Markets started 2020 in much the same way that they ended 2019, with investors buoyed by the expectation of ultra loose monetary policy for a long time ahead, diminished risks from trade wars and Brexit, and the prospect of a recovery from 2019’s growth slowdown as manufacturing showed signs of recovering from the slump of the past 18 months. The sharp escalation in the US-Iran feud in early January led to a surge in gold and oil prices but fears of a more widespread and deeper escalation of hostilities quickly dissipated. By mid month global equities had added 2.5% to the strong returns of 2019.
The dangers of DIY
by Andrew Hardy, CFA
Thanks to our global client base we have the opportunity to meet advisers and institutional investors with a very varied mix of underlying client types. Some live in countries that have a very well-established investment culture and others are more nascent. Regardless of which environment our end users are used to, the allure of investing on your own, without professional help, is always present.
- Coronavirus concerns dominated sentiment again, with markets falling strongly today
- Markets turn increasingly risk-off in light of global data releases
- Brent crude rose 2.1% ending the week at $58.5 a barrel
- Gold rose 3.7% ending the week at $1643.4 an ounce
Who cares wins
by Andrew Hardy, CFA
Nobody could have missed the global awakening to the debate on climate change over the past year. The greater frequency of extreme events – fires, storms, flooding – as well as the increased visibility of movements like Extinction Rebellion have been key driving forces behind this, although the heightened attention is long overdue. Within the investments industry this has translated into a marked increase in demand for strategies that focus on sustainability; an inexorable trend that the whole industry needs to adjust for.
- Most equity bourses ended the week in positive territory
- Coronavirus concerns dominated sentiment again, but containment confidence grew
- Brent crude rose 5.2% ending the week at $57.2 a barrel
- Gold rose 0.9% ending the week at $1583.7 an ounce
Opportunities to leapfrog in Emerging Markets
by David Lashbrook, CFA
Having personally experienced how the mobile telephone has transformed communications and enabled business in Africa, I wonder if the combination of poor existing infrastructure and technological advancement could transform the retail sector in emerging markets. Just as Kenya-based Safaricom has led the world in mobile money transfers, I wonder if there is an opportunity for Africa to pioneer retail delivery via drone.
- The Coronavirus continues to occupy major news headlines and investor sentiment
- The US impeachment saga ended on Wednesday as the Senate voted to acquit President Trump
- Brent crude fell 6.3% ending the week at $54.5 a barrel
- Gold fell 1.2% ending the week at $1570.4 an ounce
Unknown unknowns: the coronavirus
by Michael Clough
When we talk about risks to our investment outlook, we always warn of the threat of ‘unknown unknowns’, events that come seemingly out of nowhere that can’t be predicted or planned for. All we know is at some point they will arise. As all readers will be aware, two have already arisen in the early stages of 2020, firstly with the tragic incident in Iran when a civilian plane was shot down and secondly with the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China. Understandably, we have received numerous queries from clients, notably on the latter, and this Global Matters Weekly seeks to clarify our current stance on recent events.
- The UK departed from the European Union on Friday, after more than 47 years of membership
- Global markets continued to fall as the coronavirus concerns dominated sentiment
- Brent crude fell 4.2% ending the week at $58.2 a barrel
- Gold rose 1.1% ending the week at $1589.2 an ounce