Bad news and good news for markets

Woes have come together in recent days for share markets. As if Mr Trump’s threats of a trade war were not enough, the President has now joined with others in criticising the business model and tax charges of some leading tech companies. After months of leadership by Nasdaq we saw the tech index falling as … Continue reading “Bad news and good news for markets”

Trade deficits and tariff wars

President Trump believes that if you are running a large deficit it should be easy to “win” a trade war. The problem with this argument is the EU and China may decide to engage. In 2016 the US ran a deficit of $505bn on trade in goods and services, according to the World Bank. Germany … Continue reading “Trade deficits and tariff wars”

Blue skies for communist China?

China is attempting to develop a more rounded and richer economy, with more coming from services and higher value added activities – a difficult balancing act. China’s achievement under President Xi, as under his immediate predecessors, has been impressive. According to the World Bank China now has the world’s largest economy as measured in Purchasing … Continue reading “Blue skies for communist China?”

The changing face of world shares

How the composition of the S&P 500 has changed and how crucial the technology giants are to the bull market? The US market represents more than one half of the total quoted wealth in world shares. It is, however, a very different pattern of wealth holdings from previous decades, reflecting the huge changes underway in … Continue reading “The changing face of world shares”

Time to revisit the Italian election

Markets have been relaxed about the Italian election.1 Last year it was on the investment radar as a potential risk to the euro and the Eurozone, with the Five Star movement leading in the polls and expressing scepticism about the single currency. As they did well so the new leadership of Five Star toned down … Continue reading “Time to revisit the Italian election”

The US Congress holds the purse strings and wishes to loosen them

In theory the President sets out a budget in February and the Congress responds with a Budget resolution in May. In practice the Congress runs the budget, and has just passed a two year budget deal regardless of the White House proposals that crossed in the post with their decisions. President Trump’s wish to cut … Continue reading “The US Congress holds the purse strings and wishes to loosen them”

The US budget should help economic growth

The Trump administration White House has set out its preferred budget for 2019. It is likely the House and Senate will wish to tone down its dramatic proposals. The President’s wish is to boost military and veterans expenditure substantially, whilst cutting back hard on various other departments and programmes. A 13% increase in defence is … Continue reading “The US budget should help economic growth”

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?”