Tough times for the UK may force rate cut

The UK economy is struggling to stay above water. Brexit uncertainty has hit confidence, causing many companies to postpone or cancel investment projects. Even households are now cutting back. According to the latest survey from the British Retail Consortium, average sales growth weakened to just 0.6% in the 12 months to June, which is the … Continue reading “Tough times for the UK may force rate cut”

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”

May resignation raises UK recession risk

Prime Minister Theresa May has now announced her resignation, stepping down on 7 June. This will trigger a Conservative Party leadership contest, the winner of which would also become prime minister. May’s resignation follows the end of Brexit talks with the opposition Labour Party, which officially concluded without agreement. At this stage, bookmakers have the … Continue reading “May resignation raises UK recession risk”

Creating a virtuous circle in residential investing

How do we balance effective residential investing with being sensitive to tenants’ needs and to climate change? With the right approach, they can be far more harmonious that you might think. In fact, we would argue that they are intrinsically linked. Using change as a lens We have identified four global forces for change that … Continue reading “Creating a virtuous circle in residential investing”

Waiting for a new interest rate policy

The Federal Reserve Board is re-thinking its whole approach to setting interest rates and controlling credit and money. Its bruising encounters with a falling stock market and an angry President in the final quarter of 2018 left it at a loss to explain why it needed to take action to ease monetary conditions. It had … Continue reading “Waiting for a new interest rate policy”

Looking back at the markets through April

Brextension Having delayed Brexit from 29 March to 12 April, Prime Minister Theresa May agreed a new Brexit deadline of 31 October with EU leaders. As well as drawing out the uncertainty that has intensified over the last few months, this decision also means that the UK will have to take part in European Parliamentary … Continue reading “Looking back at the markets through April”

Still on our way in May, watching for winners

Investing is a curious mixture of art and science. It is a world of phenomenally fast algorithmic trading, supplemented with old-fashioned sayings and adages concocted decades ago. Behavioural finance studies draw attention to the importance of ‘heuristics’. These are mental shortcuts or rules of thumb that ease the cognitive load in decision-making. The saying “sell … Continue reading “Still on our way in May, watching for winners”

Is the UK stuck in Brexit limbo?

The UK has been granted its second extension to the Article 50 deadline, averting a no-deal Brexit that would have happened on 12 April. The UK now has until 31 October to ratify the current Withdrawal Agreement, although there was some disagreement amongst other EU members as to how much longer the UK should be … Continue reading “Is the UK stuck in Brexit limbo?”

You still struggle to get an income on safer investments

The difficulties in getting a good return from Western nation bonds. The great crash of 2008-9 has left interest rates in much of the advanced world at very low levels. The fitful and slow recovery this decade has meant central banks have needed to keep rates low. Japan had a similar, if even more dramatic, … Continue reading “You still struggle to get an income on safer investments”

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?”

Avoiding a corporate bond liquidity squeeze

Since the global financial crisis in 2008, aging developed-world populations, record low deposit interest rates and quantitative easing by the world’s major central banks have driven a global ‘search for yield’ by investors. For many years, this drove asset yields lower across the risk spectrum. However, since the start of 2018 the investment backdrop has … Continue reading “Avoiding a corporate bond liquidity squeeze”

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 to survive a zombie company apocalypse

Zombie companies do exist but are not staffed by people that behave like extras in the “Walking Dead”. Actually, a zombie company is a technical term for a business which, if it is not yet numbered among the undead, is only earning just enough cash to pay the interest on its borrowings. It does not … Continue reading “How to survive a zombie company apocalypse”

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”