Last October, my colleague Tom Dobell wrote about the absurdity of how companies are forced to treat their long-term pension liabilities.
After another couple of reporting periods characterised by falling discount rates, I wanted to lay out in a slightly more mathematical fashion why I think Tom… Read the article
In this month’s update Ritu Vohora, Investment Director looks at what is driving the momentum in… Watch the video
Like the ghost in Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol,” recent price action in Japanese equity markets has been an unwelcome echo of the past. Outperformance of stocks with more stable earnings streams has resembled the market dynamics that provided a headwind to value investors in the decade after the financial… Read the article
Is the era of cheap money coming to an end? In this month’s update Ritu Vohora, Investment Director, reviews central banks increasingly hawkish… Watch the video
Scary stats abound around the ageing population and many column inches have been dedicated to the burden this will place on the health service and the pension system. But older workers could prove to be the saviour of the workforce.
Andy Briggs, the government’s business champion for older workers, said… Read the article
Are political surprises and uncertainty now the new normal? It could appear that way after yesterday’s general election resulted in a hung parliament after the ‘dead cert’ Conservative majority predicted just seven weeks ago. The Conservatives have emerged as the largest party and are seeking to form a minority government… Read the article
Global Q1 2017 earnings delivery was the best quarter in over six years. In this month’s update Ritu Vohora, Investment Director, reviews the earnings outlook for the rest of the… Read the article
As expected, and as promised during his campaign, US president Donald Trump yesterday announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, the 2015 agreement setting greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets for individual countries. One of the major achievements of the agreement was the near universality of… Read the article
As the General Election approaches, politicians on all sides will no doubt claim to be the best custodians of the UK economy. Brexit might be front of mind for many voters, but economic competence has always been a key vote winner – and loser. So for investors, what can history… Read the article
The election of Moon Jae-in as Korea’s new president is, we think, good news for shareholders in Korean companies, as we expect President Moon to drive further improvements in corporate governance standards leading to better returns for shareholders and ultimately higher share prices.
For… Read the article
The active-versus-passive debate is once again back in the limelight with the news this week of low-cost passive provider Vanguard’s launch of new website for personal investors. This simply adds fuel to the flames: figures from EPFR suggest that in the past 12 months, passive equity funds have… Read the article
For centuries, the parable of “The Blind Men and the Elephant”* has been used to illustrate how overemphasising a specific part of a complex situation can lead to the wrong conclusion, even if that part is indeed both real and important.
The same is true in the world… Read the article
M&A activity has begun 2017 on a positive note after falling in 2016. In this month’s update Ritu Vohora, Investment Director, considers whether the current level of activity is… Read the article
The UK stockmarket as a whole has performed very well over the last twelve months, despite the obvious disruption from the Brexit vote last June. A glance at the various indices shows that investors have paid particular attention to smaller companies – indeed it seems that the mantra has been… Read the article
Markets have reacted positively to Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen going forward to the second round of the French presidential election on 7 May. Polls on the second round now show establishment figure, Macron, ahead of Le Pen by more than 10 percentage points. There’s an overwhelming likelihood of… Read the article
Stock exchanges have been at the forefront in the news recently not least following the recent failure of the proposed merger between the London Stock Exchange and Germany’s Deutsche Bourse. As in other areas of finance there is increasing focus on the need for greater transparency for investors… Read the article
Politics is important, but no-one knows what the outcome of the Brexit negotiations will be. In this month’s update Ritu Vohora, Investment Director, looks at what the facts are currently telling us about the UK economy and… Read the article
Fund managers naturally consider a range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in their investment decisions – much like they have always taken non-financial factors such as corporate culture, geopolitics and regulation into account when considering investments. So ESG is not a new concept… but in recent years it… Read the article
What do Google and Facebook have in common with the recently listed Snap? Lofty valuations? Check. Internet companies? Of course. But perhaps less well known is their apparent apathy towards minority shareholders. Snap has the dubious honour of being the first ever US company to IPO shares that… Read the article
Global equities continued to rally in February driven by an improvement in both economic data and earnings expectations. In this month’s update, Ritu Vohora, Investment Director, looks at the prospect for earnings growth in… Watch the video
While 8 November 2016 will be mostly remembered for the surprise election of Donald Trump as US president, another momentous event was taking place in India at the same time. Narenda Modi, the country’s prime minister, announced the withdrawal of every Rs500 ($7.5) and Rs1000 ($15) banknote nationwide… Read the article
You’d have got good odds on a horse positively influencing South Korean corporate governance, something that now appears increasingly likely.
You may have read about the scandal under which a number of South Korea’s family-dominated conglomerates (‘chaebols’) are alleged to have made material contributions to Choi Soon-sil, a close friend… Read the article
Global equities started 2017 in a buoyant mood and in this month’s update, Ritu Vohora Investment Director, looks at sustainability of the equities rally. Is this just the result of the so-called ‘Trump boost’ or do the fundamentals suggest a different… Watch the video
When I blogged on this topic in February last year, I sounded a note of caution that 2016 was unlikely to be plain sailing for income investors. In the event, despite an uncertain start, income-seeking investors experienced another good year. Companies paid out £84.8 billion in ordinary dividends,… Read the article
A few months ago my colleague, Sam Ford, explored the magic of compounding in his excellent blog: The Greatest Shortcoming of the Human Race. In this post, I’d like to flip his ‘Power of Compounding’ on its head and explore ‘The Dangers of Discounting’.
The most conventional approach… Read the article
Stock correlations are now at their lowest level since the GFC in 2008, prompting a seismic change in the investor landscape and a more favourable, less constrained market backdrop for stock pickers. Until last year, there were long periods of high correlation – challenging for both active managers and anyone… Read the article
In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, UK interest rates and bond yields fell to their lowest levels since records began in 1694! This was mirrored by global yields and appeared to trigger a sea-change in monetary policy guidance and inflation expectations. Is this the end of the 35-year ‘bond… Read the article
Whether it’s Brexit, Trump, OPEC or the celebrity death-toll, it feels like we have lurched from one drama to the next in 2016. Stock markets have taken all this excitement and chosen to run with it – the FTSE 100, for example, looks set to end the year close to… Read the article
Amid all the hysteria about the potential headwinds that the election of Donald Trump as US president will create for emerging markets, I remain resolutely optimistic about their prospects. Up to the election on 8 November, emerging markets had undergone a remarkable recovery from a low point in January –… Read the article
Thanks to all of you who took part in the Equities Forum ‘Twelve Charts of Christmas’ Quiz.
The top prize for correctly guessing what all twelve charts showed goes to Sam Corbet of Ravenscroft, Guernsey. A Cross Bailey Black Lacquer Fountain Pen will soon be on its way to you.… Read the article
We are publishing three charts from 2016 every day from Monday to Thursday this week with the legends and other key information missing. Each chart comes with a clue to help you identify what is being shown.
The closing date for entries is midday on Friday 16th December.
Please email… Read the article
Here is day 3 of the Equities Forum’s first ‘Twelve Charts of Christmas’ Quiz.
We are publishing three charts from 2016 every day from Monday to Thursday this week with the legends and other key information missing. Each chart comes with a clue to help you identify what is being… Read the article
Here is day 2 of the Equities Forum’s first ‘Twelve Charts of Christmas’ Quiz.
We are publishing three charts from 2016 every day from Monday to Thursday this week with the legends and other key information missing. Each chart comes with a clue to help you identify what is being… Read the article
Here is the Equities Forum’s first ‘Twelve Charts of Christmas’ Quiz. We’ll be publishing three charts from 2016 each day between now and Thursday with the legends and other key information missing. Each chart comes with a clue or a multiple choice answer to help you identify what is being… Read the article
Yesterday’s announcement by OPEC (The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) on cutting oil supply marks a significant change in strategy and effectively provides a back-stop for the oil & gas industry. OPEC said that it will reduce oil supply by 1.2 million barrels per day (mb/d) with a… Read the article
After a number of false starts, could it be that the much heralded ‘great rotation’ from bonds to equities has finally arrived? Trump’s victory in the US presidential election has accelerated a trend that began in July soon after the Brexit vote in the UK, with bond yields rising, the… Read the article
In yesterday’s blog, I discussed that while the Bitcoin currency system may not see widespread adoption, it gave us a unique piece of technology that would – Blockchain. At its heart, the Blockchain technology eliminates the need of a third party for verifying transactions. This is accomplished through… Read the article
There’s been a lot of attention on bitcoins and blockchains recently, in particular the latter which is being heralded as a major disrupter in financial services. In a two part series this week, I will attempt to explain and demystify the concepts of bitcoins and blockchains and look at the… Read the article
As OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) meets on 30 November to decide on production cuts, much uncertainty remains regarding OPEC’s collective appetite to reduce production, how the reduction will be apportioned and the likely timing of the mooted cuts.
We should not take OPEC’s actions lightly though as the… Read the article
Urban sprawl chokes cities. That was a key takeaway for me from a responsible investment conference I attended earlier this year. If we want to help reduce carbon emissions we need the cities we build today to be compact, connected and co-ordinated. The greater the area of a city the… Read the article
Don’t let the initial market enthusiasm to Trump’s victory in the US Presidential election detract from the longer-term themes investors in the healthcare sector need to consider and the limited visibility we have over how the Republicans will approach US healthcare policy.
The reaction in healthcare to the outcome of… Read the article
With Republican candidate Donald Trump winning the race to the White House, populist sentiment and anti-establishment feelings are making their presence felt at the ballot box.
Investment Director, Ritu Vohora provides an update on the market’s reaction to the US election… Watch the video
Low-volatility strategies are supposed to insulate investors from market bouts of turbulence. But lately, that’s been flipped on its head, as the strategies have underperformed and fund flows are retreating.
In the latest in our regular video series on the equities markets, Investment Director, Ritu Vohora provides an update on… Watch the video
Guest contributor – Jean-Paul Jaegers, CFA, CQF (Senior Investment Strategist, Prudential Portfolio Management Group)
… however, what is often less debated is the impact that time can have on these variables.
This is relevant as investors’ holding periods have generally shortened and as a result the variables that influence the… Read the article
Most investors are aware that the post-referendum UK equity market rally has not treated all stocks or sectors equally. Since 23 June, for example, the mining sector is up (+38.6%) to date, while retail stocks are down (-8.4%).
In the small-cap space, much of the recent focus post-Brexit has been… Read the article
Many investors are rightfully sceptical of executive share-based compensation, particularly in the US. But the debate is typically around the adjustments made to companies’ declared earnings or the very large payments that can result, rather than a view of the absolute level of dilution and how this should change over… Read the article
The thought of a ‘Brexit’ conjures up images of a drawn out, messy divorce for most – a painful process, with a net negative result. However, I believe that there are reasons to be hopeful. I think a positive analogy can be drawn between the spin-off of a company from… Read the article
As the presidential race enters the final lap, rhetoric around political drug pricing remains high and the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors are lagging the broader market year-to-date. However, in my opinion, US political drug pricing fears are overstated and investors should be more concerned about commercial drug price and market… Read the article
Pensions are long-term obligations. Falling interest rates have affected both the way that companies calculate the size of these liabilities, but also the assumed growth rates of the assets that they hold in order to pay those pensions.
What is quite extraordinary in my view is that QE, which now… Read the article
European markets are facing a number of challenges, not least in the region’s banking sector as recent events highlighted. However, European equities are attractively valued and there are signs of an improving economic backdrop.
In the latest in our regular video series on the equities markets, Investment Director, Ritu Vohora… Watch the video
Why did L’Oreal spend nearly €7.4bn on advertising and promotional activity in 2015? Why does the market value L’Oreal shares at a 70% premium to the Stoxx 600? Because conventional knowledge suggests a strong brand will allow a business to attract more consumers, retain their business and generate higher gross… Read the article
China’s transformation over recent decades has generated some great investment opportunities. But the challenge for investors has always been how to reach them. For many years, overseas investors have been restricted to a limited selection of Chinese companies. That’s now changing. As part of the Chinese government’s drive to raise… Read the article
In my last blog I highlighted that a big effect of the pound’s weakness post Brexit is to make those UK-listed companies that may have previously appeared attractive to overseas buyers, look even better value. Whilst sterling has recovered a little from its post-Brexit lows, it is still… Read the article
If you’re a sports fan, I would imagine the last six odd weeks of coverage from both Olympic games has had you frothing at the mouth, monopolising the telly and shouting down any dissenting channel opinions. Seizure of the remote control is key to the success of this strategy!
In… Read the article
As investors scour the globe for yield, one consequence of the low return environment is that companies making the highest payouts to shareholders are being rewarded by the market with higher valuations. This is the opposite of previous equity bull markets where it was companies investing for growth that reaped… Read the article
In the US, the clock is ticking down to November’s presidential election . . . the shock Brexit result in the UK demonstrated how voters can catch the markets unaware.
In the latest of our regular video series on the equities markets, Investment Director, Ritu Vohora provides an update… Watch the video
The growing disequilibrium between what bonds are implying through near-zero long-run interest rates and what equities are pricing in my view requires significant thought and attention, particularly for people saving for their pensions. I recently came across the letters of a prominent pension fund manager of the 50s and 60s,… Read the article
Having grown up in Kenya and spent lots of time in the African savannah, I have always been fascinated by herd behaviour. The annual wildebeest migration sees over two million animals migrate to find greener pastures. In their quest they may be hunted, stalked and run down by larger carnivores.… Read the article
Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are rapidly becoming the ‘must-have’ component of an investor’s portfolio. At the end of June, assets in ETFs hit a record high of $3.2 trillion globally according to data from research consultancy ETFGI and demand shows no signs of abating. Popular with both institutional and retail… Read the article
In my recent blog and in the blog from my colleague last week, we highlighted the disruptive power of new technology companies and the importance of creating networks to organize, synthesize and expand information through social, organisational and process innovations.
I believe there are changes in… Read the article
Global equity markets rallied sharply in July from their post-referendum lows, helped by better US data, supportive central banks and defensive positioning ahead of the Brexit vote.
In this, the second of our regular video series on the equities markets, Investment Director, Ritu Vohora provides an update on markets in… Watch the video
The Rubik’s Cube is an easy puzzle for those who know the correct ‘algorithms,’ or sequence of turns needed to align the coloured cubes – and a frustrating enigma for those who don’t. For a devoted few, the challenge is solving the puzzle as quickly as possible, which officially stood… Read the article
Technology is the biggest sector in the S&P 500 index and accounts for five of the top ten largest companies. The sector is growing at a pace and scale never previously imagined and is eating into the profits of every other industry.
Tech giant Amazon is a prime example (no… Read the article
In the run-up to the EU referendum many financial commentators forecast a stockmarket meltdown in the event of a leave vote, yet within days of Brexit becoming reality, stockmarkets were confounding these pundits by touching new highs.
With the FTSE 100 not following the ‘Armageddon’ script (due to defensives dominating… Read the article
You wouldn’t necessarily know it, but late last month (June 2016) the Federal Reserve released the results of one of the major stress tests performed on the US banking system.
Apart from a few banking sector specialists, little attention seems to have been paid to the results of the 2016… Read the article
Superficially, the healthcare sector in Europe looks attractively valued relative to consumer staples, but on a cashflow basis the relative valuation argument disappears. This may reflect more aggressive earnings adjustments in European healthcare.
In the US though, the valuation gap between healthcare and consumer staples does look more real and… Read the article
Well, we were not expecting that! I refer not to the vote to leave the European Union, but to the aftermath of that decision and the fact that the FTSE 100 finished the subsequent week up nearly 4%. Neither outcome was in the script. But on reflection, perhaps the second… Read the article
Global markets and the political and economic landscape were dominated last month by the unexpected result in the UK’s EU referendum.
In the first of a regular video series on the equities markets, Investment Director, Ritu Vohora looks at the Brexit effect and the likely outcomes for the UK market.… Watch the video
Whilst there are few direct implications for UK pharmaceuticals and healthcare companies of the UK leaving the European Union, there are some indirect benefits that have triggered sector outperformance in the past week relative to the broader UK market, and even to other defensive sectors which have outperformed, like consumer… Read the article
Since the Brexit vote, the UK homebuilder index has fallen by 30% reflecting concerns that the UK economy – and the UK housing market – are headed towards negative growth.
The market is right to be worried. It’s pretty tough to argue that if the UK heads into recession the housing… Read the article
Banks were hit hard yesterday in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, with trading in RBS and Barclays temporarily suspended yesterday morning. Today, the market has opened firmer with financials amongst the leading gainers emphasising the increasingly volatile world we are now inhabiting. Standing back from… Read the article
Share prices in the US retail sector have declined by around 7% on average since the beginning of May compared with an advance of 1.4% for the S&P 500 (see following table). Some commentators have suggested this is an indication of weakness in the underlying health of the US consumer,… Read the article
The Korean equity market is cheap. It’s always been cheap. Many things are cheap for a reason though and a key feature of the Korean market is the lack of shareholder focus and precious little alignment of interests between company management teams and minority shareholders. But to quote Robert Zimmerman… Read the article
Having been in the doldrums since the financial crisis, there are now tentative signs that the European residential construction sector is on the mend. We’re seeing encouraging data coming through and from our analysis and our discussions with companies, we’re increasingly confident that the earnings growth potential in the sector… Read the article
There’s an interesting passage in the book “Other People’s Money” by John Kay. In it, Professor Kay discusses the intermediation of the market and the nonsensical notion that there is anything particularly insightful to be gained from “what the market thinks” when it comes to investing in companies. In our… Read the article
There are many different ways to form an investment view on a company. As my colleagues Dan White and Matt Cable discussed in a recent blog meeting company management can be both interesting and informative and for many investors pivotal to the investment decision making process. In my experience… Read the article
Unexpected changes to a central bank’s reference interest rate can cause chaotic price movements. Surprise action by the Bank of Japan (BoJ) in January has driven a shift in investor beliefs. Where previously negative interest rates were not seriously considered by investors, now they are a reality.
This is an… Read the article
Concerns over the health of corporate profits continue to weigh on the minds of market participants, as was evidenced in a recent Bloomberg article – ‘Plunge in US corporate profits is economic warning sign’. The article references the following chart, and suggests that a decline in corporate profits… Read the article
Today is the Queen’s 90th birthday and I thought a good reason to have a look back at how UK equities have fared over almost a century. When the Queen was born in 1926, the UK economy was still struggling to recover from the First World War, there was high… Read the article
A regular feature of my life is trying to focus on an IPO (initial public offering) prospectus through sleepy eyes on the 06.35 from Colchester! Unfortunately the complexity of the IPO process often means that the key document – called a ‘pathfinder prospectus’ – only turns up just before (or… Read the article
Many great investors have written extensively on the power of compound interest, yet it remains a difficult concept for investors to grasp and the majority of us fail to reap its long-term rewards.
Albert Bartlett might bring to mind the weekly shop and roast dinners for UK readers, but the… Read the article
Company meetings present something of a conundrum. The law rightly says that no investor should be in possession of ‘material non-public information’ when trading in shares, so both fund managers… Read the article
To adjust or not to adjust? That’s the key question for companies when presenting their accounts. There’s been an increasing tendency for companies to focus on adjusted ‘non-GAAP’ (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles basis) numbers instead of the more regulated GAAP numbers. My colleague Simon Bailey highlighted this in his blog… Read the article
Consumers are a demanding bunch. They want more choice, convenience and above all, a great customer experience. Yet they don’t want to pay more for the privilege! Satisfying the modern customer poses considerable challenges to today’s retailers. Can anyone but the consumer prosper in this environment?
Strong house price growth,… Read the article
When the oil price began its steep descent in autumn 2014 it was heralded as the equivalent of a tax cut for the US consumer. Estimates suggested that cheaper gasoline would add an extra US$1,500 to household budgets per year and that the extra funds would fuel spending in shops,… Read the article
We’ve all felt the euphoria of finding that sought-after purchase at a bargain price. And there are certainly bargains to be found in equities in the current environment. But I think investors should proceed with caution to avoid the investment equivalent of a ‘fashion faux pas’ – the bargain item… Read the article
Last week, there will have been a rush of customers to jewellery stores across the UK (and the world) to purchase gifts of charm bracelets, rings, earrings and the like in time for Valentine’s Day. But as people queued to buy gifts for their loved ones, few will have been… Read the article
It’s been a rollercoaster week for bank shares across the world as a confluence of factors stoked a panic in the sector. Exposure to energy, the impact of negative interest rates and worries about a recession all played a hand.
The key decision to make here is whether or not… Read the article
2015 was another bumper year for income-oriented investors with companies paying out over £80 billion in ordinary dividends and an additional £5.6 billion in special dividends. 2016 looks unlikely to be plain sailing with income investors facing some difficult decisions and therefore needing to consider less traditional sources of dividends.… Read the article
I was recently in San Francisco attending the biggest US healthcare investor conference and there’s little doubt that the level of innovation in the pharma and biotech industries remains very high. Many new therapies are coming to market with more genuinely novel drugs in 2015 than at any time in… Read the article
I fondly remember “Don’t panic” being the catchphrase of Lance-Corporal Jack Jones in the popular 1970s sitcom Dad’s Army. ‘Jonesy’ would shout this loudly at moments of impending danger, while running round in a frantic panic himself.
While Jonesy wasn’t exactly the best Lance-Corporal, he would make an even worse… Read the article
The first valuation method most investors learn is the humble Price/Earnings (P/E), as in theory it’s both easy to calculate and easy to compare across companies. Unfortunately in my experience, this is a long way from the truth due to the lack of consistency in the earnings number used.
The… Read the article
Obamacare is revolutionising healthcare in the United States – the single most important market for healthcare companies in the world. This has profound implications for the outlook for these companies and as a consequence how to identify the best investment opportunities in the sector.
Half of total global healthcare spending… Read the article
Consumer staples have historically been seen as largely homogeneous, offering broadly similar levels of predictable, long-term growth and cash generation. That seems unlikely to be the case going forward. Too much of the investment debate on consumer staples has been around the valuation premium they are trading on and not… Read the article
Company boardrooms have undoubtedly evolved over the past twenty-odd years, but the human characteristics and traits needed to be an effective board member remain largely unchanged. A lot can be achieved with trustworthy, capable individuals, something which, in my humble opinion, is truer today than it has ever been.
Boards… Read the article
Dear Mr Claus,
For much of its long history, your company has been shrouded in secrecy. Although your toy manufacturing and logistics business has been held in high regard by industry insiders for its innovative just-in-time distribution system, relatively little has been known about your financial performance. That all changed… Read the article
Dear Mr Rinch,
Thank you for your letter, dated 16th December 2015.
Before I address the body of your letter, I must say this is not the first time I have defended the company’s business model against the myopia of market participants: long before our IPO, creditors Marley & Scrooge… Read the article
It was a terrible year for active equity managers in 2014 with 80% of all US large-cap active equity managers underperforming the S&P 500 benchmark*, a trend that was unfortunately replicated worldwide. This bad performance has unsurprisingly ignited a debate in the press and among investors on whether or not active… Read the article
Images of RoboCop may spring to mind when you hear the term ‘robo-advice’. But robo-advice is increasingly seen as the solution for wealth managers and financial advisers looking to provide a service to those clients unable to afford face-to-face advice. Many believe it has the potential to address the advice… Read the article
With Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s recent speech on fossil fuels and December’s UN climate change conference looming on the horizon, it’s not surprising the whole ‘stranded assets’ argument is gathering momentum. Warnings abound that investors and governments will face potentially huge losses if tougher action on climate change… Read the article
“Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I’ll lay out a plan to take it on”. @HillaryClinton, Twitter, 21 September 2015
“Every politician has a promising career. Unfortunately, most of them do not keep those promises”. Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not FOR SALE, 2011.… Read the article
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Welcome to the M&G Multi Asset Team’s Allocation blog, previously known as the Episode blog. We have changed the name of our blog to resonate better with our readers in Europe, however, the content and purpose of the blog has not changed. The Allocation blog continues to aim to provide unique market perspectives from our dedicated team of experienced asset allocators.OK