Investors seem to be flitting between fear and optimism in an increasingly erratic manner. Hopes for a soft-touch Federal Reserve seem to be driving most of the optimism, notes chief investment officer Julian Chillingworth.
It can be difficult to get perspective in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. Daily setbacks and victories can appear overwhelming when they happen, but when looked at in the fullness of time they can turn out to be miniscule.
It’s that time in the ebb and flow of global commerce that investors cast around for the next big threat to the economy, the unforeseen wave that will upend everything.
Copper is all around us: in our houses, our cars, our hairdryers and it’s even one of the most intensively used raw materials in the green energy revolution. Its wide use in everyday products should make copper prices a good indicator of economic health. But there are other factors at play, and we found that the price of copper seems to respond to economic growth with a six-month delay. Perhaps we shouldn’t rely too heavily on Dr Copper’s reputation for giving us an early diagnosis.
US nonfarm payrolls smashed expectations once again, posting 304,000 new jobs in January instead of the 165,000 forecast. Last month’s number was revised down from exceptionally high to very high. The ISM manufacturing survey rose to 56.6, higher than expected, showing that US producers are busy and confident. Consumer sentiment was soggier, however, dropping to the weakest level of Donald Trump’s presidency. It was likely dragged down by the record 35-day government shutdown, yet it held up significantly better than economists had expected.
Traditional defensives have kept pace with economically sensitive sectors through the long and fitful post-crisis recovery. Some ‘defensives’ are decidedly expensive, and investors may need to broaden their search for safe havens.
As we reach nine consecutive years of global economic growth, investors are not planning celebrations.
Every time Theresa May gets trounced in Parliament, delays a vote or a member of her Cabinet lets slip that she won’t really force a no-deal exit from the EU, sterling shoots upward.
Markets have stabilised after the ‘Santa slump’ experienced into the year end, helped by comments from US Federal Reserve (Fed) officials suggesting they are moving towards more dovish market expectations.