Santa rally ahead?

It’s a festive tradition to discuss the prospects for a ‘Santa rally’ – will markets deliver this year? It seems that at this time of year there are two choices: to talk about Brexit or to discuss the merits of a Santa rally.  With Brexit, no one knows what is going on, and nothing will … Continue reading “Santa rally ahead?”

Inescapable investment truths for the decade ahead

It seems clear to us that the world investors have got used to over the last few years is very different to the one we need to get accustomed to in the years to come. We have identified a number of economic forces and disruptive forces we think will shape the investment landscape ahead of … Continue reading “Inescapable investment truths for the decade ahead”

A slowdown in the world economy worries markets

Japanese interest rates are negative, Euro-area rates are still at zero, the UK official short-rate is at 0.75% and in the US at 2.25%. The Japanese are still running a quantitative easing programme, printing money to buy up state debt, and the Euro-area is doing a little bit more of the same until the end … Continue reading “A slowdown in the world economy worries markets”

Fear not – volatility is normal

After the long period of rather calm markets in 2016-17, we predicted that from 2018 onwards, we would see a return towards more normal levels of market volatility. Swings up and down in share prices – even big moves – are normal behaviour for markets. The upside from investing in equity markets is the potential … Continue reading “Fear not – volatility is normal”

How has Japan’s economy fared?

The Japanese economy shrank in the third quarter. Poor export performance combined with a small reduction in demand at home to produce a 0.3% contraction. Japan is quite exposed to the dangers of the trade war, with good exporting companies needing a favourable background for their products. It also finds it difficult to expand domestic … Continue reading “How has Japan’s economy fared?”

UK economic outlook hinges on May selling deal

The UK government and European Commission have announced that the broad terms of the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement have been finalised. This lays the path for completion in the next few weeks, and the UK entering a transition period following its exit from the European Union on 29 March 2019. The 585-page draft agreement follows most … Continue reading “UK economic outlook hinges on May selling deal”

Inflation and capacity

There is a danger that central banks will tighten too much. Part of the market plunge during October was a response to tougher money conditions around the world. The Federal Reserve in the US is well advanced with a programme of rate rises. At the same time, it is supervising the rundown of its portfolio … Continue reading “Inflation and capacity”

Market Turbulence

Market falls never feel pleasant, but for those with long-term investment horizons there is no need to panic. Fluctuations, sometimes significant ones, are to be expected during the course of investing; and for those requiring the assurance of no fall in capital the only asset class that can be considered is cash. This is the … Continue reading “Market Turbulence”

How to survive a zombie company apocalypse

Zombie companies do exist but are not staffed by people that behave like extras in the “Walking Dead”. Actually, a zombie company is a technical term for a business which, if it is not yet numbered among the undead, is only earning just enough cash to pay the interest on its borrowings. It does not … Continue reading “How to survive a zombie company apocalypse”

The forgotten bear market in China

In the summer of 2015, the Chinese authorities overdid their enthusiasm for wider share ownership. With their general encouragement, brokers advanced large sums to individuals to buy shares. A buying frenzy developed in the markets and the Shanghai index hit a new high of 5,166 in June. The government decided things were getting out of … Continue reading “The forgotten bear market in China”

China’s growth surprise is just the start

With the impact of tariffs yet to show up in the data, and the looming threat of a property slowdown, the larger-than-expected slowdown in Chinese growth is a taste of things to come. The larger-than-expected slowdown in reported Chinese GDP, to 6.5% from 6.7% in the second quarter, has seemingly spooked markets and pushed policymakers … Continue reading “China’s growth surprise is just the start”

EU caught up in internal war of words

The President of the EU Commission had some choice words to say about the Italian budget dispute. Jean-Claude Juncker argues that Italy has to keep to strict budget limits on spending and borrowing that has been laid down by the EU. He went so far as to suggest it would mean the end of the … Continue reading “EU caught up in internal war of words”

Panic not: earnings season matters more than the current rout

Once again, markets are roiling. As with so many sell-offs, this is a story of pressure building steadily until it must vent. Volatile markets are here to stay, but the next few weeks will tell us whether this episode is a sign of something more ominous to come or just another bump in the road. … Continue reading “Panic not: earnings season matters more than the current rout”

Bond vigilantes at the gates in Italy

The 2019 budget target was unveiled on 27 September 2019, with the government defying the advice of Giovanni Tria, Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance. Tria had recommended a deficit1 of 1.6% of GDP; however, the target has been set at 2.4% of GDP. Italy is now on a collision course with the European Commission, … Continue reading “Bond vigilantes at the gates in Italy”