David Fuller and Eoin Treacy's Comment of the Day
Category - General

    Britain's Easing Inflation Puts End of BOE Rate Hikes Into Sight

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section: 

    The concern is that inflation doesn’t tick down as quickly as the BOE anticipates. Prices increased 11.1% in October, the most in 41 years. That eased in each of the past three months, but the latest inflation reading at 10.1% remains five times the BOE’s target rate.

    The BOE will be heartened by news that inflation in the services sector eased in January. It’s one of the key indicators being watched by policymakers, who see it as gauge of domestically generated inflation that is hard to shift once it takes hold.

    The other red flag is wage growth, which is now running at the fastest pace on record outside of the pandemic as labor shortages hand workers unprecedented bargaining power. 

    The BOE fears inflation could become entrenched as companies keep raising prices to cover their salary costs. There were some signs of hope in the latest data, however, with figures for December alone showing a slowdown in private-sector pay increases.

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    Air India made the largest plane order in commercial aviation history

    This article from Quartz may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

    The White House was the first to announce the deal with Boeing, releasing a statement from president Joe Biden describing the deal as evidence of a strong economic partnership between the US and India. According to the statement, all the Boeing planes will be made in America and will create over one million jobs across 44 states.

    The purchase was also welcomed by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, who said it was evidence of “the successes and aspirations of the civil aviation sector in India.”

    Air India was privatized in 2022 after a long run as India’s national airline. Currently, it only has a fleet of around 100 jets, most of them leased. The first batch of planes from Airbus is expected to arrive later this year. Boeing has yet to release a timeline for production.

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    How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline

    This article from Seymour Hersh’s Substack may be of interest. Here is a section: 

    In December of 2021, two months before the first Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, Jake Sullivan convened a meeting of a newly formed task force—men and women from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, and the State and Treasury Departments—and asked for recommendations about how to respond to Putin’s impending invasion.

    It would be the first of a series of top-secret meetings, in a secure room on a top floor of the Old Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House, that was also the home of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB). There was the usual back and forth chatter that eventually led to a crucial preliminary question: Would the recommendation forwarded by the group to the President be reversible—such as another layer of sanctions and currency restrictions—or irreversible—that is, kinetic actions, which could not be undone?

    What became clear to participants, according to the source with direct knowledge of the process, is that Sullivan intended for the group to come up with a plan for the destruction of the two Nord Stream pipelines—and that he was delivering on the desires of the President.

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    Norfolk Southern Drops as EPA Asks It to Pay for Ohio Cleanup

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

    Norfolk Southern Corp. fell again as the railroad faced growing fallout from a train derailment that spilled chemicals in Ohio early this month.

    The US Environmental Protection Agency notified the company of its “potential liability” and encouraged Norfolk Southern to reimburse the agency for its costs related to the crash. The EPA urged a quick response in its Feb. 10 letter.

    The railroad said it received the EPA’s request and “will continue to perform or finance environmental monitoring and remediation,” according to an emailed statement. Norfolk Southern’s hazardous materials team was at the scene within an hour of the accident and continues to work with authorities, the company said in the statement.

    The 150-car train derailed at 8:55 p.m. Eastern time on Feb. 3. It was hauling about 20 railcars with chemicals, including vinyl chloride, ethylhexyl acrylate and isobutylene, according to the EPA. 

    Those chemicals were released into the air, surface soils and surface waters near East Palestine, Ohio. 

    Norfolk Southern slid 1.2% Monday in New York, the fourth decline in six trading days since the spill. The shares are down 2.7% this year, while the S&P 500 Index is up 7.8%

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    Sentimental Journey

    Thanks to Iain Little for this edition of his Global Thematic Investors’ Diary. Here is a section: 

    Where next? The best comment, as it also applies to us, comes from one of our managers, Terry Smith: “Our companies should demonstrate a relatively resilient fundamental performance in such circumstances, and the only type of market which ends in a recession is a bear market.”

    We are reminded by another market veteran we’ve followed for 40 years, Ed Yardeni, that the FAANGS, the mega tech US stocks which led the 2014 to 2021 bull market, still inflate the PER market rating. Without the FAANGS, the forward market multiple is only 16.7x, making it barely 2 points higher than the long-term average. Bearish commentators claim that earnings are about to take a hit, raising the PER, and rate rises are still in store. (Remember that 2 main factors influence share prices: the valuation of earnings, influenced largely by interest rates, and the earnings themselves). There may indeed be something to the bears’ claim.

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    Ken Griffin's Citadel Securities Discloses 5.5% Stake in Crypto Bank Silvergate

    This article from CoinDesk may be of interest. Here is a section:

    Market maker Citadel Securities has disclosed a 5.5% stake in Silvergate Capital (SI) worth about $25 million.

    According to a Form 13G filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Citadel Securities is now the owner of roughly 1.73 million shares or a 5.5% stake in Silvergate, valued at $25 million based on Monday's closing price of $14.71.

    A person familiar with Citadel Securities told CoinDesk that the filing is a result of the firm's options market making activities rather than a directional investment or stake in Silvergate. Citadel Securities makes markets in more than a million individual options at any time. For 13G filings, options positions are calculated based on long call positions, regardless of any offsetting short calls or puts, explained the person.

    Meanwhile, trading firm Susquehanna also reported in a filing that it bought about 2.37 million shares, or a 7.5% stake, in Silvergate. The investment would be valued at about $35 million, based on Monday's closing price.

    Alongside a modest rally in the price of bitcoin, Silvergate shares are higher by just over 5% on Tuesday at $15.53. Shares are down about 87% over the past year.

    The moves come after BlackRock said it boosted stake in Silvergate last month. A filing showed that the asset management giant had a 7.2% stake in Silvergate Capital as of Dec. 31, as oppose to a 6.3% stake, reported a year earlier.

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    Chinese-Owned Rival to Shein Makes Splashy Super Bowl Debut

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section: 

    PDD Holdings Inc.’s service, which like Shein has gained a reputation for cut-rate pricing and fast delivery, ran two 30-second spots featuring a trendy shopper twirling and dancing to phrases like “Cha-ching! I feel so rich, oh yeah.” PDD, formerly known as Pinduoduo, said it’s also giving away a total of $10 million to users via online sweepstakes.

    Temu launched in September and rapidly scaled Apple’s US app store. It’s now considered a serious competitor to Shein, the fast-fashion phenomenon that’s also fired up American shoppers. But PDD, which plans to launch Temu in Canada as soon as this month, offers a broader range of goods from pet supplies to groceries. 

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