News & Insight Weekly Newsletters

08 December 2023 | William Buckhurst | Charlie Todd

That Was The Week That Was


  • Non-farm payrolls data showed that US employers added 199,000 jobs in November, a jump from October and another sign of labour market strength 
  • Cop28 UN climate summit have entered their final phase as governments try to find a common ground
  • Gold hits an all-time high of $2,135 as the dollar weakens. Interestingly, Bitcoin is also heading higher


  • After the recent shenanigans at OpenAI, their independence is being questioned by UK regulators as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) asks for comment about its ties with Microsoft
  • An AI surge was powered by both Alphabet (announcing a new model called Gemini) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), who estimated the potential for its data centre chip (MI300X) at $45bn and one that could compete with Nvidia’s graphics processor unit (GPU) dominance
  • Ashtead Group released their quarterly earnings following the trading update in November as Q2 revenue increased by 11% to $2.6bn and mentioned the “robust” end markets
  • The streamlining at ITM Power under Dennis Schulz seem to be gaining momentum as it confirmed its guidance as the expenditure is “trending well
  • British American Tobacco admitted their traditional US business has run out of puff, writing off £25bn as it considers its brands such as Newport and Camel to have a 30-year life left rather than an infinite one
  • Rio Tinto had their investor day in Sydney with the CEO, Jakob Stausholm, pouring cold water over large deal rumours: “the last thing we need is very big M&A, because it’s very disruptive and it takes you off course.” They also announced plans for a $6.2bn investment in Guinea which they expect to be in production by 2025
  • An encouraging update at the Berenberg Conference from the CEO of Pets at Home, Lyssa McGowan, who also suggested they have sold 200,000 advent calendars for pets at £30 a pop!


Two out, but one back in! Smart Metering Systems, a long time darling in the AIM market, revealed a cash offer from KKR, the American private equity group, for 955p, 40% above the closing price of the previous day. TEN Entertainment (bowling alleys) were also approached by a PE firm across the pond, as Trive Capital announced a £287m deal.

Fortunately, these were partially offset by the news that Vin Murria’s investment vehicle, AdvancedADVT will be relisting on AIM after the culmination of the purchase of five businesses from Capita. They have subsequently sold one.


As mentioned above, the weakening dollar has led gold higher but Spanish olive oil prices have risen 70% this year due to two consecutive years of drought. Prices are currently lower in the UK than Spain, but we would expect this gap to narrow. Coming up to Christmas, our contact at The London Larder suggests coconut oil or butter as an alternative.


Congratulations to Jesse Darling for winning the above prize with his sculptures No Medals, No Ribbons which were made up of faded union jack bunting and metal pedestrian barriers (perhaps some from Sunbelt Rentals, the subsidiary of Ashtead Group?) and shown in two locations: Modern Art Oxford and Enclosures at Camden Art Centre


1974: The Dow Jones falls to a low of 577.60, a 45% decline from the highs in early 1973 marking the bottom of the 1973-1974 bear market. The Dow’s P/E ratio stands at 6.2x, one of its lowest readings in history. The market also got news that the unemployment rate had risen to 6.5% and the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to 7.75% from 8%

1996: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan gave his famous “irrational exuberance” speech, warning investors of inflated share prices roughly four years before the dot-com bubble burst



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 As at 8th December 2023. Source: InFront


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