magazine archive

magazine archive


What would make the Federal Reserve change tack?

Thursday 08 Nov 2018

Regular readers could be forgiven that this column is obsessed with the issue of liquidity, not least because that is the case. We have already looked at how central banks are draining it away and how issues such as capital controls could mean that investors must never assume that it will always be...

Quality of FTSE 100 earnings improves even as the index struggles

Thursday 01 Nov 2018

As the FTSE 100 remains in the grip of a global bout of ‘risk-off’ sentiment, investors can at least draw some reassurance from how the quantity and quality of UK plc’s earnings seem to be improving. Two weeks ago this column noted how aggregate pre-tax profit forecasts for the FTSE 100 have...

Why liquidity really matters to investors

Thursday 25 Oct 2018

The American poet and critic Dorothy Parker once commented that ‘Love is like quicksilver in the hand. Leave the fingers open and it stays. Clutch it and it darts away’. While hard-nosed investors looking for portfolio returns may not be unduly moved, replace the word ‘love’ with ‘liquidity’ and we...

FTSE 100 earnings estimates on the rise despite correction

Thursday 18 Oct 2018

The FTSE 100 may be under pressure once more, as it fights to hold on to the 7,000 mark, but the good news is that aggregate earnings forecasts for the UK’s benchmark index continue to rise, if only steadily. Pre-tax profit forecasts for 2018 now stand at total of £225.8 billion, some 6% higher...

How Italy could still knock the Eurozone off target

Thursday 11 Oct 2018

The old saying that ‘markets like to climb a wall of worry’ is getting a good work-out this autumn. As if a rising oil price, a strong dollar, tighter monetary policy in the US, emerging market debt crises and the Brexit negotiations were not enough for investors to ponder, you can now add Italy to...

Why US equities seem to be passing the stress test (for now)

Thursday 04 Oct 2018

Last month’s (26 Sept) interest rate increase from the US Federal Reserve was the third this year and the eighth for the upcycle that began in December 2015. The headline Fed Funds rate now stands at 2.25% and the Federal Open Markets Committee seems intent on one more increase this year and three...

Why it is still all quiet on the Western front

Thursday 27 Sep 2018

Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the best-known anti-war novels (and films) as it outlines how German soldiers in France suffered physically and mentally in the trenches (and, ultimately, even once the defeated survivors had returned home). All the troops want is a...

Why investors must keep an eye on the Federal Reserve

Thursday 20 Sep 2018

'The most expensive words in the English language are “this time it’s different”.’ This assertion from investor John Templeton has stood the test of time for a reason, so it is with a shiver that this column sees no less an institution than the US Federal Reserve arguing that the traditional...

Why September is an important month for Japan (if not the world)

Thursday 13 Sep 2018

September is going to be an important month for those investors who have exposure to Japan. First, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) is scheduled to provide its latest monetary policy decision on 19 September. Although Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is publicly still pressing ahead with qualitative and...

What needs to happen for gold to shine again

Thursday 06 Sep 2018

As regular readers will doubtless be painfully aware, this column shares Warren Buffett’s view that the best time to start researching – or even buying – an asset is when no-one else is. Anyone who sympathises with that contrarian take on markets and asset allocation might therefore be thinking...