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”

Choosing assets for a portfolio

Asset allocation is central to creating a portfolio. The investor has to decide how much, if any, to have in shares, or bonds, or property. Those big picture decisions usually have the biggest impact on how much money you make or lose. At Charles Stanley we spend a lot of time and effort trying to … Continue reading “Choosing assets for a portfolio”

The warning signs ahead of Carillion’s collapse

Outsourcer and construction group Carillion collapsed last week, but trouble was brewing for some time. What were the warnings signs? It was obvious to many investors for quite some time that Carillion was in a mess but some professional investors seemed to miss the warning signs. Even a fund managed by the esteemed Janus Henderson … Continue reading “The warning signs ahead of Carillion’s collapse”

The changing shape of the world economy

Sometimes as an investor it is a good idea to look at the big picture and the long term view. It is easy getting involved in day to day or week by week movements and topical controversies. Much of this is just noise in the system, a temporary high or a short term disappointment. The … Continue reading “The changing shape of the world economy”

Can European politics damage the euro?

It is often fashionable to worry about European politics as newer parties of the right, left and centre emerge to challenge the economic orthodoxy of the Eurozone. We saw this at its most spectacular in Greece, where Syriza swept aside the old parties and gained a majority in a proportional system designed to make that … Continue reading “Can European politics damage the euro?”

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”

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?”

Germany shows there is still political risk in the Eurozone

When the Netherlands kept Mr Wilders out of power and Mr Macron swept into office in France, the immediate threats to the Euro disappeared. The recent collapse of coalition talks in Germany does not presage any undermining of majority support for the single currency in its heartland. The next major political issue facing the Euro … Continue reading “Germany shows there is still political risk in the Eurozone”

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”

The politics of identity stalk European markets

Earlier this year investors worried that the euro was under threat. Its very future in the Netherlands and in France was on the ballot paper. As many of us expected, the euro survived its brush with democracy. In the Netherlands the anti-euro party topped the poll, but well short of the seats needed to govern … Continue reading “The politics of identity stalk European markets”

China’s different system carries on growing

When President Xi first gained the position of President of China five years ago there was considerable western enthusiasm. He came across as a keen reformer willing to push on with China’s enterprise revolution. He wanted to open China’s markets more to the west, to liberalise foreign exchange, privatise more industry and even introduce more … Continue reading “China’s different system carries on growing”

Can Japan stay on course?

As the Japanese market hits a new 20 year high, what impact will the upcoming snap election have? The Japanese economy is growing well this year, and corporate earnings are coming in with good gains. The yen has been weak for a long time, Japanese multinationals are competitive, and the Central Bank remains very accommodative. … Continue reading “Can Japan stay on course?”