News & Insight Weekly Newsletters

01 March 2024 | William Buckhurst | Charlie Todd

That Was the Week That Was


  • In a quiet week the UK press were kept busy with various rumours about the Spring Budget (6th March)
  • US Q4 GDP numbers came in better than expected at 3.2% year-on-year
  • The Yen strengthened against its worldwide peers as the Bank of Japan gave some hawkish comments despite the annual CPI rate rising to 2.2%


  • UK housebuilders were highlighted (again!) as the CMA – Competition and Markets Authority – opened a case on non-public information sharing against eight companies – Barratt, Bellway, Berkeley, Bloor Homes, Persimmon, Redrow, Taylor Wimpey and Vistry
  • Berkshire Hathaway released their quarterly results over the weekend with Warren Buffett leading with a tribute to his ex-colleague, Charlie Munger, whilst highlighting issues in the insurance and utility parts of the business. Otherwise, things continue to progress well
  • Direct Line were approached by the Belgium insurance company, Ageas, sending their shares higher
  • Reckitt Benckiser shares fell by over 10% as results disappointed. Sales declined when the market was expecting some sort of growth and divisionally things weren’t much better
  • Hunting, the oil services group, had excellent results, boosting the share price, but elected not to up their full-year guidance
  • One of the most popular stocks in lockdown for US retail investors was Snowflake and was having a renaissance with the boom in AI attributed stocks. However, the shares fell 18% on results this week as numbers missed expectations while the legendary CEO, Frank Slootman, announced he would be stepping down
  • IMI, the UK motion and fluid control engineering specialists, had very solid numbers as their turnaround continues to gather momentum
  • The current label and owner of Taylor Swift’s back catalogue (amongst others), Universal Music, had very good numbers with EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) increasing 9.2% to beat expectations. The company announced a strategic organisational redesign that would generate €250million in annual run-rate savings by 2026
  • With Mike Ashley in the courts vs. Morgan Stanley on a trading issue, his son-in-law Michael Murray, now CEO of Frasers Group, was trading in other stocks, buying up 11m shares of Hornby - the model train and Scalextric specialists - which looks to be a shrewd move (having already acquired 4m). In a busy week Frasers also acquired WiggleCRC out of administration to combine with its Evans Cycles Perhaps something for his father-in-law at Christmas?


At the beginning of February, we highlighted some car manufacturers rowing back on their EV expansion (Volvo were going to stop backing Polestar, Renault and VW were cancelling the IPOs of Ampere and PowerCo respectively). This week we had a leak from Apple that their “Project Titan” EV project had been parked and Mercedes and Aston Martin both paused their new divisions. It is simply a battle between Tesla and the Chinese manufacturers, or maybe Frasers (see above) are correct and EVs should stick to Scalextric?


The US stock market has the “Magnificent 7.” In Europe, they have the “Granolas” a term coined by Goldman Sachs to describe 11 ascendant European companies that have lifted European markets to a record high. The companies — GSK, Roche, ASML, Nestlé, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, L’Oréal, LMVH, AstraZeneca, SAP, and Sanofi — have contributed half of the Stoxx Europe 600 increase over the last year.


1847: Alexander Graham Bell is born. He would patent the telephone, and would incorporate the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, now just known as AT&T

1957: The S&P 500 Index is introduced. Out of the 500 names that made up the index then, only 53 remain


% returns

1 Week

1 Month

1 Year

5 Years

UK Equities (% return)





World Equities (% return)





10 Year US Treasury Yield (%)





GBP / USD (fx rate)





 As at 1st March 2024. Source: InFront


This publication has been produced by Vermeer Investment Management Limited (VIM) trading as Vermeer Partners. It is provided for information purposes only. VIM makes no express or implied warranties and expressly disclaims all warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or use with respect to any data included in this publication. VIM will not treat unauthorised recipients of this publication as its clients. Prices shown are indicative and VIM is not offering to buy or sell or soliciting offers to buy or sell any financial instrument. Without limiting any of the foregoing and to the extent permitted by law, in no event shall VIM, nor any of its officers, directors, partners, or employees, have any liability for (a) any special, punitive, indirect, or consequential damages; or (b) any lost profits, lost revenue, loss of anticipated savings or loss of opportunity or other financial loss, even if notified of the possibility of such damages, arising from any use of this publication or its contents. Other than disclosures relating to VIM, the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources that VIM believes to be reliable, but VIM does not represent or warrant that it is accurate or complete. VIM is not responsible for, and makes no warranties whatsoever as to, the content of any third-party website referred to herein or accessed via a hyperlink in this publication and such information is not incorporated by reference. The views in this publication are those of the author(s) and are subject to change. VIM has no obligation to update its opinions or the information in this publication. This publication does not constitute personal investment advice or take into account the individual financial circumstances or objectives of the client who receives it. Any securities discussed herein may not be suitable for all investors. VIM recommends that investors independently evaluate each issuer, security or instrument discussed herein and consult any independent advisors they believe necessary. The value of and income from any investment may fluctuate from day to day as a result of changes in relevant economic markets (including changes in market liquidity). The information herein is not intended to predict actual results, which may differ substantially from those reflected. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. This material has been issued and approved for distribution in the UK by VIM. ©2024 Vermeer Investment Management Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or redistributed in any manner without the prior written permission of VIM. VIM is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 710280) and is incorporated in England and Wales (company number: 09081916).

Back to News & Insights