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2021: Time for Renewal, but Who Will Convince the Hedge Funds?

Posted on Dec 29, 2020. by NTI

In a terrible error of proportion Richard's Mum bought him two scale models for Christmas (because she once overheard him proclaiming his penchant for models, and is convinced he is still 12). She meant to order a life-size model of the Coronavirus genome (in the single-stranded RNA molecular sense) and a 1:1,000 scale model of NASA's Saturn 5 rocket. Regrettably, she confused the two on her order form and Richard and Becca will never see light out of their kitchen window again.

We see you are back to work, trying to justify your other half's choice of a new tie whilst the office is still three-quarters empty, but nothing on God's planet is going to absolve you for that cashmiron waistcoat; what was your auntie Maureen thinking? Your only option is to spend your Christmas vouchers on parts for a time machine, go back to 1974 and wear it in a dark corner at the back of a crack den.

The Hedge Funds are back and placing a £1 billion bet against Sainsbury's shares, predicting they will fall further in 2021. That is one thing you can always rely upon; Hedge Funds dredging along the bottom of the ditch of life, stirring up more mud and making money out of it. Short-sellers are also targeting Morrisons, despite it recording the fastest growth of 'the Big Four' supermarkets during the pan ... blah, blah, blah. The tidings of comfort and joy relished by hedge funds at the expense of the retail industry generally are, slightly bizarrely, less than the £1.6 billion bet they pleasured themselves on at this time last year. This suggests that many short-sellers profited from the freefall in shares just after the first lockdown in March and, in a classic win-win, they are enjoying current record growth in the FTSE as it crests heights it could only dream of in September.

Lord Frost, the UK's chief Brexit negotiator, has said that we are experiencing "a moment of national renewal". With the EU trade deal done and the impending rollout of the much more tractable Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine from next week, even dyed-in-the-wool pessimists have to start looking further and wider for things to be gloomy about, once we have managed to crawl over the last sharp pebbles on the beach back to the spring comfort of our beach towels.

The question is; what will we do with it? NTI's candidate for 'person-of-the-year', Rishi, the next James Bond, has said the Government will reward risk-takers and entrepreneurs, having sumptuously remunerated fraudsters and wastrels with rolls of furlough and bounceback cash we are yet to hard earn. Do you realise that the words "hard-working families" has appeared in Hansard almost 100 times in the last 12 months alone? We find acclaim for the amount of perspiration we can sweat into a shirt on the average working day, and there is a sense that we will be rewarded well before we reach the pearly gates if our armpits get damp enough. Toil is the new cool at a time when there has been little time for the niceties of smartness. Over the past nine months we have had to work harder from home to justify our incomes, joining email traffic at 6.00am to demonstrate we are already (dressed) and at our desks, and sending out a last heavily cc'd message at 9.57pm.

How will we fill minds that have been full of PPE, social-distancing and quantitative easing? How will we learn to innovate and grow again? Who will buy the closing cinemas? Who will fill the empty units with things people want to buy? Who will find this decade's version of a soya cappuccino and Amazon's online-grocery? According to Boris and Rishi it is all up-for-grabs and, if you are living and innovating in the north, even better.

You just need to get the hedge fund to bet on you and your ideas.

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