Simon’s weekly wrap: Inflation and US recession fears hit home

This week MoneywebNOW looked at spooked US markets as recession looks possible, high local wage demands driving inflation, CMH’s results and what to read first in financial results.

After a strong rally in US markets on Wednesday, Thursday saw the worst day for the Nasdaq since September 2020. I asked independent analyst Jimmy Moyaha about it, and he commented that markets are spooked as the US inches towards recession with high inflation and rising rates.

I spoke with Dr Christie Viljoen of PwC about wage increases in the light of rising inflation and he’s worried about high wage demands driving inflation still higher. He is also very doubtful that South Africa will see enough GDP growth to get unemployment back below 30%.

Combined Motor Holdings* (CMH) results saw a number of records in its annual results to end February, with operating margins and headline earnings per share both at their best ever. CEO Jebb McIntosh commented that the group had taken that pain early in the pandemic and is stronger for it. The car hire business is doing especially well, as it never destocked in 2020 when many others did.

I asked Keith McLachlan of Integral Asset Management what he checks first when looking at a new set of results: he goes straight into the numbers. This helps to inform him when reading management’s commentary – which can often be overly optimistic.

The writer holds shares in CMH

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