Good morning. Here is the usual placeholder article.

You don't need me to tell you that markets are absolutely in freefall at the moment. as they re-price shares to allow for a coronavirus pandemic.

I'm not really seeing any particular bargains at the moment, given that 2020 earnings for many companies could be dire. That could change today, as I expect we'll see panic selling today. Online businesses are looking particularly attractive at the moment, as a lot of people look set to be self-isolating at home, with nothing to do. Therefore online shopping, gambling, etc, are likely to be winners from the current upheaval.

When looking at things to buy, it's essential look closely at balance sheets and cashflow. Can companies survive with considerably curtailed sales, for the next few months perhaps? I avoid highly geared companies at the best of times, but this is a particularly crucial point right now. Also, I think forward PERs have gone out of the window now, as 2020 earnings forecasts are likely to be way too high for many, maybe even most, companies.

Estimated timings today - I hardly got any sleep again, as all this market chaos is certainly taking its toll. Therefore please bear with me today, I may not be able to meet the 1pm deadline. Let's work on the basis that it will be done by 4pm, to give me time to crash out intermittently. Sorry about that.
Update at 12:54 - today's report is now finished.


Moss Bros (LON:MOSB)

Takeover bid, cash, at 22p (a 60% premium).

I have to say, I think the bidder is crazy, and would be tempted to sell in the market at close to 22p, if possible, in case they change their mind!

This is a very lucky escape for MOSB shareholders.


Cineworld (LON:CINE)

Outside my normal remit, due to its size, although that could be about to change.

Management has undertaken a reckless, debt-fuelled acquisition spree, and they're even talking about pressing ahead with another big acquisition.

It has net debt of $3.4bn (excluding an additional $4.2bn of lease liabilities).

The balance sheet is absolutely horrendous. Once goodwill and other intangibles are removed, NTAV is negative $-3.1bn!

Of course, with coronavirus now turning into a pandemic, cinemas are likely to be largely empty for a while. Let's hope the…

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