Friday 11 January 2013

Abchat Weekly Wrap Up: Is it time to stand alone from Europe?

Rather than leave the EU altogether, David Cameron has expressed his desire for a looser relationship with the EU and the repatriation of powers to Britain. He feels there is a need to redefine the relationship, especially surrounding moves towards further integration by countries using the euro. However, despite his suggestion for “fresh consent” at any new deal, some MPs want him to commit further with the ’in-out vote’.

The responses this week from both outside and inside the EU were weary and negative towards any exit / change. Shedding light on the ‘within the EU’ opinion included Mr Gilmore, Ireland’s foreign minister. He warned that any special settlement between Britain and the EU would lead to a free for all that could break-up the block: “The EU is not an a la carte menu.” Additionally, Gunther Krichbaum, Chairman of the Bundestag’s European Affairs Committee, went as far as saying that “losing the single market for the UK would be an economic disaster”, whilst also damaging relations with Washington for both London and Brussels.

On Wednesday the Obama administration publicly outlined its growing concern. The so called “special relationship” is, in American eyes, best served by the UK remaining at the Heart of Europe. Philip Gordon, assistant secretary for European affairs said, “We welcome an outward-looking EU with Britain in it” and that we risk “turning inward” over an EU referendum.

Within Britain there is concern from Business leaders; including Sir Richard Branson. He warned that Mr Cameron would fail if he sought a “wholesale renegotiation” of Britain’s membership, heightening the risks of a No Vote. However, Herman Von Rompuy did not completely rule out any treaty change in the future.

We wait with great expectation; the prime minister’s planned up-coming speech in the Netherlands within the next two weeks.

In the Emerging Markets, Japan received a $116bn stimulus package from its government to help boost growth and the economy.

The first retail casualty of the New Year emerged this week as Jessops announces it has collapsed into administration. The demise of the high-street camera chain will put 2,000 jobs at risk, although its administrators PwC have immediately sought a buyer for the 192 stores.

In healthcare, Galapagos delivered its fifth pre-clinical trial candidate to its joint venture partner GlaxoSmithKline. The potential drug seeks to help fight immuno-inflammatory diseases, and could result in the Belgian company receiving more than €200m.

The government bond market has responded significantly to the news that the Office for National Statistics body has shelved plans to alter the Retail Price Index, which acts as reference for about £300bn of gilts. The unexpected ruling triggered the biggest one day rally to the inflation-linked gild market since 1987.

STOCKWATCH: Tesco shed some much needed positive light following its profit warning last year. The Group reported its best sales figures for three years and a 1.8% growth in like-for-like sales figures in the 6 weeks to January 5. This sales victory helped restore investor confidence in its turnaround strategy and shares in the company rose by 7.7p to 356.85p.

Abchaps kicked off the year with two great Market Lunches this week, with one focusing on Life Sciences. Positive outlooks for 2013 seemed unanimous, in particular for Emerging Markets and Life Sciences.

Charles Stanley has appointed their transport analyst Douglas McNeill as investment director its new direct-to-client investment service. He will transfer to Charles Stanley Direct from Charles Stanley Securities, the company’s institutional division. Prior to joining Charles Stanley in 2012, McNeill held positions at ABN Amro and Barclays de Zoete Wedd. In his new position, McNeill will take charge of all equity research within Charles Stanley Direct, launching in Q1.

Law firm SJ Berwin has appointed Steven Fogel to its partnership board and as a non-executive director. Previously senior partner of Titmuss Sainer, Fogel led the law firm in its merger with Dechert, where he served as managing partner until June last year. Fogel is also a board member for London University and chairman of Uropharma, the medical device business.

Mark Boucher has rejoined Smith & Williamson Investment Management’s UK equity team. He returns as director, head of UK equities, and co-manager of the firm’s Enterprise fund. Boucher left the firm in 2009 to run UK monies for a US-based hedge fund.

Graham Wrightson has joined law firm Stephenson Harwood as pensions partner in their employment and pensions practice. He was previously partner and head of UK legal consulting at Mercer, the human resources advisory. Wrightson specialises in advising trustees and employers on pensions arrangements.

Shaun O’Callaghan has joined Grant Thornton as UK head of restructuring. With over 20 years' experience as an advisor, he was previously a senior manager at FTI Consulting, and lead partner for KPMG’s strategic and operational restructuring practice. The accountancy firm has also promoted Sarah Bell to Restructuring Partner.

Michael Brown and Martin Sandler have both been appointed partners of law firm Bird & Bird. Brown is a solicitor-advocate with 18 years’ experience in dispute resolution and joins from Jones Day. He has also worked for Citigroup and NatWest. Sandler specialises in regulatory and transactional work, and has previously held roles at NYSE Euronext and Merrill Lynch.

"Brexit" - British Exit from the European Union

Forza Winter Pop-up Rooftop Fonduta Restaurant is open until 02.02.2013. In a secret London location, all is revealed upon booking!

This weekend at Acklam Village Market you can see some fantastic musical acts, arts and delicious food.

The International London Ice Sculpting Festival is on this weekend in Jubilee Park. It is free to attend and everyone will have an opportunity to get involved!

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