The threat of higher inflation and rising interest rates spooked global stock markets in February and pushed up government bond yields. We expect the trend of rising yields to persist and be a dominant investment theme over the coming year, with implications for equities.
The number of initial public offerings (IPOs) for property investment companies skyrocketed in 2017 as investors continued to clamour for steady sources of decent income.
Investor sentiment had been extremely optimistic in recent months and markets overbought, but that is no longer the case.
Investors today are paying a relatively high price for domestically focused UK companies compared with their multinational peers, which seems counter-intuitive given Brexit uncertainty. For investors, this divergence is creating both opportunities and challenges, which are the focus of our lead article “Digging below the surface of UK indices".
With all the major regions of the global economy growing in synch, investors are shrugging off political uncertainty. Equities have been buoyant, particularly in the US technology sector, where rising valuations are the focus of our lead article “Great tech-spectations”.
Indicators point to a peak in the pace of global expansion, but we still prefer equities to bonds.
The world is experiencing a period of rising inflation. A rebound in oil prices has helped after dragging down UK consumer price inflation into negative territory briefly in the second half of 2015. Improving wage rates in China, which in the past had been an exporter of global disinflation, have also contributed.
Early last year, investors were preoccupied with fears about the pace of China's economic slowdown and the threat of deflation. Just 12 months later, and almost 10 years since the start of the financial crisis, a global economic upturn appears to be under way across the US, Europe, Asia and most large developing countries.