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Holly's Blog: Doom, gloom and I blame Daenerys

11 July, 2017

This week’s a bleak one friends. There’s doom and gloom all around and nothing has recovered since [obligatory Game of Thrones spoiler warning!]... The Mother of Dragons had the Mother of Strops and turned most of King's Landing into a packet of pork scratchings in just one unsatisfactory Monday night.

A bad(ish) week for Uber, which sank after floating

Technology IPOs do not normally fall in week one – they are typically priced to reward institutional investors and generate a feel-good buzz. But the gods were not smiling on Uber, which stalled.

Markets were also freaked out by trade spats between the US and China; last week was the worst week of the year in US markets; and competitor Lyft announced poor results three days before. Things recovered for Uber this week, they are back up at $43, just marginally north of where they started.

A bad week for free trade

Huawei has been spanked and put on the US ‘Entity List’. (This is the commercial equivalent of being on Arya Stark’s list.) They cannot sell into the US nor can they buy core US tech components. This is a high profile hand to play in an escalating trade war which is rattling financial markets against a backdrop of slowing global growth.

The numbers are significant. The US has ramped up the pressure by raising tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25%, prompting China to retaliate with higher duties on $60 billion worth of US products. This story will rumble and will put continued pressure on both global stock markets and product prices.

Just Eat gets a tummyache

Closer to home, shares in online takeaway service Just Eat fell 8.5% after rival Deliveroo said it had gained Amazon's backing in a new $575 million funding round. So interesting how the mere mention of the word Amazon make competitors choke and reach for the Rennies.

And Thomas Cook has been smashed, with one investment bank saying the shares are ‘worthless’. Shares have fallen by about 28% today as I write. The firm, which dates back to 1841, has largely blamed Brexit, as Brits delay booking their summer holidays. “Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it” may join the list of former dominant high street brands on the modern scrap heap.

And a bad week for the poor old pound

It’s not been a bundle of laughs either for Theresa May, who had to meet the 1922 Committee -aka The White Walkers- yesterday. She is on the way out with no clear end in sight to the Brexit chaos as talks collapsed this morning between the Tories and Labour. There’s a surprise. Continued uncertainty is bad for markets and our currency is suffering. Why? Well, the less people like the prospects of the UK, the less they want to be here and the less they need our pounds. And when people don’t want something it goes down in value.

This morning the pound is on track for its worst weekly decline this year.

And a final climax of doom as we consider the prospect of a BoJo versus Corbyn world. Beam me up, Scotty!!

Enough grey, Holly! It’s Friday…

With great effort, I have sought some final notes of jollity. Where are those silver linings?

It’s been a great week for Beyoncé, who took stock not cash to perform at various Uber corporate gigs in 2015 . Well done her.

The FTSE 100 is largely resilient and is up about 6% over the past 6 months.

And it’s lunchtime on a Friday. Phew!