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12 June 2018 · 5 min read

Guaranteed security? Investment implications of US foreign policy

North Korea summit opens the way to an easing of sanctions and international recognition – while G7 allies are left reeling

North Korea has recently made enormous progress towards re-integration with the world economy on its own terms, and in particular security guarantees for its incumbent administration. Development of nuclear missile capability in 2017, followed by the willingness to discuss the destruction of this same capability only a year later does indeed highlight that Kim Jong-un may be, in Trump’s words, a very worthy and smart negotiator. Potentially, the prize is as large as a return to the world community of nations. The contrast with the disarray at the meeting of the traditional G7 allies days earlier was striking - and these trade disagreements are the greater risk for markets in our view.

7 June 2018 · 5 min read

Global implications of rising US yields

Tighter monetary policy and larger US fiscal deficits point to higher yields ahead – and a higher risk premium for emerging markets

Events in Italy may have highlighted a crowded short position in long-term bonds, with US 10y yields falling by 0.25% to 2.75% during a week of political uncertainty. However, US bond market investors still have to contend with rising short-term interest rates and a substantial increase in the issuance of US Treasuries to finance Trump’s tax reform. Furthermore, this is happening at the same time as the US Fed attempts to reduce the size of its balance sheet. Current 10y yields appear too low in the context of a continued economic expansion and emerging market policymakers are becoming concerned.

Elaine Reynolds
6 June 2018

Major resource upgrade for Europa in the Porcupine Basin

Europa Oil & Gas has almost doubled its prospective resource estimate in its FEL 3/13 licence in the Porcupine Basin offshore Ireland. The completion of pre-stack depth migration (PSDM) reprocessing of 3D seismic data originally acquired in 2013 has led to an estimated combined gross mean un-risked prospective resources on the licence of 2.9 bnboe, up from the 2016 estimate of just under 1.5 bnboe. The increased understanding of the Beckett, Shaw and Wilde prospects will provide a fuller picture to potential partners that Europa will be hoping to attract when it launches a farm out process for FEL 3/13 after providing similar updates on its other Porcupine licences, FEL 2/13 and FEL 1/17.

29 May 2018 · 3 min read

Long hot Italian summer

Likely September elections may be a referendum on euro and EU membership

Italy’s failure over the weekend to form a government was driven by the refusal of the Italian President Mattarella to appoint the hardline Eurosceptic Paolo Savona to the position of economy minister. From the perspective of President Mattarella the recent election was not a referendum on the euro; for the Five Star/League coalition his refusal to accept Savona was interference in the democratic process. An incoming caretaker government is being put in place but is not the issue; elections later in the year will in effect be the referendum on the euro. For investors, this creates significant uncertainty over the summer months and into the autumn.

25 May 2018 · 4 min read

Energy drives estimates higher – but oil now under pressure

Risks rising as Russia and OPEC debate turning the taps back on in H2

While it may seem that global investor sentiment has broadly improved over the last 3 months, following the rapid recovery in equity markets, returns have been dominated by the energy sector, Exhibit 1. With Russia and Saudi Arabia now discussing production increases to head off a loss in market share to US shale, this momentum in the oil price may now ease. Separately, despite volatility in emerging markets we note that profits forecasts have been largely stable in 2018, suggesting that any underperformance is due to the rising dollar rather than weakening profits trends. In developed markets, the median 2018 earnings estimate in the US continued to rise over the last month while in Europe and the UK estimates are stable, despite a marked slowdown in the economic data.

25 May 2018 · 2 min read

Italy: Political risk strikes (again) in eurozone

Political power and resolve of EU and ECB should not be underestimated (again)

The prospect of a populist Five Star/League coalition government in Italy has spooked Italian bond markets with yields soaring in recent weeks. Nevertheless, this price move may still be viewed in the context of a correction, given the clearly large difference in fundamental credit quality between Italy and Germany, both from a political level and as measured by the government debt burden as a percent of GDP. It is a situation which is likely to create investor anxiety but the precedent of Greece suggests that the ultimate political power of the EU and ECB is considerable. An “Italexit” scenario would create a high degree of market uncertainty but remains low probability in our view.

Elaine Reynolds
22 May 2018

Plenty of action for Hurricane on Lancaster EPS

Since our most recent note on Hurricane Energy, ‘Lancaster EPS on track and on budget’ activity has continued at pace for the company as it remains on track for first oil in H119. Last week the offshore installation phase of the Lancaster EPS commenced with the installation of the Enhanced Horizontal Xmas Trees on the two existing wells, 6 and 7z, completed by the Far Superior offshore construction vessel. In addition the Lancaster EPS buoy departed from Drydocks World in Dubai on the Jumbo Kinetic vessel and is scheduled to arrive in Lerwick in the Shetland Isles by the end of June, allowing installation of the turret mooring system for the Aoka Mizu FPSO to take place on schedule by the end of Q318. Meanwhile, we expect that re-entry and completion operations on the 6 and 7z wells will commence imminently, since the Paul B Loyd Jr rig is now on location. The activity will provide plenty of opportunities for those who like to track vessel movements.

9 May 2018 · 3 min read

2018 Earnings forecasts: Another Trump bump for energy

Rising oil price continues to support 2018 earnings forecasts

While our concerns on valuation remain in place, in the short-term market performance is more closely linked to the trend in forecasts profits. Those looking for a reason to sell equities on this basis are likely to be disappointed. As we approach the half-year point, median earnings growth forecasts for the US remain robust at 18% while eurozone and UK equities are at 8%. For now, our base case remains that the benign derating – equities moving sideways while interest rates and profits increase - will continue.

Elaine Reynolds
2 May 2018

Implications of Rabat Deep 1 results

Following on from this weeks’ announcement that Eni’s Rabat Deep 1 well offshore Morocco had encountered only limited hydrocarbon indications, partner Chariot Oil & Gas has provided an early set of conclusions regarding the outcome of the well.Under the terms of its farmout to Eni, Chariot was fully carried for the cost of the well.

20 April 2018 · 5 min read

High equity valuations face macro headwinds

Factors behind record run of corporate profitability may be fading

We have had a cautious view on global equities for longer than has been comfortable. In truth, over the last 12 months this view has been 50% right at best. European markets, including the UK, have delivered relatively little capital growth. However the US and emerging markets have moved significantly higher. When the headlines are focussed on geopolitical events, it is also easy to lose sight of the anchor of equity valuations. We have updated our equity valuation measures and find that the US market in particular remains notably expensive while European markets still appear overvalued. We recognise that this has in part been justified by the record run of corporate profitability but the factors driving this phenomenon may now be going into reverse.