2019 Outlook

If you had to sum up why world, ex-US, financial markets typically underperformed during 2018 then economic growth, currency movements, and trade talk uncertainties would be the three most influential headwinds. Simply put, U.S. economic growth surprised on the upside whilst other major economies did not, the dollar appreciated against most other currencies, and concerns about essential future trading relations impacted the more export-focused European and emerging markets last year. In order for international markets to gain momentum over the U.S. in 2019, these concerns need to be quelled.

It is good to talk

I realise the title above sounds a little like a famous advert from the 1990s (other telecoms operators are available) but, at least during the last month, the world’s political and economic leaders have continued to talk. And talking is just what they need to do. Of course making a few decisions is even better… so thank goodness the season of perpetual hope is almost upon us. More on the global financial markets Christmas presents wish list later.

Budget Newsletter

A Budget in October is unusual, but there are two main reasons why the Chancellor’s performance marginally pre-empted Halloween this year. The first is that we are now in the new cycle of Autumn Budgets and Spring Statements, the première of the latter having been made on 13 March.

Hot, hot, hot!!!

Despite the usual weather downers such as the tennis at Wimbledon or the start of the school holidays, July was a warm month pretty much anywhere you looked in the northern hemisphere. Global stock markets were hot too, led by the out-of-favour emerging markets and Continental Europe. Funny how all throughout June and July the aggregate investment flow data was profoundly negative for both regions…

Decisions, decisions

I thought I would use Billy Connolly’s witticism about his homeland to highlight the essential debate in financial markets at the moment. During the last month, the UK’s most-quoted stock market index – helped by a rising oil price boosting energy sector shares – reached an all-time high.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes?

So how was February for you? For many it would have been a bit of a shock with the global indices in aggregate posting their first monthly loss since the autumn of 2016, which is a long time ago. The real question however is whether this heralds a new downward trend, whether this is just a new volatility reality or whether we should view this as a buying opportunity?