Rogue trader: What's happening this week

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The Independent Online

Interim figures from API, the tin foil producers. Aluminium prices are low, there are fantastic market opportunities opening up in China, and API has invested in some fascinating aluminium dye-stamping equipment. So a good investment - if you can stand the excitement.


Sage, the aggressive and irritatingly successful accountancy software company to issue interim figures. Since Sage executives have lately pushed their snouts into the e-commerce and internet shopping trough, they will doubtless be wearing a smug "so whose a nerd now?" expression.

Interim figures, also, from Shire Pharmaceuticals, the R&D-based drug company specialising in balms for shattered nervous systems. Millions of baby boomers have been taking marijuana and cocaine for the past 30 years, and will now be ready for the new drugs that Shire plans to put on the market: treatments to control the symptoms of Alzheimer's, hyperactivity, chronic fatigue syndrome and spontaneous mental convulsions. City dealers interested in their own futures should invest heavily.


British Energy to issue final figures. Despite the name, this company operates nuclear power stations which, according to experts, actually consume more energy (in their construction and decommissioning) than they produce.

So really they should be called "British Sluggishness" or perhaps "British Waste of Money", since the company had to be given vast public subsidies and debt write-offs before it could be privatised a few years back.

The current management now wants to buy 100 American nuclear reactors. Not a stock to be holding in the event of market meltdown.


Not much happening. Finals figures due from the Bank of Ireland on Thursday. Always worth a, er, punt.

The week's working time directives ...

SIXTY-FIVE HOURS: thanks to Frank Dobson, the time junior doctors may have to put in to earn around pounds 200 a week.

SIXTY-FIVE MILLISECONDS: the time taken by any New Labour cabinet minister to buckle under pressure from Gordon Brown.

SIXTY-FIVE MINUTES: the time taken by a typical NHS trust manager to spend pounds 200 on lunch.

SIXTY-FIVE SECONDS: the statutory maximum amount of useful work done in any given year by management consultants, such as those infesting the NHS.

Commodity news in a nutshell ...

The Oklahoma tornado has destroyed much of the Midwest's wheat. You would expect prices to follow the supply and demand principle and rise as high as an elephant's eye. But nobody wanted Oakie produce in the first place so there's been no movement.

Canadian lumber futures, however, soared when it was realised that the US insurance companies would be paying for the rebuilding of millions of timber-framed shacks. It's an ill wind...

Sugar was still feeling worthless and, in Brazil, things were so bad it was turning to alcohol. Coal was unwanted, wool was feeling very sorry for itself and cocoa was sulky.

Staggering facts and pearls of wisdom culled from last week's edition of the anti-establishment 'Business Age' magazine:

* There is a new book on the market called Power Etiquette - What You Don't Know Can Kill Your Career. According to this book, you should avoid "belching, getting too personal in conversation or telling 'inappropriate' jokes during business lunches". Also, it is very important not to "wear pyjamas and bunny slippers at the desk because this could affect your professionalism".

* For those who failed secondary school economics: "Lowering interest rates forces sterling down and makes borrowing cheaper. It also puts more money in purchasers' pockets to buy goods."

* Well worth noting: "Call centres are moving towards multiple communication functions."

* In case you haven't noticed: "Virtually all businesses rely on the telephone."

* "In Britain, 1.2 billion business meetings take place every year." But this advertisement for BT does not make it clear whether this is just one very busy business person having 1.2 billion meetings; or 1.2 billion fairly lazy business people having just one meeting each.

* "Not all that long ago new media pundits were predicting the imminent demise of the CD Rom."

But, as any fool can see, they were wrong.