Rogue Trader: What's happening this week


Eurosceptics in paradise as plucky Sun Life reports on battle plan to resist conquest and occupation by jack-booted stormtroopers of the German- Swiss insurance axis. Tabloids a-go-go as the World Trade Organisation rules against sneaky yank tactics in the US/EU trade retaliation war over banana supply.


Halifax house price survey. Expect localised market distortions caused by soaring value of scruffy west London shop fronts in wake of Ussama El-Kurd-style bureau de change developments. Meanwhile, Britain's biggest coal-mining operation, RJB, reports on the same day that Arthur Scargill's NUM holds a strike ballot. Watch out for flying pickets, silver birches and senior managers walking around with paper bags over their heads.


Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meets to deliberate on interest rates. No change likely unless, later in the same day, Inter-Milan beat Manchester United, activating Malaysian-linked City-wide spread-betting syndicates, putting everyone in a bad mood, wiping millions off BSkyB's share price, tripping the overpriced London equity market into a nosedive.


RailTrack will offer pounds 17bn worth of tenders - ideal if you've got an option on warped railway sleepers and malfunctioning signalling equipment that you acquired cheaply in one of those dodgy Eastern Europe "shock privatisation" schemes. PowerGen and Rolls-Royce are also due to report.

So, a good day all round for screwing up the environment.


United News and Media announce full-year earnings. Lord Hollick continues to throw money down the drain trying to persuade porn mag readers that they are better off with the Daily Star; and in trying to convince traditional ultra-Conservative Express readers that they are stupid, wrinkly dinosaurs who ought to develop a deep interest in gay rights, Cool Britannia and how wonderful New Labour is.

Also, City folk celebrate the traditional Dead Cat Friday Day. In an annual ceremony - organised by the Worshipful Company of Analysts, Tipsters, Con-men and Blag-Artists - Nicola Horlick will throw a dead cat off the top of the NatWest tower.

The extent of its bounce will then be measured and this will determine the health of the World Economy and what to say to clients.

(This last bit is not true yet.)

The Four Frankensteins

Monsanto head ROBERT B SCHAPIRO maker of Frankenstein Foods.

EDGAR M BRONFMANN chief executive of Canadian booze manufacturers Seagram, who are now the owners of Universal Studios and all its back catalogue - which features several Frankenstein movies, including the 1931 Boris Karloff original.

DR THOMAS MIDDELHOFF head of Bertelsmann, which owns Bantum-Doubleday, one of the main publishers of Frankenstein books.

DR JOHN C MALONE the mad professor who has created the world's largest Frankenstein company - Liberty Media International - by sewing together an American phone company, a cable TV network, a former British oil company, bits and pieces of Ted Turner, with entrails and limbs of the BBC, Bill Gates, and Time Warner.

Frankenstein, like any corporate big-wig, only wanted to be loved. But in the end, a mob of ignorant, torch-wielding peasants surrounded his castle and burned it to the ground. Well that's peasants for you - always standing in the way of scientific progress.

The week's commodity news in a nutshell ...

Brokers are trying to corner the world market in aluminium. Also zinc. They have been limbering up by cornering lead. Gold is soaring because it's the Chinese year of the rabbit. Silver is up in New York, but copper is gloomy. Palladium is still volatile. Nickel started the week bravely, but then peaked. Oilseed and rapeseed are plentiful and cheap. So is meat. But palm oil is expensive and rare, because the Indonesians can't be bothered to make it anymore (who can blame them?). Kiwi fruit is soaring, especially in Japan. Everything from Columbia (coffee and cocaine) costs more on account of the recent earthquake.

Priceless pearls of wisdom, astounding facts and crucial information to keep you ahead in today's hurly-burly. This week culled from MANAGEMENT TODAY ...

* The world is changing and we are ever more demanding in terms of customising our lifestyles.

* Make sure you are well briefed on the new employment laws. (Advice for personnel managers in huge companies.)

* Love it or loath it, the internet can't be ignored.

* When hiring staff, you should behave "like a dentist".

* Apart from listening (and Braille) your eyes are the only way to absorb data. That means reading.

* Wearing a neck-tie with a company logo on it can "engender a sense of community".

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