Markets Live: Friday, 29th August, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

Putting Draghi in his box, and getting him back out again

A week ago, Mario Draghi set euro policy-watchers all a-flutter, departing from his prepared remarks at Jackson Hole to issue a kind of blunt confession that he and his colleagues had run out of excuses for the ongoing depressed level of inflation across the eurozone, and that maybe some sort of reaction was required. Cue a quall of ECB QE speculation.

Then, on Wednesday this week, a story appeared on Reuters stating that, according to “ECB sources,” there was unlikely to be any new policy action from the ECB at its September meeting next week unless August inflation figures (published on Friday) showed the eurozone sinking significantly towards deflation.

The story remained exclusive to Reuters. But the message was clear: ECB officials are worried that market participants were reading too-much-too-soon into Draghi ad-libbing. Read more

Sharon Bowles, ‘side-shifter’ (updated)

News from the London Stock Exchange, released in deepest August, that it had hired Sharon Bowles, former chairwoman of the European parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee, as a noddie rather failed to generate much coverage or comment at the time.

But it hasn’t escaped the attention of Sven Giegold, a German green MEP. He’s fired off an angry missive. Read more

A sell-side take on the corporate fat cattery debate…

Here’s a curiosity. The European consumer staples research team at RBC Capital Markets have taken a detailed look at executive remuneration across the key companies in their sector, with James Edwardes Jones and Mirco Badocco examining the links (or lack of them) between pay packets and shareholder returns, suggesting a few ways executive pay might be better structured.

This is unusual. While the press (and especially the British press) has harped on about executive salaries for a good 20 years, specialist sector watchers in the financial sector have generally ignored the issue, despite the exponential increase in top salaries since the days of Cedric the PigRead more

Markets Live: Wednesday, 27th August, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

Bob’s back

8am on Wednesday sees a resumption of trading in Atlas Mara Co-Nvest, the cash shell that Bob Diamond floated in London last December, with a view to building a chain of banks across the African continent.

Atlas Mara is no longer a shell, of course. The shares were suspended for five months while Bob & Co raised $300m (against an initial target of $400m) and then completed the acquisition BancABC and African Development Corporation. This gives Atlas Mara a base network across Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It’s also trying to buy the commercial arm of BRD, the development bank of Rwanda. Read more

Markets Live: Tuesday, 26th August, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

Markets Live limps back to life…

Summer’s over, right?  Read more

Barclays, the banking and serial defendant combine

The Group faces legal, competition and regulatory challenges, many of which are beyond the Group’s control. The extent of the impact on the Group of these matters cannot always be predicted but may materially impact the Group’s results of operations, financial results, condition and prospects…

There’s not much that’s actually new in a base prospectus published by Barclays on Thursday, covering a future $60bn debt programme. But what the document does offer is a compendium of all the litigation and regulatory action the bank faces around the world. Read more

Best keep an eye on @courtneymoscow…

Here’s some Tina Fordham while we await developments… Read more

On the concerns facing directors of a major Russian energy company, right now…

The agenda of the Board of Directors meeting includes the following items:

1. Participation of Inter RAO in other organizations.

2. Liquidation (termination of activities) of a representational office of Inter RAO in the Republic of Cuba, and amendment of the Charter of Inter RAO related to the liquidation of a representational office.

3. Approval of the Insurance Program of Inter RAO for the year 2015.

4. Consideration of the report on the Company’s compliance with the legislation of the Russian Federation in the field of insider information and market manipulation for the 2nd quarter of 2014.

 Read more

Markets Live: Friday, 8th August, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

An Abil implosion

Jo’Burg-listed African Bank, known as Abil, seems to be failing faster than BES…

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Markets Live: Wednesday, 6th August, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

Markets Live: Tuesday, 5th August, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

A rear-guard Kazakh defence?

For a potential $7bn plus takeover battle, the attempt by National Company KazMunaiGas (NC KMG) to acquire full control of the London GDR-listed associate KazMunaiGas Exploration Production (KMG EP) has failed to generate much discussion.

Maybe it should given that NC KMG, which is 100 per cent owned by the Kazakh sovereign wealth fund, has offered just a 15 per cent premium to take out the the 37 per cent of KMG EP it doesn’t already own. Read more

Markets Live: Monday, 4th August, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

Markets Live: Thursday, 31st July, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

Banco Encephalopathy Spongiform

Relisted in Lisbon, Banco Espirito Santo, down 45 per cent at pixel…

 Read more

Banco Espírito Santo: call a policia?

Following the disclosure of the exposures to Espírito Santo Group to the market on July 10th, 2014 the Board of Directors learned about the existence of two letters issued by Banco Espírito Santo in favour of creditors of Espírito Santo International, which had not been approved in accordance with the internal procedures in place at the Bank and was not registered in its accounting records as at June 30th, 2014.

 Read more

Markets Live: Wednesday, 30th July, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

Markets Live: Tuesday, 29th July, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

“Another two weeks and we’ll take out the 1929 instance”

That’s permabear John Hussman, who simply refuses to capitulate. Some extracts from his latest letter…

Make no mistake – this is an equity bubble, and a highly advanced one. On the most historically reliable measures, it is easily beyond 1972 and 1987, beyond 1929 and 2007, and is now within about 15% of the 2000 extreme. The main difference between the current episode and that of 2000 is that the 2000 bubble was strikingly obvious in technology, whereas the present one is diffused across all sectors in a way that makes valuations for most stocks actually worse than in 2000. The median price/revenue ratio of S&P 500 components is already far above the 2000 level, and the average across S&P 500 components is nearly the same as in 2000. The extent of this bubble is also partially obscured by record high profit margins that make P/E ratios on single-year measures seem less extreme (though the forward operating P/E of the S&P 500 is already beyond its 2007 peak even without accounting for margins). Read more

Markets Live: Monday, 28th July, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

RBS — the bank that outperformed

From Lex Live at noon on Friday…

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Markets Live: Friday, 25th July, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

Markets Live: Thursday, 24th July, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

STAN: “We do not accept these media rumours”

We should just note the livid statement from Standard Chartered on Thursday morning…

The Board of Standard Chartered PLC “The Board” notes rumours in some media outlets on succession planning for the Group Chief Executive, and Chairman. Read more

Markets Live: Wednesday, 23rd July, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

On Russian sanctions and Belgian beer…

Given that Russian subjects are reportedly being force fed a diet of Putin-esque mis-information over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, it seems worth noting what strategists employed by Russian investment banks are saying about the threat of deeper sanctions against Russia.

Here’s Charlie Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital (emphasis ours)… Read more