Volatile markets reflect fears of reality

Many refer to the growing gap between the reality of Covid-19-torn economies and equity markets. Battered businesses trying to adapt to social distancing and closures struggle to generate profits, to meet rent bills – or pay dividends. At the same time, major equity indices hit new highs. Most of us run with the wind, which … Continue reading “Volatile markets reflect fears of reality”

Wall of money keeps markets buoyant

Inflation is not the enemy of central banks right now and their printing presses continue to run. Money creation look set to continue and government debts will rise. There is uniformity amongst the leading central banks of the world that recession, not inflation, is the enemy. They are all offering ultra-low interest rates, substantial money … Continue reading “Wall of money keeps markets buoyant”

Patience required on the path to recovery

The growing confidence that 2021 will be much better than the year we have just endured is probably correct. That these positive emotions are stirred over Christmas and new year is right and proper – as feelings of optimism and renewal are central themes in our winter celebrations. There is also real evidence to support … Continue reading “Patience required on the path to recovery”

Trade policy under Joe Biden

Donald Trump’s focus on trade will be tempered under President-elect Joe Biden, but he understands the potency of Mr Trump’s rhetoric on these matters. President Trump in 2016 set out to slash the large US balance of trade deficit. He identified his villains – China, Germany and Japan – and set about exposing the villainy. … Continue reading “Trade policy under Joe Biden”

Care needed with big power politics

The pandemic and the stimulus packages have preoccupied markets for most of this year but risks relating to the aims of the great powers are too important to ignore. The growing tensions between China and the US are likely to characterise the Biden era as much as Trump. One of the few things Democrats and … Continue reading “Care needed with big power politics”

What a difference a vaccine makes

The announcement that a vaccine might be available before the end of the month that works and is safe changed everything – and nothing.  The optimists in markets decided that the news would be confirmed and get better. They think the vaccine they will complete its trials, it will pass its safety test – and … Continue reading “What a difference a vaccine makes”

What President Biden will mean for markets

Although recounts and legal challenges relating to the election need to be resolved, markets are moving on to considering what a Biden Presidency will mean. The media have decided Joe Biden will be the next President of the USA. Three states still need to complete their counts. In Georgia, there is likely to be a … Continue reading “What President Biden will mean for markets”

Debts, deficits and stimulus

We have just witnessed the Japanification of world finance as central bank attempt to counteract measures to stop Covid-19. How will this all end? Never before in human history has so much extra money been created by central banks and thrown at a deep recession. Never have governments pledged to borrow so much as they … Continue reading “Debts, deficits and stimulus”

The EU gets serious about net zero

The Green revolution is wide-ranging and will have a huge impact on all our lives and investments. The European Council was advised by the Commission on Thursday night last week that it needed to up its game and go for a much higher target of carbon dioxide reduction by 2030. The Commission proposes a 55% … Continue reading “The EU gets serious about net zero”

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 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”

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”

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?”

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”

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?”