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Adam Parry – D’Oh!!

Monday 19th Apr 2021|London

Easter Weekend 1987. What were you up to? I appreciate that some of you might not even have been born, but I’m pretty sure what I was doing just a month short of my 21st birthday…

The good denizens of the United States settled down to watch a bit of telly. And on Fox that meant the Tracey Ullman Show. Midway through the broadcast, an animated short was shown. The cartoon was of a dysfunctional but everyday American family. The Simpsons.

34 years and over 700 episodes later, The Simpsons is now the longest running American animated series, longest running American sitcom and the longest running American scripted primetime TV series.

I am quite sure that everybody has their favourite Simpsons moments. Here are a few of mine.

The first Halloween special sketch, with the parody of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. The one at the greyhound track where the acquire Santa’s Little Helper. Spiderpig in the Simpson’s Movie. Homer in Space. They are all brilliant.

But I am going back to the 11th episode from the fourth season in 1992, Homer’s Triple Bypass.

The clue is in the name. After Marge warns him about eating too much fatty food, Homer starts to feel chest pains. During his journey to work he feels his heart thumping. At work, Mr Burns yells at him and threatens him with the sack. This is too much and Homer suffers a heart attack.

Homer goes to hospital, and Dr Hibbert tells him the treatment will cost him $30,000, causing an another heart attack, adding another 10 bags to the cost. With little option, they decide to use quack Dr Nick Riviera. Dr Nick starts the operation, but quickly realises that he has not got a Scooby what to do. Lisa, watching the operation, uses her knowledge of cardiology to guide Dr Nick. Amazingly, the operation is successful and Homer makes a full recovery.

While Homer is sedated in his hospital room waiting for surgery, he plays with his bed’s controls, chanting endlessly “Bed goes up, bed goes down, bed goes up, bed goes down……”

That used to be a decent metaphor for the markets. Market go up, markets go down. In 2021, though, that mantra has changed. Now it is market go up, markets go up, markets go up……

All of which brings me on to possibly my favourite rant about the lack of salient logic in these markets at the moment. Cryptocurrencies.

With Bitcoin roaring up over $60,000 this week having been at $10,000 a year ago, maybe I am wrong. Maybe this truly is the investment that will never hit a brick wall. Maybe this is the one that will never, ever go down again. Maybe I have missed a trick and failed to get rich quick. Or maybe not, who knows?

What has been more interesting than the boring old nonsense above, has been this week’s debut on the NASDAQ of Coinbase.

On Wednesday, the firm – which runs an exchange for Bitcoin and other digital currencies – opened up at $381, valuing it at nearly $100bn. That made it more expensive than all the key stock exchanges and several household name corporations.

Now, I actually think that some form of exchange centralising the trading of cryptocurrencies followed by some hefty regulation of the market such as we see elsewhere – is a good idea. But does that justify that valuation?

No, of course it doesn’t. As with everything in this latest get rich quick fad, it is vastly over-inflated. And despite the Coinbase price slipping back to $326, it still is.

The problem with cryptocurrencies is that they are all built on pillars of sand. There is nothing concrete to back them up. And if that is the case with the underlying products, it is the same for the exchange.

Again, I could well be wrong and these things will keep on flying. Unfortunately, history does not really back that theory up. I think back to those carefree days of Easter 1987, and well remember what happened six months later. Similarly with the Dotcom bubble.

The problem these days is that people who are totally unaware of the potential for disaster are being sucked in over social media. Hence when the crash does come, a lot of innocent people are going to lose a lot of money.

Surely that cannot be right. It’s about time something was done.

Anyway, enough of a rant and on to this week’s recipe. And ahead of St Georges Day on Friday, here is a classic steak and kidney pudding.

First make the suet pastry. Mix together 250g self raising flour, 5g salt and 150g beef suet. Slowly add cold water until you have a pliable dough. Knead lightly and rest for a few minutes.

To make the pudding grease a 1 litre pudding basin suitable for steaming with butter and line the basin with the ¾ of the pastry, leaving the rest for a lid. Roll 350g chuck steak and 100g ox kidney in flour and bung in a bowl with a sliced white onion, a couple of sprigs of thyme and plenty of seasoning. Tip into the basin and add enough beef stock to fill ¾ of the basin. Cover with the remaining pastry and seal well.

Cover the top with enough buttered greaseproof paper to allow expansion in the middle and tie securely with string under the rim of the basin. Steam for 4 hours, topping up the water in the steamer as required. Serve with new potatoes and some green veg.

Lovely.

On the Agenda:

Central Banks:

ECB:

  • Thursday: ECB rate decision at 12.45BST; Refi, Marginal Lending and Depo rates expected unchanged at 0%, 0.25% and -0.5%.
  • Lagarde press conference at 1.30pm.
  • Friday: Lagarde on the panel at “A global tipping point: The power of global markets in the fight against climate change” organised by Michael Bloomberg.

Fed: Nowt.

BoE: Nowt.

Data:

US:

  • Thursday: Initial Jobless Claims; Existing Home Sales.
  • Friday: Markit PMIs; New Home Sales.

Europe:

  • Monday: ECB Current account; Area wide construction output.
  • Tuesday: German PPI.
  • Thursday: French Business Confidence; Italian Industrial Sales; Area Wide Govt Debt/ GDP ratio.
  • Friday: Markit PMIs.

UK:

  • Monday: Rightmove House Prices.
  • Tuesday: Unemployment.
  • Wednesday: Inflation.
  • Thursday: CBI Trends.
  • Friday: Retail Sales; PSNB; Markit PMIs.

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