Embracing change in European real estate

Real estate is typically a slow mover in the investment world. It tends not to be affected by the day-to-day rumblings in the equity and bond markets. Nevertheless, change is still afoot in real estate, with both short- and long-term trends affecting how we use properties and how we invest. Real estate is now at … Continue reading “Embracing change in European real estate”

The Brexit deadline looms

The UK ended February with the question of Brexit still unanswered.  The month was dominated by political newsflow as concerns over Brexit were compounded by the resignation of eleven MPs who left the Conservative or Labour parties to form ‘The Independent Group’.  A second ‘meaningful vote’ on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal will take … Continue reading “The Brexit deadline looms”

Car crash in the motor industry?

Last year was not a good year for the world motor industry. Passenger car sales fell by 13% in the USA, by 9% in the UK, by 4% in China, by 3% in France and by 0.2% in Germany. In the USA higher interest rates reduced people’s willingness to take out car loans. In China … Continue reading “Car crash in the motor industry?”

Are investors too pessimistic on European shares?

European equities had a tough 2018 with the benchmark MSCI Europe index falling 10.6% over the year. Trade wars, reduced support from central banks and slower economic growth were among the factors that saw higher risk assets such as equities fall out of favour. Despite the difficult global backdrop, the eurozone economy continued to expand … Continue reading “Are investors too pessimistic on European shares?”

2018: A year to forget

2018 will be a year that many investors would rather forget. A lucky few will still be looking for an overall gain for the year, but the past few months have proved extremely uncomfortable. What have been the highs and lows of the year?  Research by Willis Owen shows that eight sectors delivered a positive … Continue reading “2018: A year to forget”

How the Brexit delay has moved markets – and what it means for the economy

As Theresa May meets European leaders seeking a better Brexit deal, the UK economy heads for a period of heightened uncertainty and stagflation. Markets faced further uncertainty after the Prime Minister Theresa May began a series of European meetings in the hope of securing an improved deal on Brexit. However, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the … Continue reading “How the Brexit delay has moved markets – and what it means for the economy”

Fear not – volatility is normal

After the long period of rather calm markets in 2016-17, we predicted that from 2018 onwards, we would see a return towards more normal levels of market volatility. Swings up and down in share prices – even big moves – are normal behaviour for markets. The upside from investing in equity markets is the potential … Continue reading “Fear not – volatility is normal”

Bond vigilantes at the gates in Italy

The 2019 budget target was unveiled on 27 September 2019, with the government defying the advice of Giovanni Tria, Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance. Tria had recommended a deficit1 of 1.6% of GDP; however, the target has been set at 2.4% of GDP. Italy is now on a collision course with the European Commission, … Continue reading “Bond vigilantes at the gates in Italy”

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”

Growth to slow as trade wars escalate

As a deeper and more prolonged trade war is anticipated between the US and China, we have downgraded our global growth expectations and forecast slower growth in both 2018 and 2019. Much of the slowdown can be attributed to the effect of trade wars. Europe and Japan disappoint Two of the world’s most export-oriented economies, … Continue reading “Growth to slow as trade wars escalate”

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”

Russian influence on Western markets

The Russian stock market remains cheap by Western standards, with people applying a Russian discount for the political risks. The market is dominated by the large oil and gas enterprises including Rosneft, Lukoil, Gazprom and Surgutneftegas, and has done well since 2014. Much of the gain has come from the rise in energy prices increasing … Continue reading “Russian influence on Western markets”

Genoa tragedy sets Italy on course for EU clash

The tragic loss of lives in Genoa when a large section of an elevated motorway collapsed is one of those dreadful events that should not have happened. We all feel for the families scarred by loss. It is a big event which is having a dramatic effect on Italian politics and government. This matters at … Continue reading “Genoa tragedy sets Italy on course for EU clash”

Turkey: an idiosyncratic problem or a threat to wider emerging markets?

Turkey has seen a temporary resolution to its current crisis with the injection of $15bn of Qatari cash, but it is still in crisis. The Qatar offer, from Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, is designed to help the country ride out its currency crisis, which has seen the lira plunge. However, it is a short-term … Continue reading “Turkey: an idiosyncratic problem or a threat to wider emerging markets?”

Property investors are in need of some retail therapy

Many would say that high street retailing is dead. The reality is that no high streets have truly perished and very few will be completely wiped out. Yet many are undoubtedly shadows of their former selves, most will never be the same again, and relatively few could be considered in fine fettle. The global financial … Continue reading “Property investors are in need of some retail therapy”