Tuesday 13th October 2015
NEWS TICKER, OCTOBER 13TH 2015: NEWS TICKER: The Lyxor Hedge Fund Index was down -1.4% in September. 3 out of 11 Lyxor Indices ended the month in positive territory. The Lyxor CTA Long Term Index (+4.0%), the Lyxor CTA Long Term Index (+2.3%), and the Lyxor L/S Equity Market Neutral Index (+0.4%) were the best performers. In contrast with the sell-off by last fall, the current recovery process is proving more laborious, says Lyxor. Continued soft macro releases, several micro turbulences (VW, GLEN, the US Healthcare) and signs that the Fed might be more concerned about global growth, drove markets to re-test the end-of-August lows. L/S Equity Long bias funds and Event Driven funds were yet again the main victims. Conversely, CTAs, Global Macro and L/S Equity funds with lower or variable bias, successfully navigated challenging times - British payments processor Worldpay Group Ltd priced its listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) today at 240 pence per share, valuing the business at £4.8bn in the largest IPO of this year on the LSE. Payments processing giant Worldpay (WPG) managed to list this morning at 240p, right in the sweet spot of an initial 225p-260p marketing rage which was subsequently narrowed to 235-250p. It currently trades +4% at 250p equating to a positive market debut in light of a slower pace of listings The UK company, which qualifies for FTSE 100 inclusion, processes £370bn in payments from 400,000 merchants every year and handles around 40pc of web-based transactions in Europe. Worldpay earlier this year rejected an offer of up to 6.6 billion pounds, including debt, from French rival Ingenico Group SA. Last year Worldpay made an underlying profit of £765m on revenues of £3.6bn. In the first six months of this year, sales rose 13pc to £465.7m, pushing profits up by the same amount to £182.6m. As of the end of September, the London stock market had welcomed 93 flotations raising £5.3bn this year, a significant drop from the £11bn generated from 136 listings in the same period last year - This week’s major London IPOs have had mixed fortunes. and a cooling in appetite for new paper over the last two years. However, motor insurer Hastings Direct (HSTG), which came to market yesterday, could only manage to get its IPO away at 170p which was well below its 180-185p indicated range. Worldpay’s IPO success most likely reflects the global preference for digital and consumer focused firms - The gross return of the SS&C GlobeOp Hedge Fund Performance Index for September 2015 measured -1.56%. Hedge fund flows as measured by the SS&C GlobeOp Capital Movement Index declined 1.13% in October. “SS&C GlobeOp's Capital Movement Index for October 2015 was -1.13%, down from the previous month's 0.62%, reflecting primarily seasonal factors,” said Bill Stone, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SS&C Technologies. “Comparing year-over-year flows, the -1.13% for October 2015 was virtually identical to the October 2014 reading of -1.12%, with both inflows and outflows closely in line for the comparative periods. We have been analysing our Capital Movement Index and Forward Redemption Indicator carefully in the wake of recent market volatility. October's results are certainly indicative of overall stability in hedge fund allocations.” - Zurich UK is in talks with its staff over cutting 29 jobs across the administrative and support teams for retail sales as part of a restructuring process. Zurich UK has entered a period of consultation with its support and administrative staff and it is expected 29 jobs will be cut as a result. The decision has been made to realign all Zurich UK's resources to focus on key areas of protection and wealth, and is expected to help the company deliver increased efficiency and co-ordination of services to advisers and their clients. The company has also re-aligned its platform offices in Leeds and Bristol to become the North and South offices, focusing on the two regions instead of two cities – South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has signalled that there won’t be any agreement signed between the union and the Chamber of Mines (COM), at least until tomorrow morning. As the majority union, representing 72% of employees represented in the coal wage negotiations, the NUM must agree to the latest offer from the mining companies – Anglo American Coal, Delmas, Exxaro, Kangra, Koornfontein, Msobo and Glencore – represented by the COM, if the coal sector strike is to come to an end - APEC’s Energy Ministers from the 21 APEC member economies concluded their meeting on Tuesday in Cebu, the Philippines, by adopting the Cebu Declaration and Instructions, a joint statement on the the region’s energy priorities. Ministers instruct the region’s energy stakeholders to promote and collaborate on initiatives under the theme: “Towards an Energy Resilient APEC Community,” as well as create a task force on energy resilience to implement disaster-proofing of energy infrastructure, introducing energy efficiency technologies, promoting the use of clean energy and improving energy trade and investment in APEC. - Singapore property firm Perennial Real Estate Holdings (PREH) is launching a maiden issue of three-year bonds to the retail market with an annual payout of 4.65 %. Up to SGD150m of the bonds will be offered to the public although some may be re-allocated to institutional and other investors if applicable, PREH said in a statement. DBS is the sole manager and book-runner. The total issue size can be raised to SGD300m if the public offer is oversubscribed. The maiden bond offering further diversifies the firm’s sources of funding, though they have one of the shortest tenures among retail bonds issued by Singaporean companies in recent years. PREH's offer comes after jewellery firm Aspial Corporation's issuance in August, which offered a coupon rate of 5.25% over a five-year tenure - Major Asian bourses edged lower in trading today and major European equity indices fell in early trading, with energy-related shares leading the losses on profit-taking after a fall in crude oil prices yesterday. Continued concerns over China’s economic outlook and the prolonged rout in the commodities markets is beginning to take on more characteristics of a crisis, than simply market corrections. Most Asian markets fell after Chinese trade data signalled weakening global and domestic demand. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.1%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.6% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.5%. Indonesia's JSX fell 2.6% and South Korea's Kospi shed 0.1%. In brighter mode, the Shanghai Composite Index finished up 0.2%, while the Straits Times Index (STI) ended 33.61 points or 1.12% higher to 3032.11, taking the year-to-date performance to -9.90%. The top active stocks today were SingTel, which gained 1.56%, DBS, which gained 0.45, UOB, which gained0.91%, Noble, which gained 9.57%and Keppel Corp, with a 0.13%advance. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained 1.18%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index rose 0.90 - The US Federal Reserve staving off a rate rise last month has given the markets breathing space and market focus will hone in on Federal Reserve Bank’s James Bullard, who will give a speech at the annual meeting of the National Association for Business Economics in Washington - According to Eurobank, the Greek government submitted to Parliament yesterday a bill containing the first set of fiscal and structural measures that will permit the disbursement of ca €2bn from the first instalment of €26bn of the €86bn loan agreed in August under the Third Economic Adjustment Programme for Greece. The bill is expected to be voted on late on Friday this week - InvestCloud, Inc, a provider of cloud-based front and middle-office solutions focused on digitizing customer experiences and internal operations for global investment advisors, today announced it has raised $45 million in growth equity funding. The round was led by FTV Capital and will be used to further invest in the company’s state-of-the-art platform and functionality, enhance customer service, and expand the company’s global footprint. Richard Garman, FTV Capital managing partner, has joined InvestCloud’s board of directors -

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Of mice and men and bailouts

Wednesday, 25 July 2012
Of mice and men and bailouts With the sovereign debt crisis still in full swing it is becoming a moot point as to where you should place your money. Popular reflection throws up the usual suspects, gold, bunds, gilts, US T-bonds and so on, but one does begin to wonder whether this accepted order of security is actually right. We have seen haircuts taken on quite a bit of sovereign debt. However, were not for central banks still accepting such debt as collateral, the yields on certain national issuance would be considerably higher than they are at right now. Simon Denham, managing director of spread betting firm, Capital Spreads gives the bearish view. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

With the sovereign debt crisis still in full swing it is becoming a moot point as to where you should place your money. Popular reflection throws up the usual suspects, gold, bunds, gilts, US T-bonds and so on, but one does begin to wonder whether this accepted order of security is actually right. We have seen haircuts taken on quite a bit of sovereign debt. However, were not for central banks still accepting such debt as collateral, the yields on certain national issuance would be considerably higher than they are at right now. Simon Denham, managing director of spread betting firm, Capital Spreads gives the bearish view.

Simon DenhamSimon Denham, managing director of spread betting firm Capital Spreads. Photograph kindly supplied by Capital Spreads.We have the curious situation of New Spanish issuance being bought by Spanish banks then repoed at favorable rates back into the ECB as collateral against debt taken out for this very purpose. The politicians have now agreed bailouts for the banks (but not for Spain itself) in the full knowledge that most of such bailout monies will be used for exactly the purposes described above.

The question must be: how much more will northern Europe tolerate? As times get tougher in Greece, Spain and Italy more of the little business still being done is actually flowing into the black market, exacerbating already critical deficit problems. 

Forcing through stern excise adherence needs to be done when times are good not when many businesses are struggling for survival. This actually is the knub of the problem of the eurozone since its inception; Southern States previously accepted a generally deteriorating currency in exchange for a certain laxness in fiscal responsibility. Other the other hand, the much bigger North (economically) certainly did not.

When the good times rolled all the politicians basked in the supposed genius of the new bloc studiously ignoring all of the ever more strident warnings of productivity dislocation and failing dismally to impose any form of regional spending controls. The saying ‘your sins will find you out’ could hardly be more apposite in this situation as Germany and France (who were amongst the first to break the piously agreed deficit limitations back in 2003) are now requiring just such a response from the weaker members.

Where then, does this leave equities?

Well, oddly enough there is an argument to say that corporate assets might well become the safe haven investment of the future. The ability to move companies from one jurisdiction to another if the regulatory/tax burdens becomes too extreme, the general fiscal responsibility of the vast majority of executive boards, their generally low debt position and the high profit margins lead one to consider that equities and corporate bonds are a rather safer home than ­sovereign debt (of whichever nation).  

The major advantage of a sovereign nation has always been the accepted lore of their ability to raise taxes no matter what the economic situation. Even so, as we see from Spain and Italy’s recent tax receipt numbers—and even the UK over the past few months—this accepted truism may be starting to wear thin.  People in general continue to lose any respect for their government’s ability to spend wisely. If then the average German, Finn or Dutchman decides that bailing out Southern Europe is not his responsibility and we effectively move towards a Greek position on paying tax, or voting for parties that espouse a more isolationist policy, the general deficit situation may well ­deteriorate exponentially.

All the while, returns on equities look to be attractive in the current interest rate environment. The FTSE 100 yield is over 4% as is the Stoxx 50 and the dividend adjusted price versus the cost of acquisition is now at historically high levels. Obviously, dividends might well be lowered over the coming years as growth looks more remote, but interest rates are likely to remain sub 1% as well, so even a reduction in payments might not be accompanied by a fall in price. Returns on stocks have remained remarkably stable despite the current political brouhaha. However, this might be the time that this ‘value’ was reappraised upwards to reflect falling returns elsewhere. 

For all of the truly awful news of the last six to twelve months the FTSE is still pretty much where it was this time last year. It might not take much in the way of good news to send us higher. Of course, this said, we do still need the politicians to make at least a couple of good choices!

As ever ladies and gentlemen, place your bets! 

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