Investment Insights Q4 2019

Trade wars continue to cloud the outlook for businesses and consumers. Closer to home, Brexit uncertainty has gone from bad to worse. Our new Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first few weeks in office have been pretty spectacular.

In our role as global investors we do still see reason for hope. For example, there are many American franchises that have stood the test of time, thanks to superior innovation and management skill. On page 3, we explore the investment opportunities offered by the US tech sector even in the midst of a slowdown, as well as the risks to look out for.

With around $15 trillion in global debt now trading with negative yields, investors are wondering whether it’s worth paying for the privilege of investing in government bonds. Our article on page 5 explores whether we’re again in a ‘cash is king’ mode.

On page 6, we try to demystify an unusual and worrying phenomenon happening in the bond markets — one you will probably have seen in the news, inverted yield curves. We look at what this means and whether recent weakness in the eurozone could lead to a global recession.

As the focus increases on responsible investing, businesses have a huge responsibility — and opportunity — to tackle the challenges that face our society. On page 8, we take a look at how tech companies are finding solutions to issues such as water usage. Tech like this is not only an exciting investment opportunity, but can also help solve today’s pressing issues.

Lastly, on page 9 we discuss how US protectionism is harming global economic growth. Although barriers to free trade bring large, ostensible gains to relatively small industries or segments of the population, our article also explores how they also deliver a small, hard-to-quantify loss for every member of a large and silent majority.

 

I hope you enjoy this edition of Investment Insights.

Julian Chillingworth
Chief Investment Officer

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