Zak Mir boldly steps forward to address a subject where it is difficult to be gender neutral: International Women’s Day.
Zak Mir of http://www.ZakMir.com celebrates the “other half of the sky.”
Zak Mir asks Rory Broomfield whether if we would actually know if there was not going to be a Brexit? The European Court of Justice and Theresa May’s “red lines” are also in focus.
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This week saw Corbyn backing the Customs Union, and May’s begging speech to the EU, with five conditions that will never be met. It is clear that Brexit will never happen, with the game now to string along the Leavers for as long as possible. So far even the clever ones like Rees Mogg think Brexit will eventually happen. The cliche which applies is death by a thousand cuts.
Brexit is legally supposed to be a a two year journey from the time a country gives notice to quit. However, it would appear that from the fateful day of 23 June 2016 it has taken rather less than this amount of time for the whole process to be dead in the water. It is now difficult to argue that the best side, and the status quo, has won.
A Client State
It is worth Googling “The Day Brexit Died” as you will see that the penny dropped via smart commentators (Prospect Magazine) regarding the demise of a“Hard” Brexit just before Christmas. Less than three months later, the whole game is up and the UK is effectively set up to be a client state of the EU.
A British Pie In The Face
It looks as though it will be the case that 26 February 2018 was the Day Brexit Died – paraphrasing Don Maclean’s American Pie. Indeed, the (British) pie in the face for the Leave cause has been delivered by someone who was always allegedly a Brexiteer, Prime Minister in Waiting Jeremy Corbyn. We know the wound is fatal to the cause as its retired General, Nigel Farage, has described a Labour “sell out.”
To be fair, it has not just been Mr Corbyn who has “subverted the will of the people”. There are more thanks to give than an blubbing Oscar winner: among those who can be honourably mentioned in no particular order are – the BBC, FT, Supreme Court / Gina Miller, Barristers, Lawyers, Accountants, CBI, BMA, The FCA for waving through the City of London degrading MiFID II, MP’s, Millennials, Buy to Let Landlords, the CBI, most of the FTSE 100, Journalists, Unions, and probably Donald Trump, as he is to blame for most things at the moment. Even Nick Clegg’s book, How To Stop Brexit may actually have played a part akin to the Butterfly Effect.
A Right To Be Wrong
Now that the game is up for Brexit, there are just a few points to reflect on. The first is how staging a referendum with its wrong result unleashed a political and media panic which has finally reversed the situation on this fateful day.
Love Thy Neighbour
The second is that despite all the Leave punchlines like the £350m a week cost saving, the real issue was never really touched upon: why would anyone living in one country want to be ruled by another country? Japan is not ruled by China, Brazil by Argentina or India by Pakistan. But Remainers in Britain seem quite happy to be effectively ruled by Germany or France via the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice. The Remain argument has always to be inextricably allied to a United States of Europe. It would appear this is the future.
But perhaps this aspect of pan border influence is not a killer blow – we live in a globalised world, with free labour movement to achieve subsistence wages, asset bubbles for the rich to surf, and the destruction of communities enabling greater and greater central control.
Europe As An Empire
Over the past forty years the European Union has though, exceeded its initial remits and limits. The historic definition of an empire is that one is usually forced in, and never allowed out without a fight either physical or otherwise. The usual pattern as in the case of the Soviet Union is that no one leaves until the whole edifice goes down.
The Lobster Pot
While the EU has been keen to gobble up new nations, it is quite clear that at the very least it is a lobster pot, and may very well be the infamous Hotel California described by both The Eagles and their fan former Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis.
The Great Escape
The theory at least is that given the UK’s experiences to date since 2016, the jury is very much out as to whether we are looking at leaving a Union or not being able to leave an Empire? For instance, the territory of Greenland left in 1985. However, it did so well before the organisation stopped being a trading alliance and become a political and economic protection racket? Perhaps Catalonia will have better luck at The Great Escape than us loyal Brits?
A Cheap £50 Note
Even though we are fast approaching a cashless society, paying £20 for a £50 note still resonates. This is just as well as it is the tag line of Deep Value Investing which resonates most.
It also makes it quite obvious how with relatively little fanfare, this book is now on its second edition. What is perhaps just as notable is that this review is being carried out by a die hard technical analyst for whom in theory financial ratios and balance sheets should be an anathema. What I can also say, is that if this book had appeared some 30 years ago, I might not have wandered down the charting path with such gusto. In fact, author Jeroen Bos is a fund manager who has been walking the streets of the City of London for some 30 years, and is still plying his trade today.
The Age Of The Algo
But the question may very well be, that in an age of algorithms and MiFID II, are methods which echo the ways of Benjamin Graham or his protoge Warren Buffett still applicable? We are also thinking of whether in the recent past where “rock star” fund managers have bitten dust, along with companies like Carillion, can the Deep Value approach provide a degree of immunity?
It would appear that according to Bos, and with the case histories in his book, the answer is in the affirmative. Indeed, perhaps the only real issue left to solve for those in the market currently is whether after over a decade of bull market conditions the low hanging fruit of opportunity may have already been harvested. But according to Bos, it is almost uncanny how there are almost always a contingent of unloved companies in bombed out sectors who provide those who are able to ignore the cackle of the crowd and focus on balance sheets, assets and liabillities. Rather gratifyingly you do not need to be a nuclear physicist or perhaps more appropriately, an expert in algebra to apply what Mr Bos does in order to glean the value situations. In this he is from the perspective of someone riding high with a C grade Maths O Level, something of a godsend.
Indeed, the message is clear from the balance sheets we see on each stock example, cash really is king, and for those interested in the world of M&A. If you are trying to second guess what the next bid target may be, it is better not to go for bulletin board rumour, and instead read between the lines of a company’s accounts. Bos tells us where to look in Deep Value Investing, and for this his readers will be thankful, and in many case better off.
Reading Between The Lines
The message from this book is that you can keep investing simple, and may be most importantly, you do not have to be a City insider, or just plain lucky. Ironically, for the more senior investors what can be regarded as the most helpful aspect of Deep Value Investing is the opportunity to “look over his shoulder” as he reads the RNSs of the companies is about to invest in, or has invested in. Reading between the lines is clearly not just related to accounting, but also with regard to newsflow.
Just as an update to the technical argument earlier this afternoon, it seems it is worth keeping in mind the alleged M&A interest around Anadarko Petroleum. It is said that oil & gas giants Shell (LON:RDSB), and Exxon (NYSE:XOM) are running the rule over Anadarko, especially after recent favourable results.
The theoretical take out price would be between $80-$90 a share, something which would make sense if nothing else as a premium over the current share price. Otherwise the technical target of $70 looks achievable, especially with ongoing oil price firmness, and the latest strong price action for Anadarko stock.
Zakmir.com is a purely journalistic website – Zak Mir is a member of the National Union of Journalists. There is no intention here of providing financial advice. It is recommended you seek an independent professional opinion before deciding whether or not to take any action with regard to anything written here.