Good morning!

In case you missed it, I belatedly wrote a report on Saturday, for Thursday last week, which was a duvet day. Here is the link - it covers results from Portmeirion, Brammer, Johnston Press, and Zamano.

I'm having a quiet week in Hove (rather than charging round London to meetings, lunches & socials), so there shouldn't be any duvet days this week. Boring companies reporting today, so let's have a longer preamble.

Consumer spending data

There's an interesting article here showing data which suggests UK consumer spending is holding up better than might have been expected in July, thanks perhaps to warmer weather. Of particular note is that spending in hotels, restaurants & bars was up 9% against last year - a huge rise.

It does feel as if people want to have more experiences, rather than buy more stuff. Have we reached peak stuff? I certainly have - my flat in Hove certainly needs a massive de-clutter - car boot sale at the weekend maybe?! In the 1980s I had my own market stall at weekends, selling secondhand books & bric-a-brac when a teenager, so it's a trip down memory lane doing a boot sale every now & then!

With disposable income data looking positive, and interest rates at a record low, this just doesn't feel to me like the right set of circumstances for a recession - despite all the doom & gloom from forecasters & commentators. Also, the worrying data from manufacturers could improve once the benefit of weaker sterling feeds through.

Brexit uncertainty

An interesting comment last week came from the CEO of Vertu Motors (LON:VTU) (in which I hold a long position). He made the point that business leaders & managers will generally have been Remain supporters. So they have a preconceived belief that Brexit will cause a recession. Therefore, they are now acting on that preconception, by being more cautious. Yet evidence is mounting that Brexit (so far) has caused very little economic impact. So there is scope perhaps for the negativity to unwind, as businesses realise that life is continuing as normal. An interesting idea.

So my overall view remains that we're probably in for a bit of a soft patch, but not a deep or prolonged recession. The market seems to be signalling the same view, given the recent strong recovery from the Brexit plunge in…

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