It’s been brutal week so far for stock markets – and we are, of course, only part-way through it - as fears about the spread of the COVID-19 virus across the globe have sparked panic. The S&P 500 index of leading US shares was down by circa 6.3% so far this week at Tuesday night’s close and the UK’s FTSE 100 is also off by more than 6%, dipping below the 7,000 support level.
Not only do we have a new prime minister in Boris Johnson but, after a brutal overhaul of the Cabinet, a new government that is very different to the last one.
A picture is emerging of a government steadfastly committed to taking the UK out of the EU by the 31 October – deal or no deal – and resolved to putting prudence and deficit reduction on hold, and loosening the fiscal purse strings instead, with big pledges made on spending.
This week, in India, which is home to more than 18% of the global population, polls will open for its 2019 general election.
There are many different approaches that can be taken to investing in equity markets and the truth is that these will work well, or less well, over particular periods of time depending on the prevailing market environment. Sadly, there is no panacea to investing that will always be ahead of the game.
With the end of the 2018-19 tax year approaching, time is running out for people to make the most of the various tax allowances available to them before midnight on 5 April.
One of the biggest conundrums savers face is whether to prioritise Isas or pensions as a home for their long-term investments.
What a week it has been for drama in UK politics with the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement rejected again and Parliament voting to rule out the possibility of leaving the European Union without a deal.
Political uncertainties have undoubtedly had a corrosive effect on investor sentiment, a fact borne out by a very prolonged pattern of net outflows from both UK and European equity funds.
One of the key driving forces behind the strong relative performance of the US equity market in recent years has been US-listed companies buying their own shares.
In most areas of economic activity, people can’t resist a bargain and Black Friday has become an important day for retailers and a chance for the public to scoop up some deals before Christmas. One area that often seems impervious to the allure of steep price cuts is the world of investments. In fact, investors often do the opposite of what they do when confronted with a discount on the cost of a new coat or television.
Besides bringing forward the schedule for increases in both the personal allowance and the threshold for higher-rate tax by a year, as well as the extension of stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in qualifying shared ownership properties, from a personal finance perspective, yesterday’s Budget statement from chancellor Philip Hammond was about as exciting as watching paint dry.
Last night, the US president announced that tariffs will be implemented on Chinese imports totalling approximately $200 billion (£152 billion) from next week (24 September).