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August Market Review

Despite COVID cases continuing to be a problem, investors’ sentiment remained positive in the US, as economic data continues its strong rebound from the dismal figures reported in the first 2 quarters. Despite the reduction in unemployment benefits, the US registered an increase in retail sales and a sharp rise in existing home sales (+25% month-over-month), supported by (near) record low mortgage rates in the country. In the meantime, further stimulus to the economy are still being discussed, but the early signs of recovery are a welcomed development.

Outside the US spectrum, the FTSE 100 rose by a modest 1.1% in the month, continuing to underperform in 2020. Despite good numbers coming out of the UK, regarding manufacturing and services figures, and a good prospect of a strong recovery in Q3, the country’s main stock index is still lagging in comparison to its peers, and it has become apparent that, unsurprisingly, investors are largely in “wait and see mode” as Brexit becomes closer and closer to its final deadline and there are still many significant topics to be agreed upon with the EU. More recently, there has been increasingly more rumours regarding a “no-deal” Brexit and as these should intensify as we get near the finish line, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see more volatility coming from the UK, in the coming weeks.

Overall this is how the major stock markets performed in August and year-to-date:

Taking action

Periods of extreme uncertainty are undoubtedly unsettling. Yet if you’ve no immediate need for your spare cash, and some set aside for emergencies, investing for your long-term future may provide a focus. At a time of worldwide turmoil, this could give you some sense of control over your long-term financial future. For clients with existing portfolios, now can be a very good time to review the risk strategy and weighting of the portfolio.

Feel free to contact me directly at any time should you have any questions

This communication is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this communication is correct, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions.

Other News

Good news only, please

Dave Diggle

As an IFA I have become very sensitive to market reactions and I have always had an interest in current affairs, but at this time even I am getting bogged down by this endless supply of bad news.

The recent drops in the stock markets are simply down to confidence and not of the same making of the crisis eight years ago.

I still struggle to see why a barrel of oil at $27 dollars compared to the $108 of eighteen months ago is anything other than good news. After all, there are more consumers of oil than producers. Motorists felt the positive effect immediately and users of oil in industry such as manufacturing plants or airlines should post better than expected quarterly profits, which may help dividend levels. In many cases this is yet to be rolled out.

Read More

Could the UK’s state pension fund run out in 14 years?

Pound coins stacked in pilesThe defined benefit scheme – whereby the employer promises the employee a specified payment upon retirement, the amount of which is calculated based on several factors including the years the contributor has been in the scheme, their age, and their salary at retirement – is no longer viable in today’s world.

Recently, the high-profile collapse of the construction firm Carillion has served as yet another example of why this is the case.

The collapse means that, just like in the heavily reported case of retail giant BHS, thousands of employees are likely to have their carefully laid out retirement plans affected. Now that the company has gone into liquidation, it cannot afford to pay employees their expected pension amount, leading to yet another sizeable pensions black hole with a deficit of around £580 million (although the BBC reports that the final figure could be as high as £900 million).

Read More

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