On Wednesday I attended a conference hosted by Soc Gen's much quoted Analysts Albert Edwards and Dylan Grice. It's a New Year ritual for many investment banks, and since Edwards has a formidable reputation, and I've learned much from reading Grice and his predecessor James Montier, I thought I’d emerge from my private investor bolt-hole and experience three hours in the lives of these analysts and the assorted City throng that follow them.
Back in the old days, that's to say in the 1970s and early 1980s, the FT30 share index was the benchmark of choice for investors. Rather like the Dow Jones Industrials index in the US, this is a simply constructed average of 30 leading share prices.
I'm not much of a list compiler. There may be a modest point in ensuring you buy the right things at Waitrose, or make certain you know what jobs around the house you've failed to get round to, but your 10 favourite this and the 10 most desired that? Give me strength.
If there is one group of people I hate more than any other - excepting smart-arsed money brokers like the Ghastly son-in-law, of course - it is telephone sales people. I loathe the insincere - and frequently unintelligible - exhortations to change mobile phone provider, or gas and electricity supplier; or invest in carbon trading or development land.
Amid all the welter of central bank action over the eurozone debt crisis, and accompanying volatile equity and bond markets, one event appears to have gone largely unnoticed. Tuesday 19 September marked the end of coyness by boards in the takeover game.