Down But Not Out

February started where January left off – providing investors with a timely reminder that global markets fall quicker than they rise. Strong US employment numbers and evidence of wage growth fuelled investor concerns over inflation and the prospect of a more aggressive US interest rate cycle. This led to a sharp sell-off in equity markets … Continue reading “Down But Not Out”

What does a normal interest rate look like?

Markets have been worried that interest rates in the west are heading back to normal in a hurry. If rates go too high too soon they could damage the recovery and do more harm to shares. As the West agonises over the pace of putting up interest rates and winding down special monetary measures, the … Continue reading “What does a normal interest rate look like?”

After the melt up

In January we saw shares rising rapidly, in what some called a melt up. In the last few days they have come back down again very quickly. The year’s gains were rapidly erased. Should we worry? Last week before the fall I wrote that “There will be bad times from time to time. Worrying about … Continue reading “After the melt up”

Farewell to 2017

Is it better to travel than to arrive?  The US share market has done well this year.  It has been in fitful anticipation of tax cuts to come.  As the old year draws to a close the tax cuts have as we expected taken legislative form. The US growth rate has risen, exceeding 3% as … Continue reading “Farewell to 2017”

Keeping the faith: now is not the time to abandon inflation targets

Monetary policy is at an inflection point. The extraordinary support from central banks is being gradually scaled back as economies improve and financial markets remain calm. Yet investors remain sceptical about how much central banks will raise interest rates by, because inflation remains stubbornly low across most of the advanced world. Historically, declining unemployment has … Continue reading “Keeping the faith: now is not the time to abandon inflation targets”

US tax cuts: do the sums add up?

The US Senate recently passed its tax bill supporting the Trump administration’s tax reform measures, which call for a $1.5 trillion net tax stimulus. Supporters of these tax cuts have argued they will result in stronger economic growth, as did the tax cuts of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and George W Bush in the … Continue reading “US tax cuts: do the sums add up?”

Fed raises US rates once again

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised its key interest rate by 0.25 percentage points at its December meeting. It is one of Janet Yellen’s final major acts as head of the US central bank.  The Fed left its rate outlook for the coming years unchanged from its projections in September.  This is the fifth increase … Continue reading “Fed raises US rates once again”

Signal or noise? Political risk in 2018

Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Terrorism. Populism. A newly emboldened Russia. The world is an unsettled place, but financial markets are relatively calm. A few factors could yet jolt them. US equity markets have generated significant gains over the last year, despite the headlines speculating over possible Russian interference in the US presidential election, … Continue reading “Signal or noise? Political risk in 2018”

UK inflation breaches the BoE’s upper target

Higher food and energy prices have put further pressure on households ahead of the festive period. UK annual consumer price index (CPI) inflation rose to 3.1% in November – its highest rate since March 2012 and, more significantly, breaching the Bank of England’s upper target of 3%. The latest figures were higher than consensus expectations … Continue reading “UK inflation breaches the BoE’s upper target”

Why do some people like Bitcoin?

This week the Chicago Board Options Exchange allowed trading in Bitcoin futures. There has been great interest in the Bitcoin phenomenon all year, leading up to this partial recognition of it by the authorities. Those who had some money to spare for a high risk adventure have been able to do well from buying Bitcoin. … Continue reading “Why do some people like Bitcoin?”

Liabilities and the long-term effects of low rates

We lived through history earlier this month. The Bank of England (BoE) raised interest rates for the first time in ten years. But interest rates will stay low for a lot longer yet and this should encourage those with a long-term view. The move was symbolically important – a small, but significant, reminder that interest … Continue reading “Liabilities and the long-term effects of low rates”

Is this the end of the global cycle?

Markets often have setbacks. There is always plenty to worry about. Recent price falls have not related to any one event or new fact that has emerged. Some people want to take some profits. Some people have become more nervous about how sustainable the recovery might be. Some worry that the Central Banks led by … Continue reading “Is this the end of the global cycle?”

Asian reforms and growth

The Asian economies are growing well, with their stock markets responding favourably to higher company earnings and dividends. Japan in particular has put in a strong performance in recent weeks in the wake of Mr Abe’s victory in an early election. Foreign investors have been keen to back the renewed government as it continues with … Continue reading “Asian reforms and growth”

UK interest rates rise for the first time in a decade

The Bank of England (BoE) raised UK interest rates for the first time since July 2007. The base rate has increased from 0.25% to 0.5%, but we do not believe this necessarily marks the start of an imminent tightening cycle… Although today’s is first interest rate hike in over a decade, the forward guidance provided … Continue reading “UK interest rates rise for the first time in a decade”

Will it be smooth sailing for markets until the end of the year?

Schroders Keith Wade & Aymeric Forest look at whether equities can sustain their stellar run in view of the coming reduction in central bank liquidity, geopolitical tensions, currency moves and stretched valuations? Equities underpinned by solid synchronised global growth The global economy is on a firm and synchronised upward trajectory, which is increasingly industrial-led and underpinned … Continue reading “Will it be smooth sailing for markets until the end of the year?”