CONTRARY to popular belief, financial analysts have their uses. You can use them as draft excluders, foot rests, coffee tables, cat litter trays, or anything you like, but do not use them for stock recommendations. Consider this recent piece of analysis from Vickers Ballas analyst Wayne Hui on Hong Kong's masters of the sky, Cathay Pacific. Mr Hui informs us that the major shareholders are Swire Pacific with a 52.4 per cent stake and Citic Pacific with a 12.5 per cent stake. Unfortunately, Citic Pacific reduced its stake to 10 per cent to raise cash a number of months ago. Mr Hui also informs us that Peter Sutch, who is chairman of Cathay, also holds the same post at Swire Pacific and Haeco. Unfortunately, Mr Sutch handed over the chairmanship of Haeco to David Turnbull two months ago. A Cathay representative told us his latest figures indicated the airline flew to 44 cities. We are informed by Vickers Ballas that Cathay flies to 43 cities in 27 countries. Mr Hui tells us Cathay's fleet is made up of 57 aircraft. The Cathay spokesman said his figures indicated it was more like 55 aircraft. Mr Hui also tells us that CNAC has employed a former Cathay executive and 'will probably' set up a new airline in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, CNAC already has given this putative airline a name and has stated publicly its intention to launch it. Based on his information, Mr Hui suggests the stock will underperform. Seeing as he got just about everything else wrong, expect a surge in Cathay shares any day now. Come unstuck ON the subject of airlines, it has come to our attention that US-based Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing, a producer of adhesives, has apologised to China Airlines for providing it with a batch of bad glue. So, we were right. China Airlines' planes are stuck together after all, which might explain why we were all looking at one of their aircraft wallowing in the harbour in 1993. The glue is, in fact, used to stick the airline's natty new logo on to the tailplane. The logo is of a 'fragrant pink plum blossom' (say that when you're drunk) and, according to China Airlines' new advertising campaign, it 'is just the beginning of a continuous process of improvement in everything we do'. Unfortunately, as a result of the faulty glue, the logo fell off on an inaugural flight. Airline professionals indicated despite this public relations disaster, it was still an improvement on everything they do. These days, we are told, the planes stay together it's just the pilots that come unglued. Lost plot IT seems practically pointless to highlight the limited abilities of some Legco members. Nevertheless, it has been pointed out to us that the Hon Howard Young, who represents the tourism functional constituency, asked the house yesterday when the planned concessions on plot ratios for hotels would be announced. If he had cast his eye back to the newspapers of September 15 - that's six weeks ago - he would have read in the headlines that the concessions on plot rations on hotels had been announced that very day. This from the tourism representative in Legco, an industry that generates billions of dollars in foreign exchange revenue each year and one of the biggest businesses in Hong Kong. Good to see he stays on top of his job. Take a seat ATTENTION people of Osaka. You may return to your toilets. The Japanese Spider Crisis is over. For the past two days, we have reported a panic in the bathrooms of this Japanese city following an invasion of redback spiders. A second call to the Osaka Police Headquarters' Spider Centre has informed us there have been no crimes committed by spiders for the past two days. Shares in Fumakilla, the insecticide manufacturer, which soared 20 per cent in the past 48 hours as investors tried to play the crisis to their advantage, came off significantly in yesterday's trading, indicating the panic had abated and life was returning to normal. The happy residents of Osaka are now lifting their seats with confidence. However, police warned there could still be redbacks lurking dangerously close to the city's nether areas. The Spider Crisis has topped off an average year for poor old Japan, what with businesses going bust left, right and centre . . . and a Daiwa lad being very naughty in New York.