Investors dump equity in favour of safe havens

Government bonds received a boost in demand last month as investors’ risk appetite was tested by volatility in equity markets. This risk-off attitude proved negative for corporate bonds, however. The looming threat of a trade war between the US and China sent shockwaves throughout equity markets last month, as investors braced for the impact of … Continue reading “Investors dump equity in favour of safe havens”

Is the FTSE 250 overlooked and misunderstood?

It may be the less well known of the FTSE indices but the FTSE 250 is the authoritative measure of UK-quoted mid cap companies. Often referred to as the market’s “second tier” it is the next most established tranche of companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange outside of the FTSE 100. The revenues of … Continue reading “Is the FTSE 250 overlooked and misunderstood?”

UK investors to get direct access to some Chinese shares

News that the British and Chinese stock market will be directly linked is a positive for both countries. It proves China is opening up and it is, post-Brexit, a vote of confidence in the City of London. By the end of this year, there will be a direct link between the London Stock Exchange and … Continue reading “UK investors to get direct access to some Chinese shares”

How China is positioning for slower growth

The Chinese authorities seem to have acknowledged that lower growth will be inevitable. We look at how they have increased their room for manoeuvre economically and politically. The National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s national legislature, met from 5th to 20th March. This conference traditionally provides the senior leadership group with the opportunity to set policy … Continue reading “How China is positioning for slower growth”

Many of pension freedoms’ true challenges yet to surface

I sat open-mouthed in the House of Commons four years ago as George Osborne announced the end of a national retirement system based on annuities. Three years on from the law change, several trends are clear. Overall, we remain in what I call ‘Income Drawdown’s Phoney War’: as long as the vast majority of retirees … Continue reading “Many of pension freedoms’ true challenges yet to surface”

Bad news and good news for markets

Woes have come together in recent days for share markets. As if Mr Trump’s threats of a trade war were not enough, the President has now joined with others in criticising the business model and tax charges of some leading tech companies. After months of leadership by Nasdaq we saw the tech index falling as … Continue reading “Bad news and good news for markets”

Why I need a financial adviser

Combining risk frameworks with appropriate asset allocation is no mean feat. Economists call them “teachable moments” – life events which make us think more about long-term financial planning. Until my 40th birthday, I barely thought of my mortality. But since then I have barely thought of anything else. A major birthday milestone, combined with the … Continue reading “Why I need a financial adviser”

Property investors are in need of some retail therapy

Many would say that high street retailing is dead. The reality is that no high streets have truly perished and very few will be completely wiped out. Yet many are undoubtedly shadows of their former selves, most will never be the same again, and relatively few could be considered in fine fettle. The global financial … Continue reading “Property investors are in need of some retail therapy”

New Fed chair Powell raises rates, growth and inflation forecasts

As expected the Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates by 25 basis points at the March Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. The move increases the target range for the federal funds rate from 1.25%-1.5% to 1.5-1.75%. At his first FOMC meeting, new Fed chair Jerome Powell also announced that the committee is pushing up … Continue reading “New Fed chair Powell raises rates, growth and inflation forecasts”

Trade deficits and tariff wars

President Trump believes that if you are running a large deficit it should be easy to “win” a trade war. The problem with this argument is the EU and China may decide to engage. In 2016 the US ran a deficit of $505bn on trade in goods and services, according to the World Bank. Germany … Continue reading “Trade deficits and tariff wars”

Why UK-focused stocks look their cheapest in a decade

Uncertainty about the country’s long-term relationship with the European Union, its biggest trading partner, has left many international investors nervous about investing in UK companies. One recent poll showed that UK stocks were the least popular asset class among global fund managers. I disagree. I can see bright spots in the UK stockmarket that offer … Continue reading “Why UK-focused stocks look their cheapest in a decade”

Blue skies for communist China?

China is attempting to develop a more rounded and richer economy, with more coming from services and higher value added activities – a difficult balancing act. China’s achievement under President Xi, as under his immediate predecessors, has been impressive. According to the World Bank China now has the world’s largest economy as measured in Purchasing … Continue reading “Blue skies for communist China?”

Trump’s tariffs

Last week, the White House announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum of 25% and 10% respectively – a move that sparked global indignation and threats of a trade war. But tariffs are more common than you may imagine. Almost every US president since Ronald Reagan has announced a tariff of one kind or another. … Continue reading “Trump’s tariffs”

Italian election yields a bitter stalemate

Italy is not usually known for its political stability, so the results of its general election come as no surprise. The bitter and divisive contest yielded no overall winner, but the swing towards populist extremist parties could be a concern. Based on exit polls, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement appears to be the single biggest … Continue reading “Italian election yields a bitter stalemate”

The changing face of world shares

How the composition of the S&P 500 has changed and how crucial the technology giants are to the bull market? The US market represents more than one half of the total quoted wealth in world shares. It is, however, a very different pattern of wealth holdings from previous decades, reflecting the huge changes underway in … Continue reading “The changing face of world shares”