All seems well with markets, but there are always clouds on the horizon. With price inflation remaining contained, one risk we think deserves more airtime is how a corporate margin squeeze could cause the next downturn. The next US Federal Reserve chair is also a mystery that could rock markets and President Trump’s objectives will be central to what candidates have to promise if they’re to get the big job.
There doesn’t seem to be much interest in Japanese investment ideas by foreigners, which makes me wonder whether we are collectively missing a trick. Whether you consider culture, technology, economics or social developments, Japan remains quite different from the western perception of what is mainstream. This makes it an interesting part of the investment universe as it could provide idiosyncratic, diversifying investment opportunities.
2017 marks a number of financial anniversaries; the 1987 stockmarket crash, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and the beginning of the global financial crisis. As we haven’t really experienced an extreme boom or crisis recently, looking back will be a refresher as to what could occur, but also provide a wider perspective on investment returns. Nothing is as evocative of the past as its music, so we accompany our look back with a soundtrack of those hits we think have withstood the test of time, and those hits that we would rather forget.
The rise of Chelsea and Man City shows that it takes a lot of money to break into the Champions League elite, but once you're there, it creates a virtuous circle. The same is true for inflation. There is a self-reinforcing loop of high inflation expectations, wages and prices. But the 2014 oil shock looks to have knocked the US and Japan out. Consumers' inflation expectations remain stubbornly low.