Signs of an Early Spring

From a northern hemisphere perspective, Spring 2021 formally begins on Saturday 20 March however – for both recent weather and economic watchers – February showed some real progress that boosted signs of optimism for the rest of the year.

A first month rarely says everything about a full year

The first month of a new year ended as a disappointment for the average U.K. investor, especially as a contrast to the widespread excitable returns seen in the last two months of 2020. However, the month of January alone rarely gives us every answer and the unique nature of both the U.K. market alone and collectively the entire world has a wide range of potential outcomes.

2021 Outlook

We wish you a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year! These words are even more meaningful given the most deadly and economically crippling ‘Black Swan’ event that we have experienced in the last century—COVID-19. After unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, the record-setting development of multiple effective vaccines has elevated optimism that we will experience the ‘thrill of victory’ over this nemesis in the upcoming year.

The curtain falls on a tumultuous year

The curtain is slowly coming down on 2020. Not before time! After what has been a tumultuous period for most, and a tragedy for many, the time to turn the page and move on is slowly arriving. Centre stage, the principal actors are going through their closing lines. Following the US elections, the leading actor refuses to go quietly into the night. Legal actions lie strewn about like discarded party poppers…

Optimism can be contagious too

After a rough, tough performance month in the pan-European equity markets, the instinct is always to look away from the detailed data and conclude in a world of tightening pandemic restrictions and an imminent (and hotly contested) American presidential election, that uncertainty must induce investment caution.

TRADE, DISPUTES AND NOVEMBER’S ELECTION

This October marks 80 years since the opening of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, America’s first highway. Highways have been a critical driver of economic growth due to the connectivity, speed, and efficiency they provide. As Confucius so appropriately stated, “roads were made for journeys, not destinations.”

Feeling Lucky

The traditional early September think piece centres on the natural reset that a generalised return to work (and for the younger generation, school) brings after the typically languid summer holiday period. As 2020 is clearly a very different style of year, let us rip up the normal script and ask the simpler question of ‘does the world feel lucky?’

A different summer pause

Financial markets are always a three-dimensional jigsaw, with new pieces being added and deleted at whim every business day. But the signals from the last month have been especially difficult to discern. In contrast to the bounce back second quarter, July was a negative month for pan-European markets with the U.K. continuing to lag.

Market madness – Be selective, advises Paul Gavaghan of Raymond James

Whilst there are still pockets of great opportunity across the globe, the past few weeks have also seen crazy price rises of some stocks as investors have rushed to join the herds buying certain technology stocks indiscriminately. Given the backdrop of a Western World with low interest rates and a pandemic that is highly disrupting many sectors, the relatively less affected technology sector is an attractive place to park money. It seems many investors taken this view but have forgotten the importance of valuations. The herd buying has pushed prices up which then reaffirms investors reasoning so they buy more again and so on which spirals share prices upwards.

Which way next for markets?

After global markets stumbled to their worst quarter since 1987 in Q1, we have now seen a meaningful bounce in many equity markets from March lows and there are now good arguments for both sides which way they will turn next.