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The "What Ian Can See" WICS trading information newsletter - past edition.

Ian's weekly look at the world economic situation. Members get access to the current edition, archives, chart analysis and one-to-one mentoring on your trading.

April 28th 2019

Well, two swallows arrived on Monday, but they didn't stay long! That's summer over then.... There's nothing to look forward to now, other than the 23rd May Yooropean elections. Mme W and I received voting slips yesterday. Very fancy paper they're printed on, eh? Imagine the cost of that entire exercise in total futility! On the other hand, perhaps it's better not to think about it too deeply. Surely there has never been a more incompetent government in the whole of history?

Meanwhile in the markets, complacency continues to reign supreme, regardless of the clearly unpleasant stuff that is everywhere to be found if you bother to look. "Unpleasant" for the twelve hundred or so staff certainly describes the Debenhams plan to close twenty-two shops, just to give one example. The slowly accelerating death of the High Street is painful to watch, but we're all guilty of hastening it, are we not? For example (and yes, I too am guilty!) it seems that Majestic Wines is going to close all two hundred of its shops because Naked Wines (its owner) is doing so well online...... I know it's not that simple of course - for example in the case of Majestic, our nearest outlet is about fifty miles away and the parking there is almost non existent anyway, whereas the Naked website is excellent, and Mr Yodel delivers our three monthly order to the door within two days of placing it. That's just one example of what's happening throughout the retail world of course, and it hardly makes for secure employment in that area. Likewise, investment bankers must be getting a wee bit twitchy about job security - I see Barclays is the latest to have slashed bonuses. Others will follow, with redundancies just around the corner.

Job security is hard to achieve these days, and I note too that Blighty's levels of credit card debt appear to be on the high side.

In London, 'tis said that property prices are falling.

An interesting piece!

Across the Pond, Harley Davidson sales are collapsing, all caused by EU tariffs according to the All-Knowing One. He plans $11bn worth of "retaliatory" measures. What a silly person he is.

Meanwhile, "stuff" keeps right on a'bubblin' just under the surface, as I have mentioned many times in the past - yet still the complacency dominates everything to do with the markets. Here's another piece of the aforementioned "stuff" - note particularly the paragraph about sub prime loans.....

Meanwhile in Yoorp, the planned Deutsche Bank/Commerzbank merger has fallen apart, which doesn't surprise me at all, and further afield I note that Argentina is once again in basket case territory - again, hardly a surprise but just another wee canary in the coal mine anent the true state of the overall world economy. Maybe that should read "Turkey in the coal mine" when I think about it...........

Anyway, all the foregoing leads me to quote one of the immutable laws of the financial universe: "Low volatility and complacency beget high volatility and panic". That's the law, plain and simple. You'll see!

Moving along then to one or two sillier things, followed by a double rant I'm afraid!

In the "silly" category was the banning of nuts on Easyjet flights. Theresa will just have to use a different airline then....

I note too that a comedian has just become Ukraine's president. So what? We have had comedians in charge of Blighty for years.

BBC Scotland ran a piece about a classic car restoration business the other day. Its manager told the reporter that sometimes, owners want upgrades fitted, such as air conditioning. Quoth he "The other day, we fitted a reversing camera to the back of a Rolls Royce." Hmm - better than to the front of the car I suppose.

Then there was the wanted man who had a Faceplant page looking for him, set up by the cops. He posted something on it himself, and was caught. Dummy.

And how about the Maritime Museum and gender neutral boats? How utterly ridiculous!

But to end tonight's ramble, not one, but two mini rants for you to ponder.

First, this Extinction Rebellion thing. My goodness - they're so ill-informed and barking up the wrong tree! That Swedish lassie Greta, is obviously passionate, caring, dedicated - and I will say no ill against her. However, as with the vast majority of those who care about the planet, she's not "listening to the scientists" even though she exhorts us all to do so. She's listening to the scientists who have a voice. She's not seeking out other views of what's going on. She's not digging deep enough. She doesn't realise that "the scientists" who are in the mainstream, are too often beholden to the grants provided to academia by big business. They say what people want to hear. Other scientists with different thoughts about climate change data, are nobbled, basically. Their universities get funding cut off. They lose their jobs. Their findings don't get published, because what they suggest isn't what the politicians and big business want them to say. If you have been reading these mutterings for any length of time you'll be aware that I have given you more than a few links to "alternative notions about global warming" and you'll know how sceptical I am about "the agenda" overall. Consider this latest piece, for example.

Sadly, people want to believe "the authorities" and they refuse to countenance other science if it goes against conventional wisdom. Now, I'm not saying all the mainstream science is "wrong". There's plenty that's on the money, but it's all far too one-sided for my enquiring mind to be satisfied with it. And of course the point here too is that it's not global warming alone that's causing problems - it's the massive overuse of plastics, of pesticides, of herbicides etc etc that's causing all sorts of beasties to become endangered/extinct. Greta Thunberg and her followers would better serve the planet were they to focus not on trying to "stop" (Hah!) global warming but on acknowledging its existence and looking to mitigate its effects - such as stopping all construction on flood plains as mentioned here last weekend, and meantime focusing on the extinction implications of overuse of the aforementioned plastics and agrochemicals, things which are actually within our gift to deal with.

Anyway, that's rant number one. Rant number two is about even more immediate danger to wildlife. I refer to the Packham person and the withdrawal by Natural England of its General Licence that allowed farmers and the like to control certain nasty things like carrion crows. The man's ignorance is astounding! There again, he's a self serving clown and would never allow a few inconvenient scientific facts to stand in the way of a lucrative media career. There's an excellent piece about the fiasco by Jamie Blackett in Saturday's Torygraph, but it's behind a paywall so I'm not providing the link here. The main point he makes is simple enough however. The skylark is an endangered bird. It's laying its eggs more or less now. The carrion crow and the magpie are its major predators and hitherto could be controlled to the extent that skylark populations, although badly damaged by predation on their nests, weren't terminally affected by such destruction.

Interestingly, the RSPB controlled corvids on some of its land in order to protect some vulnerable species..... This year however, no control of corvids is permitted (other than in Scotland, because thankfully SNH didn't go for the kneejerk response to Packham's nonsense. Likewise, Wales and Northern Ireland haven't been so stupid, as yet.) Are the crows endangered? Nope - they're present in bigger numbers every year, despite "general licence" controls, due to the availability of roadkill, and to rubbish being dumped. Both these things sustain carrion eaters over the winter months, whereas in the past, many died during that period, creating an overall population balance. Man has destroyed that balance, hence the problem for the skylark - to which you can add the curlew, lapwing, grey partridge, indeed all ground nesting birds - not to mention baby hares. And magpies also take the eggs and nestlings of hedgerow-nesting birds like blackbirds, thrushes and so on. A zoologist I know well has calculated that one pair of carrion crows destroys a nest a day during the spring, for around six weeks while feeding its chicks. Forty nests per pair of crows/magpies! Oh, and one more thing anent the carrion crow ("hoodie crow" where I come from). When a ewe is lying in a field, struggling to give birth to her lamb/s, these delightful birds are wont to fly down and peck her eyes out. Nice. So, Mr Packham - as far as I'm concerned, your credibility as a conservationist is entirely non-existent. As I suggested earlier, you're nothing more than a self serving clown with no agenda whatever other than the furtherance of your career.

Oh - speaking of clowns (and having ranted on about environmental bits and pieces above) - Mr Musk of Tesla immediately springs into my consciousness. Make of this link what you will.

Food for thought, eh?

Finally before some charts, a point that perhaps reinforces my contention earlier about "science" being skewed in favour of what "authority" wants us to hear. You may or may not be aware of the (proven) fact that salmon farms along our coasts have caused a massive increase in the population of sea lice - nasty little beasties that feed off the flesh of fish like salmon and sea trout. In the wild, there might be half a dozen or so attached to a fish, and they die when the fish concerned enters fresh water to spawn, so there's a natural balance involved. Salmon farming has created a situation where infestations are so high in the sea lochs of the west of Scotland, that not only do hundreds of thousands of farmed salmon die every year, but so do many (most?) of the wild migratory variety. It's also the case that there is no life of any description on the sea bed anywhere near salmon cages, due to excrement deposits. Now, rod and line anglers have been up in arms about the matter for many years, but despite having commissioned much research at their own expense, their voice has been completely ignored by our dear friends, Scotland's SNP "government." Anyway, what am I getting at in my roundabout way? (Patience....) Well, eventually the anglers' voices became too insistent to ignore, so the Scottish guvvermint agreed to commission a report from its own Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). Said report of course was a total whitewash, and a wee birdie somewhere within the organisation (possibly an angler) caused a reporter to request some details from the Edinburgh numpties, under the Freedom of Information Act. After a struggle and several futile attempts, eventually the minister concerned was forced to release a rather damning piece of information about the instructions given to SEPA prior to the report being completed. To wit - "The (SEPA) findings must support industry expansion". Science? Hah! So make no mistake folks, we're being misled all the way along the road, be it salmon farming, climate change, effects on wildlife (and humans!) of agrochemicals etc etc. So there. I know these things.

Oh - one more thing, then some charts, I promise. I had a couple of emails after last weekend's mini rant about beards. Seemingly criticising Harry Windsor is a bit "off limits" (it's not off limits for me!) and beards are down to a BBC game show called Thrones. Not having a telly, I wouldn't know, but of course I accept your contention.

OK, onward to a chart or two and first there's a look at Tesla, having badmouthed Mr Musk above. Long term support has been broken on high volume, so "lower" has to be the probability here. I remain of the view that one day, bankruptcy will arrive...... Next, having spoken about the mess the High Street is in, Hammerson is worth a visit (owner of shopping centres). It looks like a drop below an earlier spike down, is likely after a countertrend channel took it back up for a while. Then there's a triangle to consider on the Wetherspoon chart, before finally taking a look at the current rising wedge on the DJIA chart.

OK folks - that's all for this weekend - must rush off now and protect my three pairs of skylarks, one pair of snipe, and various other wee birdies that live on these tranquil acres. The next issue of these mutterings will be on the 12th of May because next weekend the builder who has been taking loadsa dosh off me for the past eighteen months (and who has become a firm friend in the process) is going to show me all his secret fishing spots on a couple of the local rivers from which he has winkled oot troots for many years - an offer impossible to refuse!

All the best till the 12th.
Ian.

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'IMPORTANT NOTICE: This information is for EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. It represents only MY understanding of what is happening in the market for any particular share, stock, commodity or index. In NO circumstances should it be construed as recommendations to trade. If I choose to trade what I see, that is MY decision. YOU must, in turn, come to YOUR OWN conclusions about what action, if any, YOU might choose to take'.

 

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