Economies & markets
Our Chief Investment Office and experts share insights into our house view and macro trends.
At the start of this year we predicted 2018 to be bumpier than 2017, (which could scarcely have been smoother, with volatility measures at all-time lows during the year), and so it is proving. However, we also thought that the investment climate would still be favourable for risk assets like shares (or equities/stocks). We based this view on robust economic growth across the globe, a boost to earnings from US tax reform, rising corporate profits and the continuing gift from central banks of decent liquidity, even with quantitative tightening from the Federal Reserve, and very low, albeit slightly rising interest rates.
Bitcoin is the world’s most popular digital currency. Having drawn millions of investors across the world, its value rocketed to nearly US$20,000 at the end of 2017, although its value has since dropped dramatically to c.$7,000 (at the time of writing). So what is our view on bitcoin and is it a valid investment? Read more.
There has been a significant growth and interest in investing on a responsible basis and the area is continually evolving. However, for investors, traditional ‘ethical’ investment solutions have tended to leave a limited choice of companies to invest in, compromising diversification and therefore investment risk/returns. ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing allows investors to take a proactive approach to investing responsibly but not at the expense of their risk/returns.
Against this backdrop, Michel Perera, Chief Investment Officer provides an update.
Very little has fundamentally changed since the beginning of the year yet the markets are behaving as if we have moved to a different phase in the economic cycle. The reasons are simple: a potential trade war and concerns that we are nearing the end of one of the longest bull markets on record. These are both hampering confidence and the recent technical market correction (market fall) has spawned some fundamental worries.
In our recent articles we have flagged a potential increase in volatility this year as the inevitable ‘price to be paid’ for continued growth in equity markets. It was a matter of when not if. The question is whether the current correction is the beginning of something more sinister - leading to a bear market - or simply reminiscent of 2013’s ‘taper tantrum’.
As equity indices rose during most of 2017, it was clear where market leadership lay. The technology giants like Amazon (up 57% over the year), Apple (up 48%), Facebook (up 53%) and Google/ Alphabet (up 33%) soared, along with their Chinese counterparts Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba (up 42%, 96% and 115% respectively). In this article, we explain why the so-called ’growth’ areas of the market have performed so well.
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IMPORTANT: Investment involves risk. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.