News & Insight Weekly Newsletters

05 January 2024 | William Buckhurst | Charlie Todd

That Was The Week That Was


  • The US jobs openings were still up at 8.8m, while the ISM Manufacturing survey was slightly better than expected
  • The non-farm payrolls data showed an increase of 216,000 jobs, much stronger than the expected 164,000. The December unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%
  • Although European inflation numbers were in line, the German print was unexpectedly higher on energy prices, while retail sales were down 3%
  • China weakness continues as stocks recorded their worst start to a year since 2019 after weak manufacturing and home sales data, and more proposed restrictions around the internet gaming sector


  • Two profit warnings in the athleisure apparel space as Nike highlighted cautious customer spending, weaker online business and more promotions. JD Sports lowered guidance as gross margins were below expectations and full-year profits for 2024 are likely to be 10% lower than previously forecast
  • Whereas Next had good results and upped guidance. They did however mention that the Suez shipping route is already proving difficult
  • ASML were caught in the crosshairs of the Sino-US trade war and therefore suspended some Eastern shipments
  • David Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner, and Bob Bakish, his Paramount counterpart, discussed a potential merger. As The Guardian pointed out perhaps Top Gun and Barbie will get hitched!
  • Accenture had in-line results and highlighted $450m in Gen AI related sales in the quarter, compared to $300m for the whole of their previous fiscal year
  • China’s BYD overtook Tesla to be the top EV seller
  • ValueAct – one of the most successful activist investors – increased their stake in Disney


A nice start to the year as BioPharma Credit (BPCR) announced that their troubled loan to LumiraDX will be partially repaid as the company is being bought out by Roche. As BPCR are no longer holding inside information they will be now allowed to buy back their own stock and reduce the discount to net asset value


Agronomics, the cellular agriculture and cultivated meat specialists, reported results for the year as NAV grew 14% to 16.94p. The carrying amount of invested assets rose 49% to £141.8m as Agronomics actively led funding initiatives for various ground-breaking companies. Post period end, portfolio company BlueNalu (cell-cultured seafood) raised $33.5m from new and existing investors in its latest round


Congratulations to those who were named in the second Honours list by King Charles. Unlike the 16-year-old dart sensation, Luke Littler, these company heavyweights tend to be in the twilights of their career, we highlight the Dames and Knights:

Amanda Blanc (CEO, Aviva)

Tristia Harrison (CEO, Talk Talk)

Stephen Hester (Chair, Easyjet and Nordea)

Tim Martin (Chair, JD Wetherspoons)


There’s a scene in the film Groundhog Day which pertains. Phil Conners, the weather reporter speaks on camera: “You wanna forecast, Princess? I’ll give you a forecast. It’s gonna be cold. It’s gonna be dark. And it’s gonna last for the rest of your life.” Most economists employ an equally downbeat view of the future. Throughout most of 2022 and the start of this year, we were all told that a global recession was imminent. Yet…


1972: The US returns to the Gold Standard. The country was moved to a paper, or fiat, system in 1862 during the civil war when President Lincoln signed the ‘Legal Tender Act’ . It was not until 17 years later that the country would return to a gold backed currency

2018: Yahoo shares reach an all-time high. On this week in 2000 Yahoo had a market cap of $121bn, with earnings of only $61m


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 As at 5th January. Source: InFront


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