UK consumer is cautious yet upbeat in latest Liberum sentiment survey

10 December 2014 | Mentions of Liberum

In the face of job and tax worries and a softening housing market, 'cautious yet upbeat’ best captures the feedback in Liberum's latest UK consumer sentiment survey carried out through Oct/Nov.

Click on the image below to see a four-minute video from this year's City AM Analyst of the Year, Ian Whittaker, that puts the survey in context.

Singletrack Card Ian Whittaker Consumer Survey

Striking is the rising appetite for home improvements, house moves, flexible hours and overtime, with bonus expectations rebounding.

Polled before the sharpest falls in the price of oil, the British consumer also expects inflation to ease further and even appears less hostile to utilities.

> Click here for an infographic overview of the key findings

The sense of job security has slipped but expectations of more flexible hours, overtime and bonus payments have improved markedly. This underpins the improved mood toward disposable income and spending power.  The continued fall in the costs of essentials and fuel prices has helped.

The British consumer expected an interest rate rise within around eight months back in the summer. That’s now pushed out to more than nine months. More than a quarter of those polled expect it over a year hence, up from a fifth in the past two quarterly surveys.

It will come as no surprise to find that the most popular answer to the question on whom you would vote for as Prime Minister was "none of these". However as we approach the general elections we see this percentage decreasing.

Whilst David Cameron’s support increased, Boris Johnson's support inched back. Nigel Farage’s polls have increased in this quarter shortly followed by Ed Miliband. Similar to previous quarters’ trends Ed Miliband keeps double the vote of his brother, David.

The remaining votes were equally split in between Alex Salmond, Ed Balls, who both have gained share since the previous quarter and Nick Clegg.

The survey has been running since September 2009 and our index is derived through weightings applied to the net positive scores of the factors. Job security (20%), Mortgage Payment Outlook (15%), Tax Outlook (12%) and Housing (20%) are key factors which we place a greater weight on. The index has been on an upwards trajectory since October 2012, peaked in Q2 14 at 13.3% and eased since then to 9.9 %.

Methodology 1,005 respondents were asked their views in October/November 2014. The respondents were evenly distributed by gender (males: 49%, females: 51%), across age groups and throughout the social classes (A-B: 27%, C1-C2: 47% and D-E: 27%). 

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Emma Kane 
George Parrett
Karl Wiseman 

+44 (0)20 7382 4747

Media-land: structural risks everywhere

28 November 2014 | Mentions of Liberum

City AM Analyst of the Year 2014, Liberum's Ian Whittaker, explains in this six-minute video how structural risks in media are shaking up television, academic & educational publishing and advertising agencies. Click on the image below to see the video.

Non Investors Title Card

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Emma Kane 
George Parrett
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UK energy policy: Atherton's 10 thoughts after 10 years

28 November 2014 | Mentions of Liberum

Liberum Utilities Analyst Peter Atherton will speak Monday at The Spectator Energy Forum where political leaders, investors, analysts and advisors involved in energy policy and business will meet to explore how to fix Britain’s energy market. Those wishing to attend can click on the image below to book tickets.

Capture (1)

Here's Peter's overview in advance of the event.

IN 2003 the EU, including the UK, decided to lead the world in decarbonising its economy in an attempt to combat climate change. To achieve this, the UK has adopted a radical energy policy that seeks to move from a power system that is today overwhelmingly based on fossil fuels, with some nuclear and a small amount of renewables, to one overwhelmingly based on renewables and nuclear power. 

What’s more this transformation is to be achieved by the year 2030 – a breakneck pace for an industry such as power generation.
The UK’s climate change-focused energy policy has now been in place for over a decade and there are 10 conclusions that can be drawn from the experience.

  1. UK/EU policy makers grossly underestimated the engineering, financial, and economic challenges posed by the drive to de-carbonise the electricity sector by 2030.
  2. Policy makers have failed to take into account the huge changes in the economic, commodity and financial environments since 2003 and adjust policy accordingly.
  3. The policy framework does not, and cannot, take proper account of security of supply and energy affordability.
  4. The gigantic £350bn investment needed by 2030 cannot be financed at a cost that the public is willing to bear.
  5. The policy requires the building of fundamentally uneconomic assets and therefore the government has had to intervene in the market in ever-more aggressive ways. Intervention has begotten intervention.
  6. It is now impossible for any power station to be built unless government underwrites the economics.
  7. The economic case for being in the vanguard of decarbonisation looks very poor and was based on two false premises, namely a) that fossil fuels prices would rise to unaffordable levels, b) being first mover would result in considerable industrial benefits. Both of these assertions have been found to be wrong so far.
  8. The worst effects of the policy lie in the future.
  9. A client state of rent seekers has been created by the over-€50bn per annum of largely renewable subsidy stream across the EU. The lobbying power of the rent seekers greatly outweighs that of the consumer, meaning that necessary policy corrections are not made.
  10. To deal with the affordability issue, either the policy needs to be restructured to lower costs, or the British public need to be convinced this is a price worth paying."

 © Liberum Capital Limited, 2014

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More names announced at Spectator Energy Forum

24 November 2014 | events

Greencoat Capital Managing Partner Richard Nourse, Joan MacNaughton, Executive Chair of the World Energy Trilemma for the World Energy Council, and Cheniere Energy Director James Ball are among a raft of new names set to speak at The Spectator Energy Conference, sponsored by Liberum, and taking place in the City of London on December 1.

Political leaders, investors, analysts and advisors involved in energy policy and business will meet to explore how to fix Britain’s energy market and understand what is happening to the geopolitics of energy. Those wishing to attend can go here to book >

The day will be chaired by BBC presenter and Spectator Chairman Andrew Neil and other confirmed speakers include Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex, National Grid’s Director of UK Regulation Mark Ripley, Lord Hutton, the chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, Peter Lilley MP, Oxford Institute of Energy Studies’ Chris Le Fevre and Liberum Utilities Analyst Peter Atherton (pictured below). 

Peter Atherton

Other speakers include Tom Howes, Deputy Head of Unit, Energy Policy and Monitoring, European Commission, Rt Hon David Lidington MP, Minister for Europe, Rhian  Kelly, Director for Business Environment, CBI, David Clark, Chair, Russia Foundation and Stephen Tindale, Associate Fellow, Centre for European Reform.

The afternoon session sets the scene for the domestic energy debate in the UK ahead of the May 2015 general election and it will cover just how broken the energy market is here, what market reform would produce the best energy mix, supply options such as shale gas and nuclear power and the promise new technologies hold. 

The morning session is devoted to the geopolitics of energy and will discuss European energy policy, supply flow threats and the US energy revolution.

To stay ahead of who’s attending, follow us on Twitter @LiberumToday

How Lewis Carroll would’ve relished the UK energy story!

18 November 2014 | Mentions of Liberum

Liberum Utilities Analyst Peter Atherton will be speaking at The Spectator Energy Conference on December 1 in London. The event, entitled Fixing Britain's Energy Market, is chaired by Andrew Neil and features policy makers, investors and company executives. To register, click here >. Liberum is sponsoring the event.

Below is an opinion written by Peter:

"This past year I’ve published more than 40 pieces on utilities and it’s fair to say that I now know how Alice felt tumbling down the rabbit hole.


She was chasing a rabbit that bore a resemblance to domestic energy policy these past two decades: “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”

Alice encounters a bottle containing the country’s nuclear policy and labelled ‘DRINK ME’ (or was in ‘Hinkley’?). 

“If you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison,' it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later,” she observes. 

Curiouser and curiouser. 

She finds herself playing croquet with the politicians: “I don’t think they play at all fairly…and they all quarrel so dreadfully one can’t hear oneself speak” Alice soon came to the conclusion that it was a very difficult game indeed. 

What lessons had those players learned, she wondered: 'Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,' the Mock Turtle replied; 'and then the different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.' 

So much for them. Now the consumers were on the march. We want lower emissions and cheap energy, they demanded. Alice laughed. “One can’t believe impossible things.” The Queen harrumphed..”Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” 

We reach Chapter 11: Who stole the profits? Who indeed. The King sits in judgment of the utility bosses: “Give your evidence. And don’t be nervous or I’ll have you executed on the spot.” Alice knew how they felt. “I can't go back to yesterday,” she said, “because I was a different person then.”

Finally, dressed not in her white apron but a twin-set and pearls and carrying the minister’s briefing notes in a natty Burberry folder, Alice came to a fork in the road. 

'Which road do I take?' she asked. 'Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat.
'I don't know,' Alice answered.

'Then,' said the Cat, 'it doesn't matter.”

© Liberum Capital Limited, 2013

Ian Whittaker named City AM Analyst of The Year

14 November 2014 | Mentions of Liberum

Liberum Media Analyst Ian Whittaker won CityAM’s Analyst of the Year Award for 2014 Thursday night, with his high-profile analysis around companies such as ITV, Pearson and Vivendi reaping plaudits from the judges.

Ian Whittaker

"Ian has done brilliantly, really raised his own profile and that of the firm," the judging panel said.

Ian was one of two Liberum analysts on a shortlist of five, the second consecutive year that he made the cut.

Liberum Utilities Analyst Peter Atherton was on a shortlist of analysts that CityAM said "all stand out for their impressive foresight in their respective sectors and their revered reputations in the industry." They are "truly at the top of their game," it added.

You can follow Ian and Peter on Twitter at @LiberumIanW and @LiberumAtherton, respectively.

Ian’s award caps the most successful year in Liberum’s history and follows its best results in the 2014 Thomson Reuters Extel Survey, the annual analyst surveys which rank broker and independent research based on the responses from more than 16,000 fund managers and institutional investors. It rose to second place in the key category: Leading Pan European brokerage firm - UK Small & Mid Caps. In 2013, Liberum ranked fifth.

About Liberum

Liberum is expanding its equities research coverage into Continental European large cap companies and recently started analysis of Nestle, Reckitt Benckiser, RWE, E.ON, JC Decaux and Stroer and others, with more to come in the weeks ahead.

We trade in more than 900 stocks in 15 European markets and access 24 markets with our low-touch electronic services. We are a pan-European investment bank founded in 2007 providing research, sales, trading and corporate advice to European and North American institutional investors and companies. We cover 334 stocks in 18 sectors with 42 analysts and are owned by our 172 staff. The bank has been involved in 25 IPOs and raised £1.7 billion for clients in the year to October 2014.

Follow or Contact Liberum

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Adam Smallman, Head of Content: +44 (0)20 3100 2177

Press Enquiries: Redleaf Polhill

Emma Kane 
George Parrett
Karl Wiseman 

+44 (0)20 7382 4747