Paul Murphy

paul.murphy@ft.com

Biography
Latest posts

Paul Murphy is the founding editor of FT Alphaville and an associate editor of the Financial Times. He joined the FT in London in 2006 as development editor of FT.com, concentrating on the expansion of the online business. Prior to that, he served as the Guardian’s financial editor for seven years. He has also held senior positions in business journalism at the Sunday Business newspaper and the Daily Telegraph. Murphy is a graduate of the London School of Economics.

This is nuts. (But maybe someone’s noticed)

Box Inc, just another cloud storage company out of Silicon Valley, looked to be just another SV mania company hitting Wall St when it priced it’s IPO last week. Against an allegedly cautious pricing at $14 a share (one dollar above the indicative range, natch) the market price surged to a day one high of $24.73. But look at the price chart since then…

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The phoney property portal war

In the UK, Monday saw the launch of Onthemarket.com, a supposed attempt to break the online property portal duopoly in Britain, currently consisting of Rightmove and Zoopla.

The new challenge has come from Agents’ Mutual, a sizeable consortium of estate agents who want to regain control of the homebuyer audience. About 25 per cent of agents have signed up on the condition they stop advertising properties on the two incumbent sites, opting instead to fix monthly listing fees for five years – and escape the escalating monthly charges levied by Rightmove and Zoopla. Read more

A touch of peer-to-peer mania?

Seven months have ticked by since hedge fund Marshall Wace spun out P2P Global, an investment trust focused on lending through peer-to-peer lending platforms. About £200m was raised at flotation and, by November, with about three quarters of those initial funds deployed, P2P said it was actively considering a fresh stock offer.

Two weeks ago it said it was issuing 10m “C” shares at £10 apiece. But demand from investors immediately topped 20m, so the issue has been increased to 25m shares — raising £250m. Read more

BoAML: ‘Dividend stocks could double from here’

“Safe” dividend stocks, to be precise.

It’s a straightforward argument: as yields on high-grade government debt increasingly turn negative, so the search for income amongst investors will channel money into quality equities. Read more

‘Let 100 think tanks bloom’

The Chinese government seems to have noticed that the country has no policy institutes or think tanks with global clout. So it’s going to get some. Up to a hundred, in fact. But this isn’t Xi Jinping reworking Mao’s famous 100 flowers campaign. Wouldbe think takers are not being invited to think freely…

A new type of think tanks with Chinese characteristics would support development and strengthen soft power, according to a guideline issued Tuesday.

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Just in case Grexit were to happen…

Eric Dor of the IESEG School of Management in Lille has a handy table. Click to enlarge…

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FXCM, welcome to the ‘cov-heavy’ reality…

The price of life in retail FX land….

The loan has an initial interest rate of 10% per annum, increasing by 1.5% per annum each quarter for so long as it is outstanding, but in no event exceeding 17% per annum (before giving effect to any applicable default rate). It is also subject to various conditions and terms such as requiring mandatory prepayments, including from proceeds of dispositions, condemnation and insurance proceeds, debt issuances, and equity issuances. The credit agreement includes a variety of restrictive covenants, including, but not limited to, limitations on the ability to merge, dissolve, liquidate, consolidate or sell, lease or otherwise transfer all or substantially all assets; limitations on the incurrence of liens; limitations on the incurrence of debt by subsidiaries of the company; and limitations on transactions with affiliates, without the prior consent of the lender. Read more

Death of an FX punter

terriegym:

Ive came back to my computer and Alpari have closed all my trades, loosing over $1000 off of my current balance, anyone got any idea what may have happened!!! they arent answering the phone!!

ChattiFX:

Same thing has happened to me… trying to open a trade manually it says that trading is disabled…

Duk74:

Alpari have closed my short Eur/Usd trade and are not answering the phone!!!!

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A Worthington tale

Ok, go down this alphabetical list of corporate tenants at the front door of a shabby office block in south London. You’re looking for the name “Worthington”. Click to enlarge if needed…

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Hope, in reality…

Who’d have thought?

This £203,948 bar bill…

… would eventually led to this… Read more

Santander, the bank that bemuses

This Spanish bank just makes us wonder, repeatedly. Previously we’ve noted Santander’s logic-defying habit of printing out scrip dividend payments at a rate 50 per cent above earnings. Then we were bewildered that no one seemed to mind that as recently as 2012 the bank was secretly using Goldman Sachs to warehouse its stake in its Brazilian subsidiary so as to scrape through EBA capital requirements.

And now we get this. Click to read:

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Introducing the priceless Sandra Rupp

 

Alternatively, official Davos comedy is available here. Read more

BoE wonks on a limited QE hunt

We know instinctively that the Bank of England doesn’t like to be seen to be inflating stock market bubbles. That money printed for the purposes of quantitative easing might be flowing into the hands of existing equity holders (such as corporate executive management) would reinforce the wholly disagreeable notion that Britain’s central bank was actually fuelling the growth in wealth inequality.

So we should not be surprised when two Bank economists, Michael Joyce and Zhuoshi Liu, together with a colleague from Bath University, Ian Tonks, publish a piece of research stating… Read more

Just another downside indicator…

…and a volatile one at that: the Baltic Dry Index

It was down 1.3 per cent on Thursday at 827. It’s now fallen 20 days in a row. Read more

Comic release

Worthington Group plc (“the Company” or “Worthington”)

12th December 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Update Further to the Company’s announcement on 24th November 2014, the Company has, in relation to Listing Rule 5.6.4 (Reverse Takeovers), submitted details of a number of transactions and contemplated transactions to the FCA. The FCA has asked the company to provide further information and comment before reaching any final conclusions as to whether any of the transactions, or contemplated transactions, amount to, or may on completion amount to, a reverse takeover. The Company expects to provide this additional information and comment no later than Tuesday 16th December 2014.

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Reminding readers about the existence of Russell Brand…

The former comic in central London yesterday…

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A clusterFCA

It’s a day of flagellation at the British financial regulator…

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NFP guesses, groomed (updated)

This is our second experiment with Myriada’s new prediction aggregator. Participants in Friday’s Markets Live session at 11am will be invited to contribute their considered estimates for the final US jobs report of 2014.

Non-farm payrolls are due to be announced at 1.30pm London Time / 8.30am New York, and the clunky old Bloomberg economists’ consensus says 230,000 new jobs were created in November, against 214,000 a month earlier. Read more

Dear Jim

Does the Street.com’s Jim Cramer really enjoy the services of a perfumed sedan driver, while assorted assistants spray ionised lavender water upon his barren cranium?

We’re not so sure. But this activist missive from Cannell Capital’s Carlo Cannell certainly makes fun reading… Read more

Introducing Myriada… (updated)

We’ve hooked up with a young startup, Myriada, founded a year ago by Arjun Hassard and team.

Their aim is simple: offer an intuitive way to capture the intelligence of crowds. Read more

How dumb is the Markets Live crowd?

Or how smart, even?

Visitors to FT Alphaville’s regular markets chat at 11am on Monday should get a chance to find out as we introduce Myriada, a new prediction tool that aims to tap into the wisdom (or otherwise) of smart (or dumb) crowds.

Click here at 11am to get a full rundown from Myriada’s Arjun Hassard. For a bit of a preview, register here in advance. Read more

Chicago, the last refuge of light touch regulation?

Friday, November 28th. It’s the day after Thanksgiving in the US – possibly the lightest trading session of the year. And here, buried under the turkey leftovers, we find two statements (click to read) …

That’s the CME handing out disciplinary action against Mr Igor Oystacher, one of the biggest individual fish in the deep Chicago derivatives pond. He’s been landed with a $150,000 fine and a one month trading ban. Happy Holidays Igor! Read more

Object 2014-28E — the possible Russian killersat — track it here, NOW!

Dunno what we’re talking about?

Read the otherworldly (and exclusive) story from Sam Jones: Object 2014-28E – Space junk or satellite killer? Russian ‘UFO’ intrigues astronomersRead more

CAN YOU HEAR ME?? THAT NEW YORK SHORT SHOP TARGET IS AMETEK

For a scene-setter, take a glance at the intro to Thursday’s Markets Live transcript.

Basically, Spruce Point, a shorting specialist run by a former Barclays trader, Ben Axler, pre-announced in hyperbolic fashion that it was issuing a bearish report on a big unnamed US firm. The news now is that the firm in question is Ametek, an 84 year-old electronic device maker with a deeply ingrained acquisition habit.

True to its word, Spruce has now published a suitably hammy “sell” note, the full text of which is reproduced below.

You can make your own mind up on the investment case here, but be aware that Ametek stock was off an unshattering 2.3 per cent at pixel.

We sense that the investment world is fast becoming like those clone city restaurants, with no tablecloths and too many diners, all talking increasingly loudly to each other in an attempt to be heard. Volume control someone? Read more

Markets Live, raw alert (updated)

The speculative news on Markets Live earlier was that Amaya Gaming Group of Canada is preparing a £1.2bn takeover offer for London-listed Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment.

Bwin subsequently issued the following statement: Read more

So Tesco stock surges on confirmation of SFO probe…

We guess this is the regulatory version of those occasions where a self-regarding company chairman or chief executive announces their retirement, only to watch the company’s share price rise in relief.

From Tesco on Wednesday afternoon, following a report on Kleinmanwire:

Tesco confirms that it has been notified by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) that it has commenced an investigation into accounting practices at the company. Tesco has been cooperating fully with the SFO and will continue to do so. Tesco has been notified by the Financial Conduct Authority that, in light of the SFO investigation, its investigation will be discontinued.

And Tesco’s share price on Wednesday…

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Still waiting for the Great Rotation? Stop

Mark Schofield and his team of macro strategists at Citi have a new watchword: diversification. The bank has a major new paper on the matter (one of its occasional Citi GPS series), arguing that we’ve all been wrong to sit about expecting, at some point, a sudden rush for the exit in bond markets and a consequent rebalancing of equity allocations. Read more

Now showing: last ever episode of Barroso TV

Catch it now:

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FREE e-book offer for FT Alphaville readers

Numbers are limited, so no more than 6 downloads per registered user please. (Before you click, it’s an 8meg file.)

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Dear ECB, see Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act III, Scene II…

Landon Thomas and Jack Ewing of Dealbook have happened across a delicious leak of ECB council minutes, running from May 2012 to January 2013.

Here’s the ECB’s response:

The E.C.B. neither provides nor approves emergency liquidity assistance. It is the national central bank, in this case the Central Bank of Cyprus, that provides E.L.A. to an institution that it judges to be solvent at its own risks and under its own terms and conditions.

In this specific case, there was full consensus in the governing council on the need to get assurances from the Central Bank of Cyprus that this bank was solvent. The solvency was confirmed explicitly by the Central Bank of Cyprus, which also confirmed the proper valuation of collateral after an intense dialogue between it and the E.C.B.

The E.C.B. was not the supervisor and fully relied on the assessment of the Central Bank of Cyprus. Therefore to draw conclusions about the E.C.B.’s future banking supervision role on the basis of E.L.A. to Cyprus is tendentious.

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