News & Insight Weekly Newsletters

28 May 2021 | William Buckhurst

That Was The Week That Was


  • The UK saw further shortages in construction supplies caused by delays to a new post-Brexit certification system replacing the Europe-wide CE trade markings
  • In the US, President Biden prepared to unveil a $6trn annual budget that incorporates sweeping plans for large-scale government investment
  • The OECD said that global GDP would rise 5.8% this year, a significant upgrade from the 4.2% forecast in December, and 4.4% next year


The ISM’s April survey of purchasing managers across the US showed a backlog of orders that was the highest on records that date back to 1993. The average time for sourcing production materials increased in April by four days to 79 days — the highest since ISM began collecting data in 1987.


  • Randall & Quilter decided to rebase the dividend, effectively cutting it in half
  • Disney CEO Robert Chapek made positive comments on its parks saying that Disney World could be at full capacity by the end of the year
  • UK parts supplier Senior rejected a £700m bid from US private equity firm Lone Star
  • Green shoots at Marks & Spencer as online growth accelerated this year, partially offsetting the decline in store sales


It felt timely to consider the old adage of “sell in May, go away...” It worked very well from 1950 up to 2013 when global markets had an average return of only 0.3% during the summer months. But since then, markets have averaged close to 5% returns from May to September.


We worry whether there will be any UK small and mid-cap stocks left by the end of the year after a slew of bid approaches this week including Spire Healthcare, Vectura and Senior amongst others. These fears certainly weren’t felt in the Odyssean Investment Trust offices where managers Stuart Widdowson and Ed Wielechowski had managed to select two of those three in their top ten going into May. Since the beginning of the financial year the trust has returned an impressive 26%.


1896: The start of the Dow Jones Industrial Average at 40.94. At the time, the index only contained 12 stocks including General Electric and American Tobacco Company

1950: In the UK, petrol rationing finally ends 11 years after the outbreak of World War II.


Senator Elizabeth Warren took Jamie Dimon and others to task for charging overdraft fees during the pandemic. The four biggest banks took $4bn in overdraft fees from customers last year, she said while singling out Dimon, asking him how much his bank collected in 2020. “I think your numbers are totally inaccurate,” he countered. The senator kept pressing and finally provided the figure herself: “It’s $1.463bn dollars... I did the math for you” Warren said, calling their claims about stepping up during the pandemic “about $4bn dollars’ worth of baloney.” When challenged to return the fees, none agreed. She asked Dimon directly twice, and he said “no” twice.



% returns

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1 Year

5 Years

UK Equities (% return GBP)





World Equities (% return GBP)





10 Year US Treasury Yield (%)





GBP / USD (fx rate)





 As at 28th May 2021. Source: Financial Express

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