

Other news
· Power struggle damages Meldex
· Inmarsat up on rumours of bid by Harbinger consortium


Too soon to buy DSG International
Buy – Scott Wilson

TeleSet Networks

Other news
· Wild rumor in New York - Chrysler may have to file for bankruptcy


Avoid – David S Smith
Buy – Cosalt

Other news
· FTSE slides to lowest since March


Sell – Standard Chartered
Buy – United Business Media

Dow falls 358 points to 11453, Nasdaq dropped 79 to 2321, S&P down 38 to 1283
OPEC warns oil prices could be as high as $170/barrel this summer as Libya says it might cut output

Goldman Sachs says Citigroup will have to write down $9-billion in Q2
Labour slumps to bottom spot of 5th place in Henley by-election and loses deposit - finishes behind the Green Party and the BNP ! (My prediction they will boot out Brown before next General Election and Harriet Harman will go on her knees to Tony Blair and beg him to move back in to number 10 !)

To see what will happen to markets on July 3rd according to Bill McLaren see Technical Analysis

Thursday, June 26

Expert Chart Analysis for Beginners

Stock Market Investing - S&P500 Chart Analysis for Beginners by an Expert

Bill McLaren was on CNBC yesterday with his technical analysis of where the markets are going. If you want to know who Bill McLaren is check out his website McLaren Report - he has an excellent reputation – and he also makes it very simple - so here goes, all the opinions are Bill McLaren's.

Talking about the S&P500 he says that back in May we saw a false break top which he had forecasted would represent the end of an intermediate bounce back rally in a bear trend, i.e. the trend is still down but there was a bounce which has now ended.

He also said that in a down trend, any rally in the index would not be more than 4 days until we see a low. Rallies have been 3 days in duration. This, he say, is the way markets behave in a trend.

Forget about anything complicated - trends are the “Name of this Game.” If an index is trending strongly any rallies against the trend only last 1 to 4 days – that’s how simple it is !

He said the index needed to come back and test the lows of January/March. When he says ‘test’ he means stop marginally above the low or marginally below it. Once the low has been tested there will be a rally of 7 to 11 trading days after which the index will fall back and re-test the lows. If the low holds this time round then the index will transition into a 2-month sideways move which he says will be choppy. If instead of bouncing of the low it starts to trend below it, then 1180 could be the next target. He expects the end to the current move down will be around 3rd July (5 trading days away), which is when he expects to see an 11 day rally.

The price level for the next low is difficult to predict but he expects the downward trendline to be broken thus leading to a spike down to a capitulation low although this won’t be as large as the January spike. The low could be anywhere between 1296 and 1234 and he says 1276 is ‘interesting’. (Today 26 June 11 a.m. NY Time - the S&P500 has already put in a low at 1296 – down 26).

He said IF Tuesday was a low (and it was) that would be bearish and any rally would last 7 trading days only after which it would make a strong run back down to marginally below the March low (1257).

All fascinating stuff. So, if I have understood him correctly - around 3rd July we should get a 7 trading day rally after which the markets will fall back to their March lows or slightly below.

Home : Buy Stocks Online

Related post : stocks and shares for beginners

Magazine Newspaper Share Tips

Online Stock Trading - Magazine and Newspaper Share Tips


· Director buys: – Great Portland – Galliford Try – National Express – Xstrata Topps Tiles – JD Wetherspoon – City of London Investment Group –Marks & Spencer

Buy – MDM Engineering, SciSys
Buy –

African Eagle in talks with TWP

Mining Stock
Caledon Resources

Oil & gas Stock
Energy XXI

Sector review (retailers)
Best Buys – N Brown, John David Group, Mothercare
Steer clear – Moss Bros, Signet, Marks & Spencer.

Qataris have 10% of Barclays


· Hold – WS Atkins
· Avoid – Assura
· Pass on Renold

· Forum Energy

Other News

Grontmij may be bidder for White Young Green

Wednesday, June 25

Questor Tempus Newspaper Share Tips

Online Stock Trading - Newspaper Share Tips


Hold – Ashtead
Avoid – Kesa Electricals
Avoid – Safestore

Egdon Resources

Other News
MBO rumours boost JJB Sports


Hold – Kesa Electricals
Buy – Ashtead


Buy – Bunzl
Buy – Chemring
Buy – Regal Petroleum


Manganese Bronze has produced prototype London black cab in China Nigel Wray and Stephen Hemsley Directors of Domino’s Pizza reduce their stakes
FED is expected to leave interest rates at 2% and also to avoid givng any signal of any imminent rate rises
Anglo American to invest £200-million in a platinum mine in Zimbabwe, (how to win friends and influence people !)
Nationwide slashes interest rates for poorest customers


Interested in getting a remortgage - get the information you need from remortgage deals

Sunday, June 22

Sheikh Claims $80M from Barclays

Online Stock Trading - Sheikh's $80 million Claim Against Barclays

Claims made by a member of the royal family in Qatar concerning an alleged $80 million fraud at Barclays could surface up again as Barclays tries to raise funds from Qatar.

According to the Sunday Times a billionaire sheikh, from Qatar's Al Thani family, is claiming that Barclays were negligent in allowing one of the sheikh’s employees to help himself to around 4 million euros a month from an account in Marbella.

The allegations are that this took place from December 2001 to early 2003, and it is thought that the sheikh will be increasing pressure to have the claim settles as the QIA prepares to acquire a stake in Barclays..

Expectation are that the bank will announce plans to raise $8 billion from a number of outside investors, including the QIA, Temasek, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and the China Development Bank.

The QIA appears to be so far unaware of the alleged fraud, although if they read the papers it is hard to see why this would be the case.

According to the sheikh a former employee, Gerald Gouallier, fraudulently set up a joint account at the Marbella branch of Barclays Bank, using documents that he had not signed.

The bank did not demand any proof of identity and did not require his presence at any signing process.

Gouallier moved cash between the fraudlent account and a genuine account. 29 million euros was withdrawn, and an additional 20 million euros were transferred to other accounts.

The sheikh says Barclays never contacted him about the huge amounts invlved even though he was supposed to be a co-signatory.

The sheikh alleges gross negligence by Barclays saying that they did not adhere to standard money-laundering regulations.

The sheikh also claims that a manager at the Marbella branch was involved in the alleged fraud.

Gouallier and the manager are being investigated by police in Spain.

Spanish police support the sheikh’s statement that his signature was forged.

The sheikh says that he is still owed about €42m.

Barclays have refused to comment on the case, so I will too.

Friday, June 20

Alternative Investments First Editions

Online Trading - Alternative Investments - First Edition Books

If you are looking for an alternative investment in these difficult times then you could do worse than to look into the world of First Edition Books and Art.

Bloomsbury auctions are organizing an auction of works by Mark Twain, Kate Greenaway and Arthur Rackham and many more in New York on June 25, with viewing of the books and illustrations on offer from June 21 - 24. So if you have nothing to do this weekend go along and see what's on offer. Fpr further information and the catalogue see : First Edition Books

Investors Chronicle Questor Tempus Tips

Online Stock Trading - Newspaper Share Tips - Investors Chronicle, Questor, Tempus


Buy – BTG, Low & Bonar, Datong, Emed Mining, Northern Bear at 97p
Sell – Tesco

Buy – Aero Inventory, Lamprell
Sell – XXI Century Investments

Buy – Brulines, ILX Group, Ten Alps, Focus Solutions,, OMG, Halma
Sell – Carphone Warehouse, CML Microsystems

Hold – Cadbury
Avoid for now - Accsys Technologies
Norcross – 13% dividend only attraction

Circle Oil

Other news
Rumours that Leed Petroleum will announce positive drilling results at Eugene Island

Bid rumours lift CoffeeHeaven


Buy – Go-Ahead Group
Hold – Mulberry


Rumours of 55p bid for CoffeeHeaven

Other news
Kesa Electricals up on Best Buy bid hopes


Buy – Go-Ahead
Hold – Cadbury
Hold – Cattles

Other news

BG benefits from upgrade and Shell bid rumours
Coffeheaven benefits from Whitbread bid speculation

David Ross, Co-founder of Carphone Warehouse has sold large part of his holding
Credit crunch leads to crash of 170 hedge funds in three months

Thursday, June 19

Warren Buffett $600M Profit

Online Stock Trading - Warren Buffett Could Soon be $600 Million Richer

Warren Buffett - may be in line for a profit of $600 million if InBev’s takeover of Anheuser Busch is successful.

Berkshire Hathaway, of which Buffett is the CEO had around 35 million shares in AB on 31st March. At the low point the stake was worth around $100 million below the $1.7 bn that he paid for them, but if the $65 share bid is successful his stake would be worth $2.3 bn not a bad return on a 3 year investment.

Buffett is the main shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway, a company which he transformed from a maker of suit linings into a $200 bn company with activities ranging from making sweets to insurance. Berkshire made $13.2 bn last year and has a share portfolio worth $72.6 bn.

Buffett is ranked by Forbes magazine as the world’s richest person and is famous for investing in companies with a long-term competitive advantage, and holding them for years or even never selling them. In the long-term the stockmarket goes up so Buffett sees no need to lighten up if his investment decisions have prved to be sound. Berkshire Hathaway is the largest stockholder in Coca-Cola in which it made its first investment back in 1988.

Ronco Says Charts Looks Weak

Online Stock Trading - S&P500 Looking Weak Could Drop Back to 1100

Charts Analysis

Riccardo Ronco Technical Analyst with Billings Ramsay and Friedmans International has just been on CNBC talking about charts - basically in his technical analysis of the charts he continues to see bearish patterns on all major indices in particular for the S&P500 he said :

The new high seen in May is not confirmed by the advance/decline lines, this indicates weakness, other indices show similar signals and overall the picture is pretty bleak, volume on rallies is lower than on declines - short term he sees the S&P dropping to 1300 with a rebound to only 1350/70 – the relief rally is now over and for September/October he expect the S&P to be at 1170/1200

Nasdaq he expects to see at 2000/2050 with the DOW at 10800/11000

Newspaper and Magazine Share Tips

Online Stock Trading - Newspaper Share Tips


Hold HSBC, RBS, Standard Chartered,

Avoid B&B, A&L, HBOS

Charts – Buy RBS (target 346p, stop-loss 210p) Buy Bank of Georgia (target $35, stop-loss $24.80)

Buy – Redstone, Qinetiq

Plays Update
Hold – Cape

Oil & Gas
Elixir Petroleum
Mining stock
Chaarat Gold Holdings


Avoid - Misys
Avoid - Woolworths
Buy – Caretech

Other news
Matica may announce contracts worth nearly £800,000


Sell - Sainsbury
Hold - Misys

Hold Mouchel, Thomson Reuters and Trifast


Panmure says Hikma Pharmaceuticals could receive a bid at 660p

GSK wins contract from UK Department of Health for HPV vaccine

Wednesday, June 18

Alternative Investments Domain Names

Online Trading - Alternative Investments - Domain Names

VeriSign reports that there has been 25% increase in domain name registrations, proving that even in these economically difficult times demand domain names remains strong. A domain name registration costs around $10 but domain name aftermarket sales are a whole different story. Good names can costs millions ! The highest domain sales so far this year have been sold for $9.9 million - for $1.65M and for $1.1M

In its latest report, VeriSign says that in Q1 2008 there were 14 million new domain names registered, increasing the overall total to 162 million, which represents a 6% rise over the previous quarter and a 26% annual rise.

It is the .com extension that has by far the most registrations, followed by .de (Germany), .cn (China), .net, .uk and .org.

The strong growth in domain name registrations is the result of rising numbers of Internet users in countries such as China and India, there has also been evidence of Chinese companies registering Indian names in an attempt to gain market share or sell the names back to the Indian companies at inflated prices.

Raynor Dahlquist, Senior VP of Verisign said : "Rapidly emerging regions like India underscore the importance of ensuring that the Internet infrastructure is able to serve every corner of the world.”

Domain name investments are one area where investors can make a lot of money, either by registering a name for $10 and waiting for someone to ask you to sell it to them, or by buying a name that has already been registered, for a few hundred dollars in the expectation that in a couple of years time it will be worth even more.

While waiting for the sale to come along you can park your domain name free of charge with a company such as Namedrive and earn revenue from the ads. placed on your domain.

For further information about domain name investing see Domain Names

Questor and Tempus Share Tips

Online Stock Trading - Newspaper Share Tips and Rumours

Whitbread a consumer stock with solid numbers.
Whitbread takeover bid speculation gives CoffeeHeaven a boost
Rumours of approach for 20 per cent stake in Northern Petroleum
Shell bid hopes lifts Borders & Southern
Informa buoyant on bid talks


Halma - Hold
Domino Printing - Pass
Wincanton - Buy



Friends Provident - Avoid
Domino Printing - Hold

Other news
BofE damps hopes of interest rate rises
Chorion profits slump
Media stocks down on analyst downgrade


Halma - Hold
Premium Bars and Restaurants - Sell
Park Group - Buy

Other news
DSG up on t/o rumours (Carphone/Best Buy)
Rumours of BT counter-offer for Thus

Phoenix Equity ready to buy oil & gas division from Ashtead Group for £100M
Shareholders at Lloyds TSB to fight bid for Deutsche Postbank
RBS advises clients to get ready for crash in global stock markets over the next quarter as major banks are hit by inflation
UK is now ahead of the US as world's largest arms exporter
Govt. to disclose new rules on medicine prices today - this will lead to further cuts in revenue for UK pharmaceutical industry

Tuesday, June 17

Newspaper Share Tips Questor Tempus

Online Trading - Stock Picks, Questor and Tempus

Barclays confirms it is considering a share placement and pre-emptive offer to existing shareholders

Autologic - possible positive trading update next week

Hold - Soco International
Pass - Blue Bay Asset Management
Avoid - Majestic Wine

Helius Energy

Rumours Ormonde Mining to announce trebling of reserves at Spanish tungsten mine


Hold - Soco International
Sell - Majestic Wine
Sell – Safeland


Avoid - Majestic Wine
Buy - Roc Oil

Share Whisper
Acquisition hopes boost Global Gaming

Building starts in UK lowest for over 60 years
Eurozone inflation at 16-year high
FED divided on when to raise interest rates
Fastest growing group of people in employment are those past retirement age

Monday, June 16

Amazon's Kindle Ebook Reader

Online Stock Trading - Amazon's Kindle Ebook Reader

Amazon's Kindle is an Ebook Reader, an electronic paper device (EPD) that uses so-called electronic paper to allow you to read books, magazines and newspapers on a handheld electronic device, without the glare associated with computer screens. The devices are also extremely portable, being lighter than a paperback book. You can use them to download magazine and newspaper subscriptions, so you get the magazine or newspaper before it actually hits the newsstands.

More information will be available on Ebook Reader

UPDATE - Amazon have announced the release of the latest version of the Kindle Ebook Reader - the Kindle DX

Sunday, June 15

Questor Midas Sunday Share Tips

Online Stock Trades - Questor Midas Weekend Share Tips

Phorm shares ready to bounce


· Buy Drax at 785.5p –
· Buy Rensburg Sheppards at 565p –
· Hold Domino's Pizza at 213p –
· Sell Warner Estates at 258p

Midas :

* Buy Aricom at 85.5p
* BG Group: small shareholders should take profits; long-term investors should sell half

Thursday, June 12

Chrysler Lists Cars on Ebay

Online Stock Trading - Chrysler to List Its Cars on Ebay

Chrysler is to list more than 15,000 certified used cars, Jeep and Dodge, on eBay, maybe they haven't heard about the outrageous changes Ebay has made recently to its auction business. which are actually driving sellers away from its site.

GM however said its listings are now live on eBay. They may have negotiated a good deal of course with Ebay, but they may also live to regret the decision, as Ebay is notorious for changing its terms and conditions to suit itself.

The no. 3 U.S. automaker sold over 122,000 certified used cars in 2007 and sales are up 8% so far this year. New vehicle sales on the other hand have dropped by more than 20%.

The certified used cars on offer from Chrysler are models from 2003 to 2008 which have done less than 65,000 miles. They are also reconditioned to Chrysler’s standards. They also have an eight-year, or 80,000-mile warranty.

Chrysler has said it will seek other deals with search engines such as and

There were about 43 million used vehicles sold in the US last year, over double the number of new vehicles sold at 16.2 million. Profit margins are usually better than they are for new vehicles
It should be good news for Ebay which is suffering at the moment as a result of its ridiculous increases in commission which have forced a lot of Ebay users to look for alternative auction sites.

Housebuilders Out of FTSE

Stock Trading - FTSE 100 Reshuffle

The FTSE 100 shuffles the pack every three months, promoting companies into it and ejecting companies from it. Today it ejected Persimmon, the only housebuilder which was still in it. Persimmon has been demoted to the FTSE 250.

Persimmon has lost around 75% of its value in slightly more than a year, other housebuilders have lost as much as 90% - quite extraordinary really, they are hardly dotcom hot air bubble stocks.

Tate & Lyle was also ejected after 3 profits warnings last year and a 50% increase in freight costs.

Home Retail Group, the owner of Argos has reported falling sales and is also out, along with the Alliance & Leicester a big UK mortgage lender. If you are thinking about remortgaging your home check out - remortgage

The companies promoted up into the FTSE 100 are Drax, the largest coal-fired electricity generator in the UK; Petrofac (oil services), Invensys, and mining company Ferrexpo.

There could be an effect on the FTSE of course, as falling companies are removed and rising companies are included.

Persimmon 3 Year Chart - OUT

DRAX 3 Year Chart - IN

Alliance and Leicester 3 Year Chart - OUT

Petrofac 3 Year Chart - IN

Shares Tips Questor Tempus

Internet Stock Trading - Newspaper Shares Tips - Shares Magazine

Buy – Redhall, Smith & Nephew

Hold - Melorio

Mining Stock to Watch
Bisichi Mining

Oil & Gas Stock to Watch
Indus Gas

Sector Report:
Best Buys - Immunodiagnostic Systems, Advanced Medical Solutions, CareTech
Steer clear of - Personal Screening, DawMed Systems, ADC

Buy Lamprell on weakness --
Pass on Rensburg Sheppards--
Buy Hampson Industries


Other news
Talk of an imminent reserve upgrade for Mediterranean Oil & Gas
Reserve upgrade hopes lift Bezant Resources


Hold - Petrofac
Sell - HMV


Sell - GlaxoSmithKline
Buy - First Property
Buy - UBC Media

Rumours Peel Holdings about to up its stake in Pinewood Shepperton


Bezant Resources

Wednesday, June 11

Newspaper Tips Rumours Questor Tempus

Online Stock Trading - Share Rumours and Tips - Questor and Tempus

Tesco hold --
SABMiller buy on weakness --
Redstone tuck some away

Strategic Thought

Other news
ITM Power may be about to unveil dual-fuel hydrogen/petrol car for Ford

The Front Page
Petrol sales fall by 20%

Avoid housebuilders (Barratt, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, Bellway)

Other news
Barratt ‘needs £1-billion to survive’

HBOS slumps on falling house market

Front Page
‘Price of oil will double’

Hold - Oxford Instruments
Buy - Peter Hambro Mining
Hold - Media Square


Share Whisper
Oil producer deal rumours lift Global Gaming Technologies

Other news
‘Out of control’ Barratt shares plunge

Bid rumours lift Fiberweb.


Virgin Money rules out bid for B&B

Housebuilders lost over 10% of their value on gloomy outlook
Gazprom says oil price could rise to $250

If you are considering remortgaging your house check out - remortgage

Tuesday, June 10

Questor and Tempus Newspaper Tips

Online Stock Trading - Newspaper Share Tips - Questor and Tempus


Barratt Developments has fallen as much as the Internet darlings of the bubble : its shares are at less than one 10th of their peak in February 2007


Avoid - Workspace
Buy - Hyder Consulting
Sit tight - Informa

Corac Group

Banking: the worst may be yet to come

Buy - RM
Hold - Hyder Consulting
Buy - City of London

Other news
Petrofac up after ‘buy’ note
Bid rumours lifts Lookers

Collapse of home sales is worst for 30-years

Sell - Thomas Cook
Buy - John David Group

Other news
300 million shares not sold as investors show little interest in HBOS bail-out

RBS places rest of rights issue at 230p
Vedanta plans £10.2 bn investment in India over 4 years
UK's big 5 banks to help sub-underwrite B&B's $500 million rights issue

Growth on Internet helps counteract fall print advertising to lift spending in the UK by 4.2% - online stock trading is still very risky hower

Monday, June 9

30 Year Low for Home Sales

Online Stock Trading - Barrats Shares Slide Along with Home Sales

Remortgage your home - the housing market is bad so you might be considering a remortgage for your home - if so check out remortgage deals

Home Sales Slump

If you are wondering if the housing market is bad check out the full horror in this 10-year chart for Barratts Home Development - it looks as bad as, if not worse than the dotcom bubble and bust - from 1300p down to 120p i.e. a 90% loss in just over a year !

10-Year Chart

The volume of home sales has fallen to its lowest level for 30 years.

Analysts expect further large asset write-downs from housebuilders due to the falling value of their land assets.

There is speculation that like the banks many housebuilders will be forced into emergency rights issues.

Barratt which has around $3.5 bn debt was the biggest faller in the FTSE 250 yesterday, slumping 20p or 14% to 121p. The CEO bought shares at 441p in December, so no doubt he is suffering like everyone else (not).

Ever wondered how many houses an estate agent sells in 3 months ? Wll according to the RICS it is 17.4 at the moment (about 1.5 a week), the lowest level since 1978, which shows how bad it is as it is even lower than during the slump in 1989.

Barratt denies it is in trouble. It said in May that it had dealt with its short-term borrowing of about £800m.
[Update - stock charts and house sales in 2009 ]

Should FSA Investigate Bradford and Bingley?

Online Stock Trading - Bradford & Bingley and Steven Crawshaw Market Abuse?

As I was travelling round the Internet this morning I came across an interesting article on the Sharecrazy site. In it they basically call upon the FSA to investigate the CEO of the Bradford & Bingley for market abuse, and ask people to sign their petition.

They argue that back in March the FSA accused certain traders of market abuse for spreading false rumours that banks were planning rights issues calling it market abuse. It turns out that the rumours were not false, what WAS false however was the statement by the Bradford & Bingley that it was NOT planning a rights issue. Any shareholder buying shares in Bradford & Bingley since 14th April when the false statemet was made has lost over half of his/her mnoney !

Friday, June 6

Share Tips - IC, Questor, Tempus

Online Trading - Share Tips - Investors Chronicle, Questor, Tempus

Cover Story

10 takeover targets - Harvey Nash, First Artist, K3 Business Technology, Touchstone, TMN, Celsis International, Cape, Ascribe, RDF Media and Jelf Group

Sell - Close Bros
Buy – Chemring, Rurelec, AssetCo, International Ferro Metals,Valiant Petroleum

Tip Updates
Buy - Dwyka Resources (they’ve been reading my blog !), Raven Russia Novera Energy,
Company Results
Buy - May Gurney, RWS, Man Group, Island Gas Reserves, Avon Rubber, Northern Bear, Redknee Solutions, Dawson Holdings, Hamworthy.

Rumours of predators for Anite

William Morrison
Synergy Healthcare - Buy on weakness
Vp - hold
Oxford Catalysts

Hold - Halfords
Buy - Jelf Group


Buy - Johnson Matthey
Hold– Wincanton
Buy - Synergy Healthcare

Buy Balfour Beatty

Share Whisper
Positive update hopes lift Van Dieman Mines

Directors buy shares in Bradford & Bingley
Billionaire John Whittaker source of £260 million stake (4%) in Land Securities via offshore company Albright Investments

Wednesday, June 4

Questor and Tempus Tips

Stock Trading - Tips from Newspapers Tempus and Questor

Buy - United Utilities
Buy on weakness - Hamworthy
Hold - Taylor Nelson

A Tiddler to Watch
RWS Holdings

Hold - Ryanair
Buy - Hamworthy

Further news
TPG to build up stakes in banks


Buy - Hogg Robinson
Buy - Hamworthy
Buy - Umeco


Share Whisper
Hopes of impressive figures from Redstone next Tuesday.

Texas Pacific plans to use its investment in Bradford & Bingley as a springboard for stake-building in other banks

Tuesday, June 3

Clinton to Concede Tonite

Online Stock Trading - Clinton Will Concede Tonite (Not)

UPDATE : Apparently it's all nonsense Clinton's campaign manager Terry McAuliffe are saying that these reports are 100% incorrect

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE (1 minute later) : Associated Press says two senior officials are saying she will concede.

So all the following stuff is incorrect or correct depending on which planet you live on !

"It has just been announced that Hillary Clinton will or may concede to Barack Obama tonite. She will say that he has enough delegates to secure the Democratic nomination.

She will not formally suspend her race and will continue to speak out on health care etc... But the campaign appears to be over. She is however keen to become the Vice Preident running mate for Obama.

So now the Republicans can take the gloves off and bring the big guns out against Obama. "

Tempus and Questor Tips

Online Stock Trading - Tempus and Questor Share Tips


Hold - Detica
Buy - E2V Technologies
A Tiddler to Watch
GB Group


Hold - Chloride
Buy - Detic
Buy - E2V Technologies


Hold - Chloride
Hold - Imperial Tobacco

For Questor's weekend tips see : Questor Tips Vodafone

Monday, June 2

Ahmadinejad Says Israel Will Disappear

Online Trading - Iran President Ahmadinejad States Israel will Soon Disappear

Iran's president Ahmadinejad again stirred up the hornet’s nest that is the Middle East by stating Israel would soon ‘disappear’ off the map and that the "satanic power" of the USA faces destruction.

He was speaking to foreign guests at this week's 19th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

"You should know that the criminal and terrorist Zionist regime which has 60 years of plundering, aggression and crimes in its file has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene," he said.

About the United States he said : "The bell on the countdown of the destruction of the empire of power and wealth has begun to ring."

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino commented "that kind of rhetoric that just serves to further isolate the Iranian people".

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack described the Iranian president's latest comments as : "Again, more hateful vitriol coming from President Ahmadinejad."

In 2005 Ahmadinejad claimed that Israel should be "wiped off the map".

People speculate that Israel might one day attack Iran to stop its nuclear activities. My humble opinion, for what it’s worth, is that Israel will do whatever it takes.

Bradford Bingley Rights Fiasco

Bradford and Bingley Bailed Out by TGP

UK mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley said this morning buyout firm Texas Pacific Group is to buy a 23% stake in the bank as part of a re-capitalisation programme which will also see it cut the price of a previously-announced rights issue.

Bradford and Bingley is to get £179m from a deal with the Texas Pacific Group, and will get a further £258m by selling new shares to investors. The price for the shares will be somewhere between 50 and 55p, i.e. over 27p less than the original rights issue at 82p.

The bank's share price has fallen sharply since the rights issued was announced, destroying the original 48% discount.

Profits have fallen the first 4 months of 2008 to £56m compared with £108m last year, as a result of higher funding costs and increasing numbers of bad debts.

The bank blamed higher funding costs caused by the credit crunch, and an increase in bad debts as more borrowers have difficulty making their repayments.

Accounts in arrears rose to 2.16% compared with 1.63% at the end of December.

Numis Securities has said that its target price is ‘under review’.

Collins Stewart has reiterated its 'sell' recommendation and is also reviewing its target.

They also say that the statement indicates worsening conditions for revenues and asset quality.

Shares fell 30% at one stage this morning although some people see the intervention of TPG as a positive sign which could signal the bottom for the share price. At 55p the share price has fallen almost 90% since its peak two years ago.

It is also seen as a takeover target of course. But shareholders have no sympathy for Stephen Crawshaw who apparently is ill. None of the private investors on the bulletin boards can see any reason why he should be getting any bonus at all for driving the bank to the wall.

All banks have suffered as a result of this announcement by B&B although HSBC and Standard Chartered have suffered less than the others.

Given how much people hate banks in the UK there is little sympathy for any of their troubles, people are far more interested in learning how high the bonuses are going to be for the idiots who caused the current mess.

Sunday, June 1

Bradford Bingley 150M Deal with TPG

Bradford and Bingley to Seal Deal with TPG for £150 million

Bradford & Bingley bank is apparently trying to finalize a deal with private equity firm Texas Pacific Group (TPG) which will provide about £150m to the struggling UK bank.

This will come as a shock to a lot of people. The deal with TPG, is unprecedented and will involve modifying the bank’s previously announced rights issue.

Any profit warning by B&B would also raise concerns about the buy-to-let mortgage sector in the UK as a whole.

The rights issue price was fixed at 82p a share but it would appear that TPG and other institutions are to agree a price about 20% below this. Existing shareholders will provide £250m in addition to TPG’s cash.

B&B decided to take on this course of action as the rights issue looked like it would fail. For the full story see :

Monday morning should be interesting ! B&B has lost around 80% of its value in 2 years. See previous post for B&B charts

Bradford Bingley Update or Warning?

Online Trading - Bradford and Bingley Trading Update or Warning?

Bradford & Bingley (BB.), the biggest lender of buy-to-let mortgages in the UK, has confirmed that CEO Steven Crawshaw is to step down due to ill health.

In a statement B&B said that Mr Crawshaw will step down with immediate effect due to "a serious cardiovascular condition."

Rod Kent, will take over as executive chairman while a new CEO is sought.

B&B will also provide a trading update on Monday, but refused to comment on whether there will be a profits warning.

Press reports are warning of a profits alert.

According to the Sunday Times the profits warning will be included with the rights-issue document that investors will receive in the next five days. Profits are expected to be significantly lower than analysts' forecasts. The bank has suffered from the increasing numbers of people falling into arrears and from « squeezed margins ».

The Sunday Telegraph also ran the story.

The papers have refused to reveal their sources, but they expect the announcement to cause concern that UK banks are "sitting on a time-bomb of rising mortgage arrears and mounting bad debt." Looks like tin hats will be a requirement again for Monday morning.

Strangely, the share price fell sharply on Friday afternoon from 92p to 86p and has plummeted from over £5 to under 90p in about 2 years .

Most analysts think that a takeover is now inevitable, the only point of discussion being the price.

The bulletin boards are very busy and very entertaining but how useful they are is another matter, lots of "I told you so" "This is going to 20p" "Now is the time to stock up" etc... ! Personally I'll be steering well clear.

4 Year Chart

2 Year Chart

1 Month Chart

[UPDATE - Bradford & Bingley is no more !]

Hollywood Fire at Universal Studios

Fire in Hollywood at Universal Studios

A large fire is raging at Universal Studios television and film production lot.

The fire apparently started in a sound studio. THere are around 100 firefighters trying to control the fire and helicopters are dropping water on it. The fire started around 4.45 a.m. local time, after an explosion in a propane tank.

The part on fire is called the "New York street scene".

There have been no injuries reported.

The fire is pretty intense according to firefighters on the scene. The pictures are certainly very impressive with lots of black smoke.

They have no information as to the cause of the fire. The King Kong ride appears to be at the centre of the flames, with lots of plastic.

There is no need for evacuation from hotels at the moment.