Another US Record?

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 1:48pm | Your editor
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In 1988, on assignment from the then independent Herald-Tribune of Paris, I visited Spain to interview its business heads. Among them were “Veuves Clicquot” Pilar Ferrer and her mother-in-law Dolores Sala who took over managing the Catalan vineyards in San Sadurni de Noya after Pedro Ferrer and his son Joan Ferrer were killed by the Spanish fascists in 1936.

In those days the maker of “Freixenet Cava”, a sparkling wine which the European Union did not let them call champagne, was strongly pro-Catalan. I was given a little history book published by the winery in “Gener 1988” (January 1988) about “xampany” (champagne in Catalan). Dolores and Pilar had by then been replaced by a corporate board of men and Freixenet was opening new vineyards in Mexico, but Catalan linguistic rights were still not guaranteed by Madrid.

So I was struck today by the fact that Freixenet is one of the companies planning to exit Catalonia if it declares independence from Spain. Of course by now Spain has accepted far more autonomy for Catalonia than then. So now family history is obsolete and the business must be able to export within the EU. They no longer support Catalonian independence or “Catalexit”. But they do want to produce Xampany “per molts anys!” That is a Catalan toast you say on a birthday, I learned from my book, meaning many happy returns. I was thinking of blackmailing the current management into buying back my copy.

I also visited the Basque Country where most of the heads of business were priests, because the companies were cooperatives founded by the Church. But that is for another day. Basques were then producing electrical household equipment like refrigerators and washing machines but that business has moved elsewhere.

 

There is a message here for fringe economic outposts, among which is New York where I hang out. The island of Manhattan is a fore-runner of the US economy overall just as, back then, Catalonia was a bellwether for Spain, and Hong Kong one for China.

 

More today from ECTRIMS and ACTRIMS, Britain, Ireland, Israel, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and India, and, because of the extension of the talks on renewing Nafta, special reports on Mexican and Canadian stocks. After my moan about price drops for T, VZ, and GE yesterday, they are all up today because US market levitation depends on the classics. Hence today is a key: if the Dow goes up there will be another record day. And if it doesn't we have more reversals to come. Of course this all makes global investing appealing because foreign markets at not at skyscraper levels.

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