Business slows down for silly season

2013-12-24 00:00

SILLY season has started and asset managers and their high net worth clients have gathered their families and are currently more interested in the figures on the beach than the figures on the screens and those in the spread sheets.

Broker’s offices are staffed by the unlucky few who sit around playing solitaire and spend most of their time planning lunch, while the higher-paid decision makers of the investment committees are skiiing in Europe.

And it’s not only in SA; it’s a worldwide thing. Even the industrious Chinese have to slow down a bit, because their favourite dealers in London are tanning somewhere on the French coast.

The past week saw the last of the important announcements for a while.

U.S. central bankers told the world that the economy is doing well enough to start the so-called tapering off of the monetary stimulus.

Investment advisers translated it to their clients as good news to set everybody’s mind at ease before the holidays.

International markets reacted as expected, which keeps everybody happy. We haven’t even heard anything from Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, for a while.

In South Africa, the JSE’s holiday started after the close-out of the December futures contracts on Thursday afternoon and a lacklustre, if somewhat firmer, Friday.

Shares ended the week higher, but not good enough to erase the losses of the previous week. Several shares chalked up advances of five percent and more, but still a couple of rands short from the losses of last week.

Advances were spread across the board with no sector justifying special attention.

The rand strengthened and the gold price moved little enough not to upset the apple cart. The last damp squib of the last week before beer-for-breakfast brunches was that CFR Pharmaceuticals postponed the shareholder meeting for Adcock Ingram shareholders to vote on their take-over offer until the new year, if ever.

Expect nothing of interest this week. Maybe one or two companies will try to publish some bad news, which they hope does not attract too much attention — financial journalist also go on holiday and news does go stale after three weeks.

The only thing to watch is the reaction of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s revelation that he is not available for a second term with no replacement in sight. — Fin24.

• After chasing money on the JSE for 15 years, Adriaan Kruger is now living a relaxed lifestyle in Wilderness and lectures economics part-time at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

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