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.
The trade war between the world’s two largest economies has been transformed from threats into reality, as president Trump’s administration officially imposes tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products.
Innovative Finance Isas (IF Isas) were launched in April 2016, providing investors with a halfway house between the low-risk, minimal return cash Isa arena and the stock market risk of stocks and shares Isas – but they got off to a slow start. So what sort of choice is now available, and what risks and attractions are attached to these products?
Average dividend cover – a measure of how sustainable dividends are – has doubled since this time last year among the FTSE 350 companies, according to research by The Share Centre.
Dividend cover is the ratio produced by dividing profit after tax by the total dividends paid out to shareholders. A higher ratio suggests the company has the cash to sustain dividends more comfortably and affordably.