first_imgClose This week, pound sterling hit its highest level against other major world currencies for over seven years (figure 1), judging by the Bank of Englands Pound sterling index.This latest surge has been driven by the political certainty given by a Conservative general election victory, plus a following wind for the UK economy as:Unemployment continues to fallRetail sales surge higher (+4.7% year-on-year in April 2014)The domestic property market resumes its upwards march.Pound posts big gains against the euro and Aussie dollarOf the major world currencies, the pound has gained against virtually all of them so far in 2015, save the Swiss Franc (figure 2).The biggest move has been the near 10% jump against the euro (from €1.29 at the beginning of 2015 to €1.41 currently).The pound has also posted useful gains against the Australian dollar and Swedish crown too, with only the Swiss franc doing better this year so far.Why should sterling stop here?As long as the British economy keeps steaming along and the European Central Bank continues with its programme of bond buying (so-called Quantitative Easing, or QE), we could well see sterling return to the heady heights of €1.50 reached on several occasions between 2004 and 2007 (figure 3).After all, the euro remains undermined by the ongoing Greek saga, while the extremist leftist party Podemos has made large gains in the local elections in Spain, underlining the political fragility of the established ruling parties across the eurozone and introducing yet further uncertainty.Remember, if there is one thing financial markets hate, it is uncertainty – one area where the UK has a clear lead over its continental European cousins with a Conservative majority government now voted in.How can we make money from a stronger pound?One sector a canny investor should look at is the retail sector, given the majority of the goods sold on the UK high street tend to be imported. After all, a stronger pound means cheaper prices for imported goods, especially from the eurozone where the exchange rates have moved the most over recent months.Food and drink is one big category where the UK imports a lot from the likes of Spain, France and Italy. Overall, the UK imports 40% of all the food consumed, much of it from our eurozone neighbours.This should give a welcome boost to supermarket and upmarket food store chains such as Tesco (TSCO) and Sainsburys (SBRY). I would focus more on two other retailers where I see potentially greater currency-related benefits.The first is the venerable Marks and Spencer (MKS), which recently reported strong results. The retailer is continuing its slow transformation into primarily an upmarket food retailer along the lines of John Lewiss successful Waitrose chain.Its Simply Food store format is enjoying a lot of success, and Marks and Spencer is focusing its new store programme on this format. While we may think fondly of the retailer as the nations favourite purveyor of underwear, in actual fact food and drink now accounts for 57% of Marks and Spencers UK sales.The second retailer who could get a big profit boost from the stronger pound is wine warehouse chain Majestic Wines (MJW).This £300m company is the UKs largest wine specialist merchant, with 213 stores selling wine by the case to 643,000 active customers.French, Spanish, Italian and Australian wine imports in particular should all become cheaper in pound terms for Majestic to buy in the coming months and could deliver a useful profit bump.Majestic should also see faster growth ahead following its recent acquisition of leading online business Naked Wines.So go shopping for wine bargains thanks to that stronger pound, and why not add Marks and Spencer and Majestic Wines into your shopping basket while you are at it.Edmund Shing is the author of The Idle Investor (Harriman House), an expert columnist and a global equity fund manager at BCS AM. He holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence.last_img read more


first_img-A station master was temporarily suspended in Sirajganj on Wednesday night as ruling Bangladesh Awami League MP Tanvir Imam fell down while getting out of a running train on Monday, reports UNB.According to locals, on 4 September, Tanvir Imam, MP for Sirajganj-4 constituency, was getting out of the running Dhaka-bound train Chitra Express after seeing off his wife when he slipped.Later, he was taken to the Station Master’s room for primary treatment where his supporters started beating Abdul Baten, the assistant station master leaving him with a broken hand, said Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Pakshi, Ashim Kumar Talukder.After that, on Wednesday night station master Shamsul Alam was temporarily suspended and a two-member committee was formed to investigate the incidents, added the DRM.When asked, MP Tanvir, denying the fact of beating the assistant station master, said, the station master is lying to protect himself.However, the suspended station master said if it was notified that the MP or his wife will get off, then the train could have been stopped for a while.last_img read more


first_img 00:00 /15:00 Listen Lara Cottingham/City of HoustonAfter an intruder called authorities, Houston’s animal shelter rescued a tiger discovered in what was thought to be an abandoned home. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Sharecenter_img X If you live in Houston long enough, you’re bound to hear about some weird stuff — like in February when a tiger was discovered in an abandoned house.Or like last weekend, when a Friendswood man was cited for assaulting a co-worker who spoiled the new Avengers movie.So, in the audio above, we had some longtime Houston journalists share some of their favorite strange — but memorable — news stories from Houston’s past. And here are some highlights:1. A Burglar Feels the Heat — LiterallyC-Bunny/FlickrA classic Pizza Hut restaurant.Longtime television news reporter Doug Miller said one night he happened upon a guy in the police station covered in ashes.The man said he’d wanted a pizza, but the Pizza Hut was closed. And then, two people showed up with a ladder and forced him at gunpoint to crawl down the chimney where he got stuck all night.But Miller says the police were skeptical of the man’s story. The likely true story: the guy had himself tried to break into the restaurant by using a ladder to crawl down the chimney.Either way, the next day, when employees fired up the ovens, he wasn’t too pleased. Eventually they heard his screams, and he was freed.“I thought, ‘You know, next time he wants a pizza he really ought to have it delivered,’” Miller said.2. The Car That Crashed into a House — Where There Weren’t AnyJohn Welsh/FlickrLegendary KTRK-TV news anchor Dave Ward said he and his photographer were driving around one night at about 1 a.m. when a call came over the police radio that a car had crashed into a house.Well, that’s not necessarily all that unusual in Houston. But when they heard the location — Richmond and Kirby — they immediately thought something was off, mainly because there are no houses there.But, when they got to the scene, they saw that there was indeed a house there.“They were moving a house in the middle of the night,” Ward said. “And some drunk staggered out of a bar and crashed his car right into that house.”Ward said he recently ran into the police sergeant who worked the scene that night, who asked him if he remembered that story.“How could I ever forget it?” Ward said. “A lot of things happened in this city — that was one of the most unusual.”3. Looking for “Lurch” in a Fresh Murder SceneWikipedia CommonsThe character “Lurch” from the 1964 TV series The Addams Family.Dave Fehling, News 88.7’s news director and a former television news reporter, recalls responding to the scene of a murder late one night in the early 1990s. It was an old abandoned house near downtown.“If you had to come up with the classic haunted house look that’s what this house was,” Fehling said.Detectives were looking for a suspect whose nickname was “Lurch,” because he was tall and his square-jawed features resembled the butler character of the same name from The Addams Family.After doing some initial coverage at the scene, Fehling and his photographer left. A few hours later they returned, but, by then, detectives were through with the scene and the crime scene tape was taken down. So, he and his photographer went inside to get some additional footage, where they saw what you’d expect to see at a murder scene.But then something struck them.“I look at the photographer, and he looks at me, and it’s like we realized they haven’t caught this guy Lurch yet,” he said. “And we’re out here — no one knows we’re in here — and who knows maybe he’s hiding in the crawl space or something.”So, both Fehling and his photographer hightailed it out of there.“That’s one of the strangest stories I think I ever covered,” he said.4. The Astronaut on a Strange MissionRed Huber/APFormer astronaut Lisa Nowak appears in court in 2007.In 2007, astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested after driving some 900 miles from Houston to Orlando to confront her romantic rival.Found in her car was a BB gun, a trench coat, some rope, trash bags, a knife, and a black wig. Court documents said she wore special astronaut diapers so she wouldn’t have to stop to use the bathroom on the drive. Nowak later denied that.Longtime News 88.7 reporter and producer Laurie Johnson said that story stands out to her especially because of the typical reputation of NASA astronauts.“A crime committed by an astronaut was unheard of,” Johnson said. “So, this was huge, and everybody was talking about it around the world.”A movie loosely based on Nowak’s story starring Natalie Portman is scheduled for release this year.5. The Case of the Cheerleader MomDavid Scarbrough/APIn 1991, Wanda Webb Holloway was convicted of trying to hire a hit-man to kill the mother of her daughter’s cheerleading rival.In 1991, Wanda Webb Holloway wanted her daughter to make the cheerleading squad in Channelview so badly that she plotted to have the mother of her daughter’s rival killed. The plot was foiled, Holloway went to jail, and a TV movie was made about the case.Former News 88.7 news director Paul Pendergraft said the story checked all the boxes of Texas stereotypes — big hair, cheerleading, and murder-for-hire.“It was just a bizarre, strange story that made national headlines and certainly gave us a bit of a black eye in this part of Texas,” Pendergraft said.last_img read more