Craig Pheiffer | Chief Investment Strategist | Absa Stockbrokers & Portfolio Management | mail me | 

‘Twas the week before Christmas after a year that was despairingly tough
When load-shedding made a comeback as plant maintenance hadn’t been enough.
Our confidence was lifted high when the party finally recalled Zuma
But we still hit a recession and wished ‘Ramaphoria’ had started sooner.

The Reserve Bank cut the interest rate but they hiked it back up again
With the governor making the final call and adopting a ‘pre-emptive’ refrain.
Petrol prices kept on moving up and eating in to our discretionary spend
But the ray of hope was a falling oil price and a rand partly on the mend.

Listeria raised its ugly head and the bacteria took a fatal toll
And the jobless numbers crept higher still on a burgeoning unemployment roll.
Zondo listened to state capture talk and the billions we lost in fraud
And how good guys at organs of the state were simply fired or ignored.

Global growth rose up to a cyclical peak but the world was in a mess
As Brexit didn’t advance the cause and the trade wars helped even less.
Trump’s twitter feed worked double time as he patted himself on the back
But voters got the last word in as House Republicans got the sack.

Prince Louis, now of Cambridge, was born fifth in line to the throne
But Harry finally got his girl so being sixth was no cause to moan.
At Facebook privacy was compromised and that gained the market’s ire
And Bitcoin was the Icarus that nosedived after soaring higher.

NASA landed the InSight Probe at its new home on planet Mars
And another death made us question if we’ll use self-driving cars.
A bright spot was the rescue of all the Thai boys from that cave
And cannabis was legalised as long as it’s at home that you have your rave.

You would have missed the year’s best bits if despondency set in too soon
Because who could forget the wonder of that Super Blue Blood Moon.
The Springboks beat the All Blacks and in Wellington Kolisi was our hero
And it rained and rained in Cape Town to postpone that terrible Day Zero.

The Blitzbokke were Sevens champions and Banyana made it into the Cup
While our Commonwealth Games track stars kept on moving up and up.
Kevin Anderson made the Wimbledon final and Semenya raced to more gold
And Baroka FC slayed some giants to win the Telkom trophy I’m, told.

We said goodbye to Mam’ Winnie and Bra’ Hugh and Alex Boraine
And the Bushes, Stephen Hawking and Kofi Annan to their rest were lain.
Burt Reynolds played his final scene and Avicii dropped his last base
And fans mourned Stan Lee’s passing as Marvel lost its iconic face.

Apple grew to a trillion dollars with new phones and watch version four
While the local market set a record high and then slumped towards the floor.
Old Mutual gave us Quilter and the Imperial split left us Motus
As platinum and gold stocks grew; Was it something said by POTUS?

Naspers soared as Tencent peaked but then tech stocks took their fright
And it wasn’t due to gamers spending any less V-Bucks on Fortnite.
Richemont too hit a new high as luxury goods found Chinese favour
But BATS kept heading lower as US chiefs spurned menthol flavour.

Oil prices scaled some recent peaks and poor motorists begged to know why
But then the crude stuff cheapened up as production boosted supply.
Sasol followed the same price trend but ended flat for the trading year
As volatility took over the markets and investor greed gave way to fear.

Discovery talked of its new bank and Absa Group got a fresh new look
And Viceroy scanned the listings for yet another company to spook.
Value stocks slumped less than Growth this year but listed-property lost its shirt
And when Brexit scuppered the INTU deal, the share price hit the dirt.

Some memories are distant like Pyeongchang and the VAT rate hike
But looking forward with a hopeful eye maybe there’s more that we can like
We need to raise our confidence as that’s the catalyst to get us growing
And Tito can get our ratings up if we can reduce our reliance on borrowing.

So as we rest and recharge for the challenging year that lies ahead
Clement Clark Moore gets the last word as we tuck ourselves into bed.

“But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
A great festive season to all, and to all a good-night.”

(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)




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