US profits: will they bounce back as quickly as investors think?

US earnings season is always a spectacle and this time around is no different. Well, no different but for one exceptional factor: Covid-19, and its effects on company profits. The businesses that make up the S&P 500 Index have started to tell us how they performed from January to March, a period of unprecedented operating … Continue reading “US profits: will they bounce back as quickly as investors think?”

Looking back at the markets through April

A selection of articles looking back through the markets last month. Global Market Review Painful consequences Following March’s collapse in share prices, global stock markets made a partial recovery in April, although most major indices still sustained double-digit losses compared with the start of the year. As the coronavirus pandemic continued to cut a swathe … Continue reading “Looking back at the markets through April”

Keep calm and carry on

An unexpected global pandemic has triggered the third bear market of the 21st century. At the start of the year, equity analysts had priced in profits growth of 5-10% a year, now they are downgrading their profits estimates by 5-10% a week. One of the deepest economic recessions since the 1930s will expose some well-known … Continue reading “Keep calm and carry on”

Covid-19: why the tech giants have emerged as winners

While many businesses struggle to survive under the global lockdown, the largest technology companies remain afloat and in some cases are even thriving. Microsoft has reported a surge in usage of its cloud computing service Azure, as millions of people work from home. Amazon is hiring an additional 75,000 workers, on top of the 100,000 … Continue reading “Covid-19: why the tech giants have emerged as winners”

Same virus, different market reactions

Coronavirus dominates share market thinking and brought on the big bear dip in most markets. It does not, however, seem to be the severity of the virus that differentiates between the different countries. This week the value of companies quoted on the US Nasdaq index continued to outpace the value of all the listed companies … Continue reading “Same virus, different market reactions”

Oil price shock: the implications

The Coronavirus outbreak has caused widespread disruption in equity and bond markets, but it has also had some major repercussions for the oil price. This week, the cost of a barrel of oil turned negative for the first time as demand plummeted. That means oil producers are paying buyers to take the commodity off their … Continue reading “Oil price shock: the implications”

Market update – April 2020

It is now clear that the world economy is experiencing a sudden stop without precedent in peace time. During wars, economies generally operate at a flat out pace, and in the UK, the WWII induced return to full employment, post the 1930s Depression, necessitated higher taxes, not only to fund the government deficit, but also … Continue reading “Market update – April 2020”

Looking back at the markets through March

A selection of articles looking back through the markets last month. Global Market Review March Meltdown The extended bull run came to an abrupt end in March as the coronavirus continued to spread into Europe and America, and a collapse in confidence pushed share indices into bear-market territory. Investors suffered exceptionally high levels of volatility … Continue reading “Looking back at the markets through March”

Plumbing the depths

Yesterday The Office of Budget Responsibility in the UK tried to update its forecasts for the UK economy. They emerged at the pessimistic end of the current range of estimates but attracted news coverage because of who they are. They anticipate on the scenario they published a fall of 35% in the UK second-quarter GDP, … Continue reading “Plumbing the depths”

The importance of forecasting humility

It is natural to want to rush to judgement about the long-term changes the coronavirus pandemic will bring, whether in an attempt to get ahead of the game or simply impose some order amidst the chaos. But as understandable as that impulse is, it can also be dangerous, allowing highly speculative claims to circulate and … Continue reading “The importance of forecasting humility”

‘Lockdown for longer’ is a major market threat

Stock markets have staged a significant recovery from the Coronavirus slump, rallying sharply from lows hit in March. But gains of 10% or more are common in bear markets – and the crisis at many of the world’s businesses has only just begun. A wave of insolvencies will puncture the optimism, as companies with too … Continue reading “‘Lockdown for longer’ is a major market threat”

The moral hazard of crisis intervention

US markets closed up 12% in the shortened pre-Easter week as new coronavirus case growth fell globally and an undercurrent of monetary and fiscal support helped keep sentiment buoyant. Many global markets have now entered ‘bull market’ territory. Nonetheless, European markets remain 20-25% off their 01 January levels, so you’d be forgiven for not feeling … Continue reading “The moral hazard of crisis intervention”

Downturns this deep can take a long time to recover from, financially and mentally

Before last week’s rebound, US stocks had lost around 25% since mid-February, as measured by the S&P 500 Index. Like many of you reading this, my savings have taken a big hit. I set up a junior ISA for both of my children in February, and that money has also fallen by around a quarter. … Continue reading “Downturns this deep can take a long time to recover from, financially and mentally”

China standing out among emerging markets

Like those almost everywhere else, emerging markets (EMs) suffered a coronavirus shock in March. Having plunged by nearly a third in the early part of the month, however, EM share prices partly recovered towards the end. Promises of large-scale monetary and fiscal stimulus in the US arrested the declines, but EM stocks still had a … Continue reading “China standing out among emerging markets”