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Mortgage Mole: Left in the lavatory


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Left in the lavatory

The Autumn Statement was the big news this week and the star of the show was the new chancellor, Philip Hammond.

While Hammond may not be flavour of the month (nor indeed of the decade) in the market, he does have a flair for witty put-downs at the expense of the Labour Party.

Delivering his first Autumn Statement, Hammond lampooned former shadow chancellor Ed Balls and the role’s latest incumbent, John McDonnell, for their unrealistic economic proposals.

“We used to think on this side of the house that Ed Balls’ demands were an extreme example,” Hammond said.

“But I have to say the current shadow chancellor has outperformed him in the fiscal incontinence sweepstake.

“What we don’t know, of course, is whether he can also dance.”

Armed and dangerous


Coreco Group is no stranger to Mole’s column, but this week the firm features again due to a spate of sore arms at its London headquarters.

The reason? Staff recently took part in a charity arm-wrestling competition for homeless charity Shelter.

Your subterranean correspondent applauds all who took part, and hopes the collective improvement to their biceps definition makes up for any aches and pains.

Bake your cake and eat it

Mole takes his hat off to the big-hearted staff at Leeds Building Society, who recently raised the princely sum of £1,564 for Macmillan Cancer Support via an event billed as the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, complete with bake-off competition.

According to Mole’s spies, some Leeds staff planned for the event as if it were a military operation, and the final baked creations were a sight to behold. Most of them, anyway.

Shared ownership

bek-and-twinHalloween may have been last month but spooky coincidences abound in Mole’s beloved mortgage market.

It turns out that Paragon Group media relations guru Liam Thompson and Mortgage Strategy editor Rebekah Commane not only share a birthday but were born in the same year. And both their families hail from the Emerald Isle.

Rumours that the synchronised duo are now completing one another’s sentences remain unconfirmed.



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Apple: a stellar technology story

By Ali Unwin, head of technology sector research

Apple recently announced the highest-ever recorded quarterly net profit ($18bn), with the sale of 74.4 million iPhones helping the company deliver $74.6bn of revenue for the quarter ending December 2014. These sales were largely driven by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Highlights included Chinese iPhone sales doubling year-on-year and unit growth of 44% in the US — supposedly a well-penetrated market. Apple ended the quarter with $178bn in cash on its balance sheet, having generated a staggering $30bn in free cash flow during the quarter.

At Neptune, we have been long-term believers in the Apple story, and continue to hold the stock in a number of our portfolios based on the company’s long-term growth prospects. This is predicated on our belief that Apple has proved thus far that it can — unusually for a consumer electronics company — maintain high margins for a sustained period of time, even as adoption of new technology slows down and competitors produce similar-specification products.


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