Stock markets continue to take an optimistic view of the risks to future earnings, but we remain gently cautious and note that there are plenty of reasons not to be complacent.
The probability of a hard Brexit is very much higher now than it was immediately after the referendum, despite a rumoured eleventh hour softening of May's tone ahead of Wednesday's invocation of Article 50.
The UK’s family businesses are a crucial part of the nation’s economic backbone. They employ nearly 12 million people, contribute £125 billion in taxes and generate a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product. Yet for many, long-term survival boils down to a problem that has little to do with business acumen: how to ensure close relatives get on with each other.
First the EU referendum, then the election of Donald Trump. In 2016, investors were surprised by events that pollsters and other experts said wouldn’t happen, although on both occasions stock markets swiftly recovered before reaching new highs.
The High Pay Centre think tank has dubbed today ‘Fat Cat Wednesday’, having calculated that by lunchtime leading executives will already have earned the average UK salary of £28,200.
Stock markets emerged unscathed from the shock of the EU referendum result and the election of Donald Trump, but will investors be so sanguine in 2017?
Despite widespread calls for fiscal stimulus, the Chancellor confirmed the government will continue with austerity, albeit a little less aggressively.
Few would dispute that a grounding in economics is a vital weapon in any professional investor’s arsenal, but evidence increasingly suggests an understanding of psychology could be just as or even more important. Recent financial events reveal repeated patterns of irrationality, inconsistency and incompetence in human decision-making.
Globalisation is a highly contentious issue with many advocates and detractors. Nonetheless, throughout history, free trade has generally been good for prosperity, whereas periods of protectionism, such as those of the Corn Laws and Great Depression, have not.