Why I’m backing a consumer comeback in Europe

Worries over slowing global growth and rising trade tensions hit European share prices hard at the end of 2018. While early 2019 saw a rally, there remains considerable scepticism over the prospects for the European economy and its listed companies. I think much of this scepticism is misplaced and the role of the European consumer … Continue reading “Why I’m backing a consumer comeback in Europe”

Whatever it takes…to raise inflation

The European Central Bank has consistently failed to meet its inflation target in the seven years since the region’s sovereign debt crisis. Nor has the market any faith that it might do so in future. With the European Union (EU) elections out of the way, the horse-trading over a host of top EU jobs will … Continue reading “Whatever it takes…to raise inflation”

Fed turns more dovish and signals an end to rate hikes

The Federal Reserve (Fed) has lowered its projections for US growth and inflation and reduced its expectations for interest rates. The “dot plot” published after last night’s meeting shows no rate hikes this year and only one in 2020.  Tighter financial conditions At his press conference, Fed chair Jerome Powell said growth was slowing by … Continue reading “Fed turns more dovish and signals an end to rate hikes”

Does the US have enough firepower to fight the next recession?

With interest rates already near record lows, what’s left in the Fed’s arsenal to fight the next recession? Low starting interest rates means that the Federal Reserve (Fed) may need to expand its policy toolkit to fight an economic downturn. But if this proves insufficient, fiscal policy need to pick up the slack. The go-to … Continue reading “Does the US have enough firepower to fight the next recession?”

29 reasons not to invest in the stock market

Wars, disasters, economic strife and political instability have been persistent themes over the last three decades and they can affect people’s attitude towards investing. In many cases they make an already tough decision to part with your money and invest even harder, leading some to not invest at all. Behavioural scientists have a name for … Continue reading “29 reasons not to invest in the stock market”

A slowdown in the world economy worries markets

Japanese interest rates are negative, Euro-area rates are still at zero, the UK official short-rate is at 0.75% and in the US at 2.25%. The Japanese are still running a quantitative easing programme, printing money to buy up state debt, and the Euro-area is doing a little bit more of the same until the end … Continue reading “A slowdown in the world economy worries markets”

Inflation and capacity

There is a danger that central banks will tighten too much. Part of the market plunge during October was a response to tougher money conditions around the world. The Federal Reserve in the US is well advanced with a programme of rate rises. At the same time, it is supervising the rundown of its portfolio … Continue reading “Inflation and capacity”

How long will the bull market last? Four areas to watch…

The global economy’s ongoing expansion continues to underpin the current equity bull market, which is already one of the longest-running in history. We do not expect this dynamic to change in the short term, but there are shifts occurring within the economic backdrop which warrant monitoring for signs that the investment environment may be beginning … Continue reading “How long will the bull market last? Four areas to watch…”

Turkey trouble: what’s behind it and what does it mean for emerging markets?

Turkey’s currency, the lira, has plunged 68% against the dollar since the start of 2018. Year-to-date its stock market has fallen nearly 18% and inflation hit 16% in July, more than three times the central bank’s target. Turkey’s current crisis has been a long time coming. The early warning signs were apparent in the 2013 … Continue reading “Turkey trouble: what’s behind it and what does it mean for emerging markets?”

Is the road to inflation taking us back to the 1960s?

The 1960s are remembered for radical social reform, political upheaval and war. Often forgotten is that they were also a time of rising inflation – and in this they may hold disquieting lessons for us today.   One of our key calls for 2018 is that consumer price inflation in the US will become an … Continue reading “Is the road to inflation taking us back to the 1960s?”

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?”

Should the Bank of England raise rates?

The Governor has warned us that a rate rise could happen soon. Markets have duly priced in an increase. The pound rallied strongly against the dollar, partly on that interest rate expectation. UK ten year rates and other longer term bond yields have adjusted upwards. The problem is that the economy is slowing. Treasury policy … Continue reading “Should the Bank of England raise rates?”

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”

Currency wars

It’s been a strange world for currencies as well as for bonds and interest rates since the western crash. Countries and central banks that used to worry about their currencies falling too much have all seemed to welcome weakness in their counters, hoping that will stimulate exports and allow a bit more inflation. Four of … Continue reading “Currency wars”

Progress of Europe’s banks may mark a turning point

We crave turning points.  As we mark five years since European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi’s “whatever it takes” speech — which crushed government and corporate bond spreads and contributed towards an 80% rally in eurozone stocks — are we on the cusp of another inflection? The eurozone has just enjoyed its best quarter … Continue reading “Progress of Europe’s banks may mark a turning point”