Artificial intelligence: finding opportunities amid the rise of the machines

As artificial intelligence (AI) moves from the realms of fantasy to reality, it brings both opportunities and threats for investors in 2018. The possibilities of AI were underscored in 2015 when Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo program triumphed over the reigning world champion in Go, a Chinese board game of profound complexity. In 2017, DeepMind announced that … Continue reading “Artificial intelligence: finding opportunities amid the rise of the machines”

Exchanges and the companies quoted on them – surely it’s different this time?

Although it is not the oldest stock exchange in the world, the London Stock Exchange can trace its lineage back more than 300 years. The earliest stockbrokers were debarred from London’s centre of commerce, the Royal Exchange, because of rowdiness. Instead, they began to congregate at Jonathan’s Coffee-House on Change Alley. Here, one of the … Continue reading “Exchanges and the companies quoted on them – surely it’s different this time?”

Outlook 2018: Another good year for investors?

As investors look ahead to a new year, they could be forgiven for wondering whether they will be as pleasantly surprised in 2018 as they were in 2017. A number of political worries on the horizon this time last year signally failed to materialise, including the likely shape of President Trump’s trade policies, the rise … Continue reading “Outlook 2018: Another good year for investors?”

Where should investors look for opportunities in 2018?

After a turbo-charged 2017 investors have become nervous of a market sell-off. Among the signs: technology stocks have wobbled recently; high yield corporate bond spreads – the risk premium corporate bonds provide over government bonds – have narrowed to levels not seen since the financial crisis; and speculation has driven a bitcoin frenzy. But while … Continue reading “Where should investors look for opportunities in 2018?”

World pension ages on the rise: when will you retire?

State pension ages are rising around the world. Most countries will increase the point at which people can withdraw payments to 67 in coming decades. Some governments have been more aggressive. The UK and Ireland will increase the age to 68, and the British government has indicated that more even higher ages are inevitable. The … Continue reading “World pension ages on the rise: when will you retire?”

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”

Two decades on from crisis, Asia is roaring

Twenty years ago this month, the government of Indonesia signed the first of several agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that threw a financial lifeline to a country struggling to stay afloat amid the Asian crisis. Deep-pocketed speculators, spotting structural weaknesses in selected regional economies, had forced catastrophic currency devaluations which triggered economic and … Continue reading “Two decades on from crisis, Asia is roaring”

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?”

Japan’s election uncertainty

Call a snap election.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, as embattled UK Prime Minister Theresa May could tell us (in between coughing fits) — plenty.  And yet Shinzo Abe, Japan’s premier, is set to go down the same path. Will he regret his decision to summon the country to the polls in October? At … Continue reading “Japan’s election uncertainty”

The rise of China’s technology giants

Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have rewarded investors’ faith in them. But how have they come to dominate the online economy in China?  When little-known Chinese online gaming and messaging company Tencent decided to list in Hong Kong back in June 2004, its shares were offered at HK$ 3.70 apiece. Fast-forward 13 years to the present … Continue reading “The rise of China’s technology giants”

Supercharged: the car industry in a post-oil world

Governments around the world, barring a handful of exceptions, are seeking to limit the effects of climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. Earlier this year, some 200 countries signed the Paris Agreement, which commits them to help curtail global temperature rises. Part of the solution lies in promoting fuels that produce less of the … Continue reading “Supercharged: the car industry in a post-oil world”

With the German election over, it’s time to focus on Europe’s growth opportunities

As expected, Angela Merkel has emerged as the victor in the German elections with her centre-right CDU/CSU bloc winning 33% of Sunday’s vote. The centre-left SPD took 20.5% and has said it will go into opposition. The dominant parties in Germany remain pro-EU although the far-right AfD won a higher-than-expected 12.6% of the vote. Negotiations … Continue reading “With the German election over, it’s time to focus on Europe’s growth opportunities”

Is China’s tech boom worth investing in?

China’s statistics are often larger-than-life but the numbers relating to mobile phone ownership and money spent online are truly staggering. As of the end of last year, more than half the population – some 731 million people – were online. That’s almost all the people in Europe. Some 95% access the internet via mobile devices. … Continue reading “Is China’s tech boom worth investing in?”

Why some shares disappoint

The world economy is growing at a sustainable moderate pace, with all the main economies contributing. More people are getting jobs and better paid jobs worldwide, thanks to the faster development rates of some of the leading emerging economies and to substantial migration to richer countries generating more employment. This is a favourable background for … Continue reading “Why some shares disappoint”

The Euro shares rally and French reform

The Eurostox index reached depressed December levels last year when many market participants feared that an anti-euro government might be elected in the Netherlands or France. It rallied to a high in May of this year, putting on around 20%. Markets anticipated the French election result and relaxed about the immediate prospects for the Euro. … Continue reading “The Euro shares rally and French reform”