Is the Federal Reserve really in control?

Whenever investors have a rush of doubt over inflationary pressures or the possibility the Fed might start to reduce its assistance, there are short, sharp sell-offs in riskier assets. The Fed is very clear about what it is trying to do. It is working closely with the Biden Administration on a huge joint stimulus of … Continue reading “Is the Federal Reserve really in control?”

ESG is the culmination of 200 years of ethics

Ethical investment was first practised by the Methodists and Quakers in America in the early nineteenth century. ESG is a continuation of the ideas they developed. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing is a relatively-new name for something that isn’t new at all. Ever since stock markets were first established, investors have considered their own … Continue reading “ESG is the culmination of 200 years of ethics”

Inflation will rise and will test the Fed

The Federal Reserve accepts that inflation will rise above 2% this year, but the central bank insists this will be temporary and longer-term inflation expectations remain anchored. To many in the markets the authorities have got away with it. We have just lived through a period of unprecedented peacetime money creation by central banks, with … Continue reading “Inflation will rise and will test the Fed”

Stock markets are not economic reality

Equity cycles have some relationship to GDP growth, but they are also dependent on central banks’ policies, lending by commercial banks – and on investors’ ever-changing view of the future. Market commentators and forecasters spend a lot of time trying to predict what will happen to economies – and therefore to turnover and profits of … Continue reading “Stock markets are not economic reality”

The pandemic has a further sting

Equity markets are discounting a fast pace of recovery in the second half of 2021. But investors need to watch out for those countries where lockdowns will need to intensify. The virus is not defeated yet. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention, in the last two weeks, India experienced 4.8 million new cases of … Continue reading “The pandemic has a further sting”

How much more QE? Markets need their sugar high

Last week the Bank of Canada slipped out that it was cutting its Quantitative easing programme by one quarter, taking it down to C$3bn a week of bond buying from C$4bn. They got away with it, and markets remained unruffled. Over at the ECB, Mrs Lagarde wanted people to know they are accelerating their QE … Continue reading “How much more QE? Markets need their sugar high”

Things usually turn out better than we feared

Over time things have a habit of turning out better than we feared. This is not to suggest that we adopt a Pollyanna mindset, but to simply highlight that there is a tendency to view uncertainty as a negative.  Now, if we turn to the business of investing the whole exercise is fraught with uncertainty, … Continue reading “Things usually turn out better than we feared”

Are higher business taxes on the horizon?

The finance ministers and central bankers of the world’s biggest economies met to refine their action plans for recovery and world financial governance. What are the likely outcomes? Finance ministers and central bankers want to set a minimum corporation tax rate for the world, partly to prevent the largest global companies such as the digital … Continue reading “Are higher business taxes on the horizon?”

The pandemic takes a large toll on Europe

Europe has endured one of the worst experiences of the pandemic worldwide, with high case rates and all too many deaths. By 18 March, the European Union’s official figures showed 24 million cases to date and 577,000 mortalities. All seven of the countries that have recorded more than 1,900 deaths per million from Covid-19 globally … Continue reading “The pandemic takes a large toll on Europe”

Running hot – but not too hot?

Last year, the big themes that found favour in the market were the digital winners from lockdown and the potential green winners from Build Back Better. This year, there is more emphasis on the shorter-term winners from recovery. The speed and nature of that recovery is now at the heart of the market debates. Will … Continue reading “Running hot – but not too hot?”

Why you should know your index

The FTSE 100 has been a relative underperformer because of its high weighting in financial and commodity companies. The indices that have outperformed have businesses that look to the future. The last few years have seen wide divergence in the performance of different international equity indices. Over the last five years, Nasdaq – the world’s … Continue reading “Why you should know your index”

Bitcoin should not be considered an investment

Investors should be wary of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Charles Stanley does not consider them an ‘investable asset’ and we wouldn’t include digital coins in any of our portfolios. Cryptocurrencies were established to take the government out of money. Many people don’t trust central banks, believing these institutions will devalue their wealth by manipulating the … Continue reading “Bitcoin should not be considered an investment”

The virus is still costing the economy dear

Despite the equity market exuberance as vaccines boost recovery hopes, the spread of Covid-19 is still having a significant economic impact and will have for some time to come. Equity markets are well advanced in pricing in a strong economic recovery this year from the lockdowns on both sides of the Atlantic. It still seems … Continue reading “The virus is still costing the economy dear”

The virus prolongs its economic damage

As President Biden takes office, he highlighted the heavy Covid-19 death toll – now exceeding 400,000 – and the other damage done by the pandemic in the USA. The winter in the Northern hemisphere has not been kind, with a major surge in infections on both sides of the Atlantic. There have now been 96 … Continue reading “The virus prolongs its economic damage”

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”