Recognisable Structures in Wolverhampton

Saturday Papers: Barclays chief Jes Staley fined £2m

21/04/2018 06:45:00

And Wells Fargo has been ordered to help regulators identify the victims of its mis-selling scandal after the lender was fined $1 billion.

The Accumulator: oil's rally sparks Trump anger

20/04/2018 16:31:00

Oil has been on a tear, rallying nearly 16% over the last month, sparking an angry response from US president Donald Trump.

Norris shorts Fever-Tree, says shares could halve

20/04/2018 14:06:00

Fund manager Barry Norris bets against mixer drinks maker whose shares have risen more than 16-fold in less than four years.

Pound slumps as Carney casts doubt on May hike

20/04/2018 10:35:00

Pound continues decline as Bank of England governor Mark Carney suggests interest rate rise in May is not a foregone conclusion.

Barclays boss Staley faces fine for whistleblowing scandal

20/04/2018 07:51:00

Regulators have imposed a fine on Barclays boss Jes Staley after concluding a year-long probe into his conduct after he tried to uncover the identity of a whistleblower.

The Expert View: Rio, Marks and Spencer and Debenhams

20/04/2018 05:00:00

Our daily roundup of analyst commentary on shares, also including National Express and CYBG.

John McDonnell: I will not be a 'raving extremist'

19/04/2018 14:48:00

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell has promised he has 'no tricks up my sleeve’ in a speech addressing his relationship with the City.

Monthly Market Outlook February 2018/March 2018

Monthly Market Outlook Article

most noticeable in the US where the big tech stocks have led the bounce back, with the Nasdaq Composite index making an all-time high in the past week. Market volatility was largely absent last year and whilst we remain positive on the prospects for global equity markets, we expect to see more periods of heightened volatility in the year to come.

In the US, it has been a characteristically controversial few weeks for President Trump. At the start of March, he finally followed through on his protectionist rhetoric and announced a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminium. Reaction around the world has been predictably averse and many fear the beginning of a global trade war, which is in nobody's best interest. China may take retaliatory action on US agricultural products but has done nothing so far. As a big buyer of US debt, and at a time when US treasury issuance is growing, it may well prove unwise for the US to antagonise one of the biggest holders. Following disputes on the tariff imposition and other policies, Gary Cohn resigned as head of the National Economic Council and Trump fired Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. To top things off, voters in Pennsylvania elected a Democrat over a Republican candidate in a district that Trump had won comfortably in the 2016 election. This vote was seen by many as a referendum on Trump's presidency and may suggest that the President's popularity amongst his supporters is waning. However, beyond the current White House disarray, the US economy appears robust. Economic survey data is consistent with annual GDP growth of around 4%, corporate earnings are solid and the labour market continues to strengthen. Fiscal spending and tax cuts are adding to the momentum. The only amber light preventing accelerated policy tightening continues to be meagre wage growth. Against this backdrop, new Federal Reserve ("Fed") Chair Jerome Powell has hinted at the possibility of four interest rate hikes in 2018 as opposed to the previously indicated three. A March hike by the central bank is fully priced into markets.

In the UK, Brexit negotiations remain shrouded in uncertainty. Theresa May's Brexit speech at the start of the month was criticised for a lack of detail beyond repeating the five red lines her government will not cross. Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that greater clarity is required from the UK government, especially on the Irish border issue, which continues to stall talks. May's current situation has not been aided by escalating tensions with Putin following the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy living in the UK as part of a spy swap in 2010.

In Europe, the European Central Bank ("ECB") voted unanimously to remove the language indicating that asset purchases could increase in size and/or duration if needed. The change of wording is another small step towards removing the support the ECB has been providing to markets. Germany finally has a government after the longest period of coalition negotiations in their post-war history. Angela Merkel has been sworn in for a fourth term as Chancellor after almost six months without a government, which should provide a relief to markets. The remaining concern lies in Italy, where the election resulted in no party gaining power. The anti-EU Five Star Movement won the highest proportion of the vote and a coalition government will have to be formed. People are now trying to guess what the possible coalitions could be. Recent rhetoric appears to be that a coalition between Five Star and the Eurosceptic League party could be possible, which raises the concerning prospect of two radical groups running the country. We will continue to monitor these events closely and it serves as a timely reminder that the wave of populism is not dead

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News & Blog

Monthly Market Outlook - February 2018/March 2018

most noticeable in the US where the big tech stocks have led the bounce back, with the Nasdaq Composite index making an all-time high in the past...Read More

Spring Statement 2018

We have created a PIA summary and commentary following the Spring Statement from Philip Hammond....Read More