Panic not: earnings season matters more than the current rout

Once again, markets are roiling. As with so many sell-offs, this is a story of pressure building steadily until it must vent. Volatile markets are here to stay, but the next few weeks will tell us whether this episode is a sign of something more ominous to come or just another bump in the road. … Continue reading “Panic not: earnings season matters more than the current rout”

Europe’s struggle to break free

At the start of 2018, it looked likely that interest rates could start to rise across Europe, signalling the end of the necessary post-crisis readjustment in the financial sector. However, as is often the case, the themes that drive markets at the start of the year can often be forgotten by the end. As 2018 … Continue reading “Europe’s struggle to break free”

The Only Game in Town

The US stockmarkets were the only game in town in August. US stockmarkets provided the only positives in August posting another month of strong gains due to robust economic news-flow.  However, all other major global regions showed negative returns, with geopolitical issues and trade war concerns weighing on investor sentiment. The overall result was a … Continue reading “The Only Game in Town”

Hubris and Nemesis: insights into the financial crisis

Ten years ago, the demise of Lehman Brothers marked the height of the financial crisis. At the time, I was an economist at one of the UK’s largest financial institutions. Working there gave me abundant insights into the psychological biases at play, both in that institution and in the companies that it supported. Many of … Continue reading “Hubris and Nemesis: insights into the financial crisis”

Doom Loop

The most likely candidate for the next ‘Lehman moment’ is in Europe. In some ways the regulatory response that followed in the years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers has been a success. The days of racy balance sheets chasing outsized profits on wafer thin capital are largely over; replaced by a mantra of prudence … Continue reading “Doom Loop”

Emerging markets: increasing or decreasing risks?

So far, 2018 has been a difficult year for emerging market (EM) assets, which in the last few months have fared significantly worse than their counterparts in developed markets. This has been due mainly to worldwide issues but also country-specific political uncertainty. Many investors are now asking if the sell-off presents a buying opportunity – … Continue reading “Emerging markets: increasing or decreasing risks?”

This bull market has relied on technology shares

This has been a long and unusually hesitant and worried bull market. Indeed, there have been a substantial number of sectors that have lived through their own bear markets whilst the overall indices push on to new highs. The US has outperformed the other advanced country equity markets and China easily over the twelve months, … Continue reading “This bull market has relied on technology shares”

The potential income shock awaiting pension savers

A global study of investor attitudes finds that those close to retirement expect to replace 74% of their salary when they give up work. The reality for those already retired is very different. After a lifetime of saving, investors may be in for a shock when they come to retire, the results of a global … Continue reading “The potential income shock awaiting pension savers”

Millennials will reshape the investment landscape

Millennials are the largest generation that have ever existed. They are expected to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 and the way they spend their money will define the world over the course of the next few decades. With half of the world’s population currently under the age of 30, the values … Continue reading “Millennials will reshape the investment landscape”

Why UK-focused stocks look their cheapest in a decade

Uncertainty about the country’s long-term relationship with the European Union, its biggest trading partner, has left many international investors nervous about investing in UK companies. One recent poll showed that UK stocks were the least popular asset class among global fund managers. I disagree. I can see bright spots in the UK stockmarket that offer … Continue reading “Why UK-focused stocks look their cheapest in a decade”

The “Big Tech” backlash: How sustainable are Google, Facebook and Amazon?

The soaring scale, wealth and influence of the internet giants have led to growing scrutiny from society and regulators. Could their wings finally be clipped? In recent months it has felt like the tide is turning against big tech. Google has been fined for market abuse in the EU. Silicon Valley heads have been hauled … Continue reading “The “Big Tech” backlash: How sustainable are Google, Facebook and Amazon?”

Forces of nature: the emerging solar and wind revolution

In north-western China’s arid Tengger desert lies a spectacular city. Not one of buildings but solar panels, and millions of them. This “Great Wall of Solar” covers 1,200km2 – only 100km2 less than Los Angeles. It is the latest development in China’s aspiration to be the world’s leader in solar power. The renewables revolution is … Continue reading “Forces of nature: the emerging solar and wind revolution”

What Goes Up…

Some investors may be shocked that stockmarkets can go down considering the extended bull run we have seen in financial markets over the last couple of years. However, given that, as we write, major benchmark market indices are generally showing a decline of around 5% (in local currency terms) for the month; in context, this … Continue reading “What Goes Up…”

A healthy correction?

The phrase “healthy correction” is one of the most frequently used in the investment lexicon. It has been ubiquitous over the past few days as a descriptor of the significant falls in global markets. It is also a phrase that has puzzled me over the years. As to “healthy”? Falls of over 4% in a … Continue reading “A healthy correction?”

What has driven stockmarket returns and what will drive them in future?

While the equity markets of various countries and regions have performed very similarly over the past three years, the components of returns have been very different. When we look back over the past three years, investors have earned remarkably similar returns in local currency terms in very different parts of the world. UK, eurozone, Japanese … Continue reading “What has driven stockmarket returns and what will drive them in future?”