A noticeable winter chill is in the air this week. The threat of fresh lockdown measures has become reality, with renewed restrictions coming into force not just in the UK, but across most of continental Europe as well. But unfortunately, the UK – once again – is faring particularly badly in virus terms.
If you’re going through a divorce, dividing up any pensions you have will usually be one of the largest financial decisions you need to make. Agreeing financial arrangements in your divorce can seem daunting; there are so many misconceptions and myths as to what each party is entitled to that it gets confusing.
It may be the hundredth time saying this, but despite the all-dominating focus on COVID, it is now also Brexit crunch time, given the UK government rejected the offer of a further extension when the lockdown ‘sabotaged’ the already tight negotiation schedule.
Against all expectations, and despite considerable intramonth volatility, September turned out to be decidedly dull for investors. After a five-month rally had left global stock indices around or above their pre-pandemic highs, the turn of Autumn sent a chill through capital markets.
As more COVID guidelines come into place, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to organise group activities, make plans with family and friends, and enjoy any type of social events. Our Vizion Wealth team building outing of clay pigeon shooting has unfortunately been postponed due to the rule of six prohibiting all the staff from getting together.
September continues to bite equity markets. Stocks everywhere wobbled again this week and even though they bounced back, the S&P500 is down around 8% in US Dollar terms for the month. UK investors might notice less of a fall, with global equities down just 1% in sterling terms. This is partly due to the fall in sterling itself, with the pound suffering yet again from adverse Brexit news.
Stock markets have stabilised and started trading sideways, in a sign of healthy consolidation following their extraordinary recovery rally since late March. Notably, the darlings of the recovery, namely US large cap tech and growth stocks, are no longer the leaders. This bodes well for a gradual sentiment shift among investors.
Perhaps the most common investment advice is to stay invested. But with markets being so volatile, the ease of sticking to that advice has been sorely tested in 2020. Even though we’ve seen global markets bounce sharply from their March lows, understandably there will still be those investing for retirement who remain worried and wonder what the best approach is for the remainder of the year and beyond.
September has ended what now feels like a ‘goldilocks’ summer for investors, and political, societal and capital market frictions have returned to the stage with a bang. However, the fact that stock markets have not simply plunged on bad news, but have instead remained surprisingly stable, is a good indication that economic and market dynamics are not quite as simple as they may appear.
Markets’ summer holidays are over. Throughout August, risk assets made some impressive gains, while the global economy remained in its deepest ever recession. After equities were then catapulted to eye-watering valuation levels, the end of this week saw a sharp reversal. On Thursday, the US’ S&P 500 – which soared past its pre-pandemic highs in August’s rally – saw its biggest sell-off since June.
Whether you have earned your wealth, inherited it or made shrewd investments, you will want to ensure that as little of it as possible ends up in the hands of the taxman and that it can be enjoyed by you, your family and your intended beneficiaries.
In a week where Donald Trump kicked off his re-election campaign in earnest, global investors showed it is indeed “America first”. US equities continue to push at all-time highs, having recovered everything lost in March’s frantic sell-off – and then some.
Capital markets were mostly steady – if a bit on edge – this week, as they have been for most of August. At least the US maintained positivity, although the extent of gains were not spectacular. Even so, both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indices surpassed their February peaks in midweek trading, leaving the stock market nosedive of March a distant memory.
The pleasures, and then increasing discomfort, of the UK’s unusually broiling August weather offered a welcome distraction from the seemingly never ending COVID news flow of gloominess. As the heatwave came to an end with a thunderous bang, so too did many of the UK’s summer freedoms.
We can’t foresee what is waiting around the corner, but we can ensure that we’re financially prepared to protect what are the most important things in life should the worst happen. This means protecting what matters most, whether it’s our family, our income, our mortgage or our health, should the unexpected happen.
At the other end of the scale, poor returns from Japanese and UK equities confirms the trend of investors preferring long-term growth prospects of the ‘new economy’, versus short term earnings stability or recovery potential (value) of the ‘old economy’. This has much to do with the fact that the yield investors could safely earn...
As July ends with stifling temperatures, thoughts can turn to the month ahead. August capital markets can be either quiet or decidedly choppy. As investors go on their summer holidays, daily trade volumes decline and liquidity drops out of the market – meaning even small buying or selling pressures can have outsized effects. Of course, this year we doubt many traders will be planning an August trip to Spain...
Earlier in the week, Europe’s top politicians slogged through marathon negotiations to reach a historic deal on a €750bn common budget designed to spur recovery from the deepest recession since World War Two. We cover this in more detail separately below, but suffice to say that investors took it well, with the Euro gaining on other global currencies.
Once a niche approach thought to come at the expense of returns, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies have proven that they can be market-beating. If you’re someone who wants to make a positive difference, you might be interested to know how you, your money and the things you care about could all benefit from sustainable investing.