ESG investing more important than ever

Many investors are interested in the impact of their investments on the world around them, as well as in the financial performance of the companies in which they invest. Next year, the investment industry in the European Union (EU) will be under a regulatory requirement to take Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters into account … Continue reading “ESG investing more important than ever”

The US election – just political noise?

The weakness in US equity markets in September appeared to come as a surprise to many investors, despite history pointing to this being seasonally quite typical. After such a strong and persistent rally since the Covid-19 lows of March, profit taking and market consolidation should be seen as a positive rather than a negative. However, … Continue reading “The US election – just political noise?”

UK recovery loses momentum as Covid-19 effects linger

The latest monthly UK GDP estimate shows the economy returning back to growth on a rolling three-months basis – up 8% compared to a -7.6% contraction in July, which should ensure double digit growth for the third quarter. However, the data also reveals a significant loss in momentum, as monthly growth was down from 6.6% … Continue reading “UK recovery loses momentum as Covid-19 effects linger”

The virus remains difficult to control

Even in the most freedom-loving societies there was widespread buy into controls for the initial lockdowns. Now consent is waning. It’s been another week dominated by pandemic news. Donald Trump’s contentious approach to tackling the disease has been centre stage, with his self-announced triumph over the illness thanks to a couple of drugs that he … Continue reading “The virus remains difficult to control”

Can emerging Europe close the performance gap?

Across the world, we wait in hope and anticipation for a vaccine for Covid-19. Financial markets reflect optimism that one will soon be found, and that the economic recovery will sustain. Investors in emerging Europe will be particularly keen for some form of normalisation to come through. Emerging European equities are down almost -30% in … Continue reading “Can emerging Europe close the performance gap?”

Covid-19 and the Japanese model

The Japanese economy was in recession when the virus struck. GDP fell 1.8% in the fourth quarter of 2019 and experienced a further small fall in quarter 1 2020. Japan’s decline of 7.9% in the second quarter was a large fall by historic standards but was at the lower end of declines worldwide as economies … Continue reading “Covid-19 and the Japanese model”

Back on the Brexit rollercoaster: buckle up for a bumpy ride

What’s happening with Brexit? The UK and European Union (EU) resumed Brexit negotiations over the summer but made limited progress. The political drama and posturing that accompanied the proceedings look certain to persist in the coming weeks. It appears the UK intends proposing domestic laws to weaken its Withdrawal Agreement commitments on the border between … Continue reading “Back on the Brexit rollercoaster: buckle up for a bumpy ride”

What will the US elections do to markets?

The question whether Democrats or Republicans will have a majority in the House of Representatives and Senate matters to markets. According to the polls, the Presidential election is Joe Biden’s to lose. He has been comfortably ahead by around 8% in the national polls for some time. He is also ahead in most of the … Continue reading “What will the US elections do to markets?”

Will decarbonisation be the mega-trend of the next decade?

US equities have led global stock markets higher over the past decade. In the last ten years, US equities have returned a stellar 292%, compared to just 73% for global equities (as measured by the MSCI USA Index and MSCI AC World ex US Index respectively, in US dollar terms, as at 31 August 2020). … Continue reading “Will decarbonisation be the mega-trend of the next decade?”

China plans to pull further ahead of the US in 5G

The fractious relationship between the US and China is changing global supply chains. China now plans to leapfrog the US in an essential component of the future economy, increasing divisions further. When Beijing decided that China needed to become an atomic power in the 1960s, its centrally-planned state directed significant resources and resolve into developing … Continue reading “China plans to pull further ahead of the US in 5G”

A deepening divide: emerging markets and the second-quarter earnings season

Emerging markets (EMs) are often discussed as if they were somehow homogenous. That, however, is misleading. The differences between the individual markets included in EM indices are profound. The Covid-19 crisis has exposed these fundamental differences – especially those between emerging Asian economies and other parts of the developing world. And EM companies’ second-quarter earnings … Continue reading “A deepening divide: emerging markets and the second-quarter earnings season”

Has “Eat Out to Help Out” saved the UK hospitality sector?

The UK’s hospitality industry began to emerge from lockdown on 4 July when pubs, restaurants and cafes in England were allowed to re-open. Their Scottish counterparts followed from mid-July. The end of lockdown didn’t mean an end to the challenges facing the sector, with social distancing rules limiting capacity and customers wary of venturing to … Continue reading “Has “Eat Out to Help Out” saved the UK hospitality sector?”

Do shares always win in the long run?

It used to be a common belief of many managers that if you bought and held a portfolio of shares over any market cycle you would earn a decent return. This argument may be changing. The argument went that the sharp cycles in shares were based on shallower and shorter cycles for economies. They might … Continue reading “Do shares always win in the long run?”

Riding the central bank stimulus

The major issues today are how fast the recovery will be, how widespread will it be, and how much permanent damage will remain. Bulls in the stock market are excited by the recovery cycle. It now looks as if all the major economies have passed the worst of their troughs in output and incomes brought … Continue reading “Riding the central bank stimulus”

The US Presidential election remains an uncertainty for markets

The US presidential elections take place on November 3 and Donald Trump is now closing the gap in the polls with Joe Biden. The result remains too close to call. The US election is now Democrat candidate Joe Biden’s to lose. Donald Trump’s grand strategy has been badly damaged by the virus. His plan was … Continue reading “The US Presidential election remains an uncertainty for markets”