Jim Levi

The big fear keeping investors awake

Fears of recession are rising steadily in the investment community. Fortunately, central bankers are not sitting on their hands waiting for recession to happen: since the beginning of the year they have collectively transformed the outlook for interest rates. Equity markets have responded with double-digit gains since the low point just before Christmas last year.

Where are our five experts bargain-hunting in the first quarter of 2019?

A year ago in this column, Keith Wade, chief economist at Schroders, issued a stark warning to investors. He said: “Very few people think the markets will be as good in 2018 as they were 2017.” That proved quite an understatement. The FTSE All World index, which covers shares in 50 markets, ended 2017 up 22% – its biggest rise since the financial crash. However, a year later it had lost almost all of those gains, mostly in the final febrile months of 2018.

A strong dollar and escalating trade war risks derailing US economy

The strength of the dollar coupled with presi­dent Donald Trump’s sabre-rattling soap opera on trade war has put our panel of asset allocators more on the defensive. The global growth num­bers remain too strong to persuade any of them to call an end to the long bull market in equities. But cash levels in their portfolios are rising, and the average score for global bonds (mostly US Treasury bonds) has edged higher.