Adam Parry – Markets share the love this Valentine’s Day
As this interminable lockdown continues, we have to be incredibly greatful for some live sport. And the weekend just gone presented us with a venerable smorgasbord of activity.
In Chennai, England took on India in the second test after a splendid win at the same venue last week and after a couple of days it looks as though that result may well have been an aberration after the visitors were rolled for 134 by the spin of Ashwin.
England were, however, far less successful against Scotland in the first round of Six Nations fixtures last week – in fact they were abject – but managed to bounce back against Italy on Sunday, while Scotland lost to Wales in a thriller and France turned over the Irish.
In Cortina, Vincent Kriechmayr won the Blue Riband Men’s Downhill at the Alpine World Championships. The ski-cross on Saturday was, however, possibly the most entertaining sporting fare of the weekend and we even had a Brit in the Big Final, although Oliver Davies missed the medals by finishing fourth…
“Hang on a minute” I hear all our female readers hollering “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
Well, there was the little matter of the Australian Open in tennis and the usual raft of Premier League fixtures.
Only joking. Yesterday of course was Valentine’s Day, but with all that sport and Mrs P and myself having very little else to do once she has finished shirking from home and I have finished watching the action from India, we decided to delay the romance for 24 hours.
The perfect menu for romance will follow at the end of this latest bout of drivel, but I think on Valentine’s Day, you also need the perfect soundtrack. And here is mine, although one suspects that there will be plenty of jeering in the shires at my choices.
At number 10, we warm up with that majestic paean of love and property from God’s own zyder country. The Wurzels with Combine Harvester.
In at 9, you’ve got to have an American power ballad, and I’ve plumped for REO Speedwagon and I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore.
At 8, a nod to Mrs P’s Irish roots. It’s Westlife and If I Let You Go.
At 7, a 70’s classic. Welcome Home by Peters and Lee.
At 6, possibly the most beautiful pop star the world has ever seen. Suzannah Hoffs and the Bangles with Eternal Flame.
Racing into the top 5 and there simply has to be a Whitney Houston song. I’ve plumped for Saving All My Love for You.
At 4, one of my karaoke favourites, and you can’t beat a beat of Elvis. Can’t Help Falling in Love.
At 3, and this may surprise you because it actually comes from this century! It’s Jamie Lawson and Wasn’t Expecting That.
At 2 it’s a man who used to live in my village and could whistle for Britain. It’s Roger Whitaker and his nautical ode The Last Farewell.
And this year’s Parry number one comes from the one, the only Barry Manilow. And when we saw him in Leeds a couple of years ago he brought the house down with his classic, Weekend In New England.
“And when will I see youuuuuuuuu….Again. Again. Again”
Brilliant stuff and worthy of any Deezer or Spotify Valentine’s playlist.
There is a lot of love going round in the markets this Valentine’s Day, too. Since the very minor shakeout at the end of January, US stocks have climbed to yet more record highs with the mighty NASDAQ topping the 14,000 level for the first time last week.
In Europe, the Dax also closed above 14,000 for the first time on February 5. The CAC is at it’s highest level in nearly a year and closing in on the record high of 6,111. Even the poor old FTSE – which has lagged most other stock markets since the Brexit vote – is looking in slightly better shape. In Asian markets, the Nikkei is closing in on the 30,000 level for the first time since 1990, while the Hang Seng closed last week at a record high having topped 30,000 for the first time since 2018.
Then there is that mega-bubble Bitcoin, which rose to nearly $50,000 last week after the modern day equivalent of Wall Street’s Blue Horseshoe, Elon Musk backed up the truck and loaded up on the cryptocurrency.
Brent Crude has steamed back above $60 for the first time in over a year.
So where does all the love end? Who knows? One suspects that the world and his wife are like me. Looking for a major correction and then reload. And that major correction is well overdue.
But what if we don’t get a major correction? What do you do? Tricky one isn’t it. You can’t really advocate stocks at these levels.
I still think you need to look to the bond markets, and continue to really like steepeners. If the MPC are correct and we do see a sharp improvement in economies over the rest of this year as the vaccines kick in, those curves are going to steepen sharply with the front-ends anchored for the foreseeable future. I still think that Europe lags in terms of the recovery, so I am going to suggest Gilts or Treasuries.
Right. Onto that Valentine’s menu.
Start off with a dozen native oysters to share. Six with shallot and red wine vinegar. Six topped with a slice of hot, fried chorizo. Serve with a nice glass of Laurent Perrier Rose.
Then it has to be steak. You could go for a beef wellington. Take a fillet of beef and seal all around in a hot pan and leave to cool. Make a mushroom duxelle by frying finely chopped shallots and mushrooms in a little butter until the water from the mushrooms is boiled off. Add some white wine and reduce to nothing. Stir in chopped tarragon at the end. Make a few thin pancakes – save some for Shrove Tuesday tomorrow.
Coat the fillet in English mustard and spread with the duxelle. Wrap tightly in the pancakes and chill. Then wrap in puff pastry. Make some pretty patterns in the top and brush with egg wash. Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes. Serve with truffled mash – a few drops of truffle oil in your mash – and a reduced sauce of red wine, port and some chicken stock. You really need a decent red burgundy wit this and a Gevrey-Chambertin 2017 would fit the bill nicely.
To finish, a simple lemon posset. Take a pint of double cream and 150g of caster sugar and warm slowly over a low heat until it boils. Once it boils take off the heat and allow to cool a little before whisking in the zest and juice of a couple of large lemons. Have your glasses in the fridge before you start cooking, then fill with the mixture and chill for a few hours until well set. Serve with fennel biscotti and a glass of Lemoncello.
Enjoy and lots of love to you all!
On the Agenda:
- Tuesday: Bowman speech on Community Bank Regulation and Supervision.
- Wednesday: FOMC Minutes of 26/7 January meeting.
- Thursday: Brainard speech on Climate Change.
- Monday: Eurogroup meeting.
- Tuesday: Ecofin meeting.
- Wednesday: ECB non-monetary policy meeting.
- Thursday: ECB minutes of 20/21 January meeting.
- Friday: Monthly stats.
- Tuesday: Empire Mfg.
- Wednesday: PPI; Retail Sales; Industrial Production; NAHB Housing Market Index.
- Thursday: Housing Starts and Building Permits; Initial Jobless Claims; Philly Fed.
- Friday: Markit PMIs; Existing Home Sales.
- Monday: Area wide Industrial Production.
- Tuesday: French Unemployment; Dutch GDP; German ZEW survey.
- Thursday: Dutch Unemployment; Area wide Consumer Confidence.
- Friday: German PPI; French CPI.
- Monday: Rightmove House Prices.
- Wednesday: Inflation.
- Friday: Retail Sales.