Is the FTSE 250 overlooked and misunderstood?

It may be the less well known of the FTSE indices but the FTSE 250 is the authoritative measure of UK-quoted mid cap companies. Often referred to as the market’s “second tier” it is the next most established tranche of companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange outside of the FTSE 100. The revenues of … Continue reading “Is the FTSE 250 overlooked and misunderstood?”

How China is positioning for slower growth

The Chinese authorities seem to have acknowledged that lower growth will be inevitable. We look at how they have increased their room for manoeuvre economically and politically. The National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s national legislature, met from 5th to 20th March. This conference traditionally provides the senior leadership group with the opportunity to set policy … Continue reading “How China is positioning for slower growth”

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”

Italian election yields a bitter stalemate

Italy is not usually known for its political stability, so the results of its general election come as no surprise. The bitter and divisive contest yielded no overall winner, but the swing towards populist extremist parties could be a concern. Based on exit polls, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement appears to be the single biggest … Continue reading “Italian election yields a bitter stalemate”

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?”

UK interest rate rises to be earlier and greater than expected

Latest comments from the Bank of England (BoE) and its governor Mark Carney indicate that UK interest rates are likely to go up sooner and faster than previously expected.  UK policymakers’ concerns about inflation have prompted Schroders’ economists to bring forward to November their expectations of a rise in interest rates. Schroders’ Senior European Economist … Continue reading “UK interest rate rises to be earlier and greater than expected”

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?”

UK growth edges higher, but BoE likely to hold

The initial estimate of GDP growth for the final quarter of 2017 showed the economy maintained a sluggish pace of growth of 0.5% quarter-on-quarter. This takes GDP growth for 2017 to 1.8%, which is a fall from 1.9% in 2016, and the lowest annual growth rate since 2012. Slight growth pick-up is encouraging Within the … Continue reading “UK growth edges higher, but BoE likely to hold”

Call of the city – how investors can profit from urbanisation

When we think about urbanisation, we often conjure images of newly constructed skyscrapers in Asia or rapidly-growing cities in South America or Africa. Indeed, the proportion of the world’s population living in towns and cities is forecast to increase from just over half today to two thirds by 2050 (source United Nations). Most of this … Continue reading “Call of the city – how investors can profit from urbanisation”

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?”

UK inflation breaches the BoE’s upper target

Higher food and energy prices have put further pressure on households ahead of the festive period. UK annual consumer price index (CPI) inflation rose to 3.1% in November – its highest rate since March 2012 and, more significantly, breaching the Bank of England’s upper target of 3%. The latest figures were higher than consensus expectations … Continue reading “UK inflation breaches the BoE’s upper target”

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?”

Eurozone: Political risk still simmering

The major political obstacles, which had held back European risk assets, have now been overcome. However, events in Austria, Spain and Italy highlight the ongoing trend towards populist, nationalist and now regionalist sentiment. In Austria, although the far right Freedom Party (FPÖ) was recently defeated in elections for the legislative parliament, it could enter government … Continue reading “Eurozone: Political risk still simmering”

What stockmarket valuations tell us about equities’ next move

The world is, seemingly, in a bull market in everything. Just take a few headlines from this month alone: US stocks, already at all-time highs, hit a sixth consecutive closing high, which is the first time that has happened for 20 years. In debt markets, Ireland issued a bond with a negative yield, which means … Continue reading “What stockmarket valuations tell us about equities’ next move”

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?”