No time to be pig-headed

The trade war is dominating headlines and shaking investor confidence in China. But as we enter Year of the Pig, it’s worth remembering this is a long-term growth story. No sooner have the Christmas decorations come down than new ones have gone up to mark the Lunar New Year, which starts on February 5. It’s … Continue reading “No time to be pig-headed”

Is there too much borrowing?

Markets have a love/hate relationship with debt. If there is not enough of it available, shares tend to fall. More borrowing helps the world go round. If there is too much debt, markets can also fall. There is a fear that individuals and companies will not be able to pay the interest or meet the … Continue reading “Is there too much borrowing?”

Trade: Will Trump rediscover the art of the deal?

The markets have two problems with US President Trump’s approach to the trade talks. The first is he is so unpredictable that it makes it very difficult for commentators and forecasters to come up with a well-based vision of what the future holds. The second is there is a nagging worry that the US China … Continue reading “Trade: Will Trump rediscover the art of the deal?”

Davos: world leaders miss out on the personal touch

In some ways Davos looks much the same as in previous years. The world’s great and good from politics, academia, business and the media have once again descended on Switzerland. The combination of all of these companies and leaders from around the world in an otherwise quiet and rural backwater is as incongruous as ever. … Continue reading “Davos: world leaders miss out on the personal touch”

Brexit plan B looks like plan A as prime minister rules out delay

The government risks losing control to parliament but probability of no deal remains as high as ever.  Having survived a vote of no confidence, Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to update the House of Commons on the government’s “plan B” for Brexit. In her statement, May promised to work with members of parliament (MPs) … Continue reading “Brexit plan B looks like plan A as prime minister rules out delay”

Reasons to be positive on equities

Investors are quite rightly nervous after sharp market falls in the final quarter of last year. However,  that it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, there are reasons to be positive. Equities are discounting a recession that is unlikely to happen. Although growth is certainly slowing down, none of the world’s major countries are … Continue reading “Reasons to be positive on equities”

Is the US technology industry being defanged?

Paypal founder Peter Thiel predicted in his 2014 Wall Street Journal essay ‘Competition is for losers’ that Silicon Valley would become the centre of the global economy. He claimed that by operating under a set of rules that involve little competition or regulation, his own company, along with the likes of Facebook, Amazon and Google … Continue reading “Is the US technology industry being defanged?”

Why Trump and China both want to end the trade war

Optimism that the trade war that has ravaged global markets could be resolved soon is mounting. China’s Ministry of Commerce said that last week’s discussions with US representatives were extensive and had established a foundation for the resolution of each country’s concerns. In fact, it appears that things are moving into place for Donald Trump … Continue reading “Why Trump and China both want to end the trade war”

How trade wars have affected emerging market returns

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index, a measure of emerging markets (EM) equities, was down 14.3% in 2018, but this masked a considerable dispersion of returns, particularly in US dollar terms. Turkey was the year’s worst performer, thanks to a collapse in the lira, with equities losing investors 57.6% in dollar terms. The best performing major … Continue reading “How trade wars have affected emerging market returns”

China tries to balance its economy

The Chinese bear market in shares has lasted since the peaks reached in the summer of 2015. The index of share prices for the Shanghai market has halved since June 2015. Then excessive exuberance tempted many domestic buyers into the stock market. A substantial credit expansion allowed people to buy shares on borrowed money. When … Continue reading “China tries to balance its economy”

29 reasons not to invest in the stock market

Wars, disasters, economic strife and political instability have been persistent themes over the last three decades and they can affect people’s attitude towards investing. In many cases they make an already tough decision to part with your money and invest even harder, leading some to not invest at all. Behavioural scientists have a name for … Continue reading “29 reasons not to invest in the stock market”

China and Taiwan tensions build

President Xi Jinping’s statement that Taiwan is properly part of China and will be fully integrated one day is not new policy. Nonetheless it seemed to upset the Hong Kong market, and made investors wonder whether there was to be a new tougher phase in China’s relations with the very successful island economy of Taiwan. … Continue reading “China and Taiwan tensions build”

2018: A year to forget

2018 will be a year that many investors would rather forget. A lucky few will still be looking for an overall gain for the year, but the past few months have proved extremely uncomfortable. What have been the highs and lows of the year?  Research by Willis Owen shows that eight sectors delivered a positive … Continue reading “2018: A year to forget”

How the Brexit delay has moved markets – and what it means for the economy

As Theresa May meets European leaders seeking a better Brexit deal, the UK economy heads for a period of heightened uncertainty and stagflation. Markets faced further uncertainty after the Prime Minister Theresa May began a series of European meetings in the hope of securing an improved deal on Brexit. However, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the … Continue reading “How the Brexit delay has moved markets – and what it means for the economy”

G20 stare down does not de-escalate tensions

It would be easy to see last weekend’s G20 meeting a heralding a thaw in the US-China trade war. But it hasn’t. There are some positives. It looks increasingly likely that the US will not put in place a fresh 10-25% tariff hike in January on $250bn of Chinese exports, as most had thought. It … Continue reading “G20 stare down does not de-escalate tensions”