Back in August, government bond yields around the world were falling, as investors worried about geopolitical uncertainty. In October, markets were rising once again, including the American S&P 500 index and Germany’s Dax index. Closer to home, uncertainty around Brexit has loomed large, but some of our fund managers have been turning to the UK in anticipation of a potential recovery in domestic stocks.
The markets sighed with relief when the G20 summit in Japan brought truce between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping. But then in early August Trump announced tariffs on $300 million of Chinese imports at 10%, validating our managers’ more cautious approach.
It has been a case of so far so good for investors, as stockmarkets in both the developed and emerging world have enjoyed a strong start to the year. One of the main highlights has been the performance of the S&P 500 index, which notched up its best quarterly performance since 1998, driven once again by technology stocks, with the so-called Faangs returning to form.
The final quarter of 2018 was a painful one for global markets. It saw the end of strong US outperformance and the low-volatility environment investors had enjoyed during previous years. As we move through 2019, elevated volatility is likely to continue.
Over the past two years, investors have piled into global funds and trusts, many of which were focused on US technology growth stocks. However, the bull market now appears to be over – with market volatility having continued since October’s correction – so now is a good time to consider how likely the highest-profile and most-bought funds and trusts are to continue doing well.
More than 10 years after the 2007 financial crisis, the world seems riven with uncertainty once again. There is a fresh announcement every day on the trade war between the US and China or on the stumbling Brexit negotiations between the UK and Europe.
These days, we live longer and healthier lives, and this has fundamentally changed the nature of retirement. By 2040 nearly one in four people in the UK will be aged over 65, and an increasing number of people are likely to live to over a hundred years old.
A row of solar panels may still be the image that pops into most people’s minds when they think of sustainable investing. But the socially responsible investment sector is in fact much broader, and it is steadily becoming more mainstream. Two thirds of investors would like their money to support companies that are profitable but also make a positive contribution to society and the environment, according to Triodos Bank.
There are many things we half-expect to lose – umbrellas, sunglasses and socks may immediately come to mind – but we don’t typically anticipate losing pension pots from previous jobs. However, insurer Aegon recently estimated that more than seven million people have misplaced one or more of their pension accounts. Similarly, wealth manager Tilney found that one in five people admit to having lost a pension, often because they failed to notify pension providers when they changed address.
The first ‘M’ in the checklist that Neil Hermon, manager of Henderson Smaller Companies trust (HSC), uses to select shares refers to a company’s business model, which encapsulates its pricing power and competitive advantage. The second ‘M’ relates to its management.