Witnessing a former great fall from grace is never pleasant viewing. When it is an ex-bond market darling, and you are watching its credit rating fall away from top-notch AAA to the opposite end of the investment-grade scale, it makes very painful viewing for bondholders. This has been the fate of General Electric (GE), the largest company by market capitalisation earlier this century, and its bondholders in 2018.
Concerns about a worldwide slowdown in growth have made for a rotten time in markets over the past six weeks or so.
Global stock markets have been unsettled by political and economic uncertainty recently, and swung significantly between gains and losses in the final weeks of 2018. President Trump’s criticism of the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate rise added to concerns that US consumer demand may be cooling. Meanwhile, trade tensions between America and China continue despite a temporary truce.
Empires rise and fall, and so do companies. As America’s biggest technology businesses continue to reach astonishing new heights, what threats must they guard against?
Polls suggest that a majority of the British public would like to see rail, energy and water services renationalised. We look at the history of nationalisation in the UK and consider what a return to state control would entail and whether it is genuinely viable.
With the Brexit decision tree we shared earlier this year we aimed to make sense of what at times has seemed a senseless situation. There are still many unknowns, but with new information starting to shine through in the last month, we are now publishing an update.
A week that started with such optimism ended in disappointment as trade-war and US slowdown fears cast their shadow, Scrooge-like, over investors’ hopes for a year end “Santa rally”.
Fed Chair Jay Powell’s more dovish comments helped recover investor sentiment at the start of the week. But the sceptics remained convinced that the trade truce reached at last weekend’s G-20 summit was just a quick fix, which may lead to heightened strains between the countries further down the line.