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As central banks around the world were busy reasserting their authority and credibility as the guardians of monetary stability, the previous week’s stock market wobble turned into a fully-fledged rout last week. The growth concerns that preoccupied investors morphed into fears that central banks have become so determined to stop inflation from embedding itself that they are prepared to accept that proceeding with monetary tightening countermeasures may indeed lead to a global recession.
After the resurging positive sentiment of past weeks, markets were this week once again showing signs of fragility – the mood was decidely ‘risk off’. We could characterise this as growth scepticism, or more wariness that inflation will require even stronger and swifter central bank policy tightening before it is effectively squeezed out. Last week’s move towards monetary tightening from the European Central Bank (ECB) – even though long anticipated – provided the necessary headlines.
With wealth for millennials set to double in the next 20 years, it’s time to get over the awkwardness and have the conversation now. One of the main reasons why people don’t discuss their inheritance wishes is that they assume estate planning is not for them. That it is only necessary if you are very wealthy.
Party stalls and libations were in full flow for the Platinum Jubilee. But no fairground is complete without some thrilling rides. Over the last month, capital markets chipped in with a rollercoaster of their own: equity indices jumped in the first few days of May, only to sink frighteningly low mid-month. At times it felt like markets were in meltdown, with investors buffeted by fierce global economic headwinds.
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It has been another rocky ride week for capital markets, with inflation talk increasingly turning into chatter of an ‘inevitable’ recession, prompting the most recent cohort of DIY retail investors to throw in the towel. However, the thin trading volumes, plus the fact there’s no clear directional trend within stock markets, tells us institutional investors are staying put.
The word ‘inflation’ had barely featured in the market’s vocabulary in the last three decades until it suddenly started to come back with a vengeance in 2021. As higher inflation looks set to persist in 2022, finding ways to generate a return on investments greater than inflation will be a key investment theme – otherwise your wealth falls in real terms.
Welcome to the first Vizion Wealth Discretionary Portfolio Management Service Update. We appreciate the last 5 months has been an extremely turbulent time for the investment markets with high inflation and increasing interest rates which when combined with major global events such as a Ukrainian invasion and further lockdown issues in China has dampened risk appetite. As part of our decision making process in managing your investments, the Vizion Wealth Investment Committee consider the natural cycle of the markets, the current economic environment and projections of various economic variables to help formulate our portfolios.
To some investors it will seem the old investor adage of ‘Sell in May and go away’ has once again proven correct, especially when the US S&P500 fell within touching distance of that bear market threshold of -20% last week. However, what makes this particular market correction different to others experienced since the pandemic is that it has disproportionally affected those risk assets considered safe havens when economic growth prospects faltered – namely US tech mega caps and other tech names quoted on the NASDAQ.
The last week of April was like being on a roller coaster. We had rather hoped that the ride was almost over, but in fact it’s only been getting wilder. For the past five weeks, the asset markets have been displaying greater volatility. These charts area way of demonstrating the phenomena we term asset market “noise and loudness.”
Equity markets have been range-bound through the past few weeks, but it does not feel like it. Volatility is at its highest since the nasty period in March 2020, which always raises our perceptions of potential downside. But the volatility is not too surprising given the overall mix of news and economic data updates.
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Surprisingly positive corporate sentiment data across Europe last week indicated that consumer demand may not be as significantly impacted by the war in Ukraine as markets had been pricing in. On the other hand, there are signs in the US and the UK that consumers are feeling rather more pressure on their household budgets from rising energy and housing prices than anticipated.
The annual rate of inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) was reported at 7% in the UK, 8.5% in the US and even Germany recorded 7.3%. These are heights not seen for 40 years and were unsurprisingly front and centre of this week’s news flow. While equity market investments have historically demonstrated their inflation-hedging characteristics, the fact that investors appeared to shrug off these new peaks may well point to the belief that this is about as high as inflation is likely to get.
The question, ‘Have I saved enough to retire?’ is a dicult one. It requires a lot of information about you, your family, your income needs in retirement, and an understanding of the various financial vehicles available for saving and investing before it can be answered definitively.
In aggregate, global markets have managed a decent enough bounce since the onset of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Indeed, the awfulness of the news from the area has ceased to impact markets greatly. We have returned to worrying about the resurgence of COVID-19 in China, along with its impacts on the global supply chain and on overall global growth, and worrying about the US Federal Reserve (Fed) and its plans for tightening US monetary policy.
While UK consumers braced themselves for a surge in their cost of living – as the UK’s energy price cap resets and rises a staggering 54% – investors experienced a quieter week, which once again saw gains in equity markets, while bond market valuations suffered from rising yields.
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