Here we are on Day 122 with 244 Days to go in 2020 so exactly one third of the way through the year. On February 17 a mere 74 days ago WTI Oil traded at $53. And now it is $17. Gold at present just over $1700. The Dow at 24,335 and the FTSE 100 at 5926. Amidst all this, currency markets have steadied having gyrated in synch with the equity markets in the past few weeks. The Fed has done a terrific job in instilling some calm in all the markets while the ECB has been seen as playing catch up with the latest message from Frankfurt suggesting that the ECB wants to keep something back rather than take the pre-emptive stance of the Federal Reserve. European politicians are rapidly splitting into two camps with the hardline Northern European countries resisting the Europe wide support package approach espoused by the French, Spanish and Italians. If ever Europe really needed to re-establish the Entente Cordiale, this May 1 is it.
As well as making all those well known cereal brands, Kelloggs of course manufactures that staple of couch potatoes the world over: Pringles. As you might well imagine what with the Lock Down and everyone making their own entertainment, never mind all that judicious buying-aka hoarding, profits have increased by 23% in Q1 for the Battle Creek, Michigan USA based company. So as you glug your cocktail of choice this evening at the end of week 6 of the enforced stay at home, pop open that tube of Pringles and know that you are contributing to a further example of a company managing to prosper during these challenging times.
Ending tonight having kicked off 24 hours before, the Christian feast to celebrate Saint Walpurga, an abbess renowned for fighting the pest, rabies, whooping cough and witchcraft, has been celebrated since 870AD. The celebration is observed in Northern and Central Europe including Netherlands, Germany, Czech Rep, Slovenia, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland and Estonia.
However only in Sweden in the town of Lund has there been a novel but highly effective solution to stopping the spread of Covid-19 during the festivities. Before you all click on your Google Map App and rush off to Lund( it’s 15 minutes by train from Malmo), this is unfortunately not a breakthrough for science, rather just an old fashioned tactical approach: to stop socially minded partying Swedes from cross fertilising(sorry), the canny folk at Lund town hall have ordered chicken manure to be sprayed liberally across the municipal park. Useful to have a well fitting mask to blot out the awful pong!
Have a great and healthy weekend!
Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder