Tuesday 20 February 2018

Crisps and chocolate

The humble crisp has a lot to answer for. Latest consumer price index figures show that inflation for the last 12 months was running at 2.2 per cent -- slightly less nasty than the previous month. We're facing a rather nasty bit of stagnation -- inflation coupled with stagnant growth. Yay! But crisps were one of the most noticeable inflationary items last month. The price of crisps jumped a chunky 4.6 per cent in January. Chocolate also rose in price by 4.1 per cent last month.

Cooking equipment

Either you want to be a Nigella or a Rachel or even a Heston or you're too damn broke and need to make a packed lunch for work. Either way you'll need a bit of a kitchen and some gear. But spending money on a new Le Creuset pan or Sabatier knife makes a bit of a dent in the pay packet, so it's not something done too lightly. Sales of kitchen units and equipment dropped by 67 per cent in the second half of last year according to new stats from eBay.ie. However January was a busy month with sales showing a turnaround.

Irish bond yields

Irish government bond yields have fallen below 7 per cent. . . but they're not going any lower fast. While it's spiffing that the riskiness of Irish bonds has tumbled since the horror show last year, it's still completely unsustainable to borrow at this sort of level. And mad. The plan is for Ireland to return to the markets at the end of this year or early next year and borrow lots of money at 7 per cent. Or go back to the Troika and get another bailout at an interest rate of half nothing.

Insomnia coffee sales

Sales of lattes, cappuccinos or flat whites rose by 0.9 per cent last week compared with the same week in 2011. It wasn't all down to that savage hangover on a Thursday morning. . . although it must have helped. There's not much of a heartbeat in the retail sector so any sign of an improvement in consumers spending money -- even just €3.50 for a coffee and a muffin -- is a positive.

Investment levels

Investment as a percentage of GDP is at approximately 10 per cent which is an all-time low. This is car-crash stuff for the economy as it hampers future growth. If we're not spending money to buy a new factory or things that go beep then we'll be left flat-footed when demand ultimately picks up again. Spend people, spend!

Commercial property yields

Commercial property yields are at their highest level on record since 1995 due to the 65 per cent drop in office prices. Lots of rich people are nursing mega losses on their portfolios; these yields -- a bit like the interest the asset pays -- are blooming attractive. Now if Nama would just get its thumb out and start looking at deals or even returning phone calls to investors, things could get a bit busier in the market, which is infinitely better than the current paralysis.

VectorVest CI Indicator of ISEQ Overall Index

The VectorVest Comfort Index is a slick new indicator which reflects a stock's ability to resist severe and/or lengthy price declines. The ISEQ Overall Index is registering a score of 0.61 which is poor on a scale of 0.0 and 2.0. -- with a score of 2 being the puppy's privates. Even so, it is an improvement since the beginning of the year, when ISEQ clocked up a 0.59 rating. However the Irish stock exchange is a pretty bombed-out entity with CRH, Tullow, Greencore and possibly DCC and C&C looking for listings in London instead.

Sunday Indo Business

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