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Global Matters - Weekly

 

Central banks get serious

Robert White, CFA - 09 May 2022

After the first 50bps interest rate rise by the Fed in over 20 years (with more to come) and the announcement of quantitative tightening starting in June, there is no doubt that the Fed is getting serious about containing inflation. Inflation data in April continued the pattern of the past year, generally exceeding expectations, with price rises becoming more broadly based and accelerating to multi-decade highs in the US and Europe.

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Investing goals

Stephen Nguyen, CFA - 25 April 2022

As an avid sports fan, I have always enjoyed being involved in all things sports related. Having participated in various team-based and individual sports throughout my life, I of course enjoy watching a variety of different sports, be it golf, tennis, or football. Sporting events often bring people together and teach us the importance of values and hard work. If we look at successful sports teams or individuals, there are lots of similarities that can be drawn between them and professional investors.

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Whatever it takes, China

This is not the first time I have written about Chinese equities and loyal readers will remember last August, when the media were calling it an “uninvestable” market, we were finding pockets of value and interesting opportunities. This year, a new wind is blowing under the Red Dragon’s wings.

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Jordy Shore

Alex Harvey, CFA - 04 April 2022

Covid travel restrictions have now finally been lifted for passengers arriving in the UK. I’ve been fortunate to travel abroad in recent months including a trip to Jordan, with its rich cultural heritage spanning ancient civilisations and sites sacred to Christianity, Judaism and Islam. One regional constant over the millennia has been the Dead Sea; the world’s deepest hypersaline lake.

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It’s lights out and away we go

Matt Connor - 28 March 2022

The first race of the 2022 Formula One season didn’t disappoint, as Sir Lewis Hamilton sought a strong start to his record-breaking 8th World Championship in Bahrain. Many were quick to write off the Mercedes man, due to a lack of pace in free practice and qualifying compared to rivals Ferrari and Red Bull. Despite the negative outlook, Hamilton still managed to achieve a podium. As value investors we often view negative sentiment around a company as a potential opportunity to capitalise on irrational valuations.

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Metaverse: real estate

Jackson Franks - 21 March 2022

The largest ever land acquisition took place towards the end of last year; it’s value: US$2,400,000. You may be thinking I’m missing a few zeros here, but what I haven’t yet mentioned is that this transaction does not relate to the real world but instead refers to Tokens.com’s purchase within the metaverse.

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Mind the Gap

Mark Wright - 14 March 2022

It took less than a week for investors in Russian equities to see their holdings effectively become worthless. The Russian stock exchange has been closed for trading since Monday 28th February, which meant depositary receipts listed on stock exchanges in London and elsewhere felt the full brunt of anyone wishing to head for the exit.

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Goodbye to Greenwashers

Michael Clough - 07 March 2022

The last two years have seen a huge increase in demand for sustainable funds, or those explicitly integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their processes and portfolios. Naturally, fund companies cottoned on and there has been a proliferation of strategies available for investors to buy. Greenwashing, when marketing material and disclosures overstate the true level of ESG integration within a strategy, was an inevitable consequence of this trend.

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Style box

Tom Delic - 28 February 2022

Men’s heavyweight boxing is perhaps set for its biggest year this century. Two upcoming bouts could lead to the winners meeting later in the year in a bid to become the undisputed champion of the heavyweight division. When assessing the potential entertainment value for spectators, an often-used phrase is “styles make fights”, meaning the blend of the two fighters’ boxing styles will ultimately determine how exciting a fight is. This is not too dissimilar to investment styles, where some work better together than others.

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Taking the (not so) long view

Robert White - 21 February 2022

The latest elevated CPI print of 7.5% has spooked investors this year, triggering volatility in both bond and equity markets. In trying times, it sometimes helps to take the long view. In a recent paper the Bank of England has taken this advice to the extreme, looking back 800 years to the 14th century to calculate the average global GDP-weighted inflation rate of just 1.51%1. Unfortunately, 800 years is not a particularly sensible investment horizon for most people, but there are plenty of other more relevant periods for us to examine when considering the importance of current economic events.

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The Boutique Premium

Gary Moglione - 14 February 2022

There have been a number of academic papers that have examined the performance of funds managed by smaller “boutique” investment houses versus the much larger “asset gatherers”. The outcome of these various studies is overwhelming; that boutiques tend to be the better performers with a consistent performance premium across various asset classes.

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Stay Ahead of the Game

Richard Parfect - 07 February 2022

My mother used to say to me “a stitch in time saves nine”, as a child who grew up in the war and rationing, she was the product of her formative years. In the 1970s and 80s I would see her darning my father’s socks in the evening, something I doubt many households do today as the price of clothing and the expectation of durability has waned in the decades since. My father ran an industrial clothing firm, John Peck Ltd, on Edge Lane in Liverpool; it had hundreds of employees and was renowned as a high-quality supplier to a wide range of customers throughout the public and private sectors, they even held a Royal Warrant as a supplier to the Royal Households.

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New Year’s Revolutions

Andrew Hardy, CFA - 31 January 2022

2022 has started with a bang! Barring a recovery today January will close out as being the weakest start to a year for global equities – down 7.0% in US dollar terms – since 2009, when markets were still spiralling through the financial crisis. While that’s enough to warrant attention, some of the underlying trends in markets have been considerably more abrupt. Nonetheless, rather than being cause for panic, we believe this is a healthy correction, led by parts of markets where the most excess had built up, and that the conditions for further medium-term progress in equity markets remain in place.

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DiversiChination

Lorenzo La Posta, CFA - 24 January 2022

Our regular readers would have read the word “diversification” countless times across our pieces, especially about it being “the only free lunch in finance”. Now, everyone loves a free meal but certainly you’re not going to eat it only because it’s free, am I right? It needs also to look, smell and taste good, and the various courses need to be well balanced. We have recently added a new course to our menu, with a certain eastern flavour, that should make that free meal a lot more palatable for our clients: Chinese government bonds.

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Making money in bonds

Richard Stutley, CFA - 17 January 2022

Last year, US Treasuries suffered one of their worst years this century. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), on the other hand, returned +6%, making 2021 a pretty good year for these bonds versus their long-term average. So how did investors like us make money in TIPS; was it purely down to QE-fuelled irrational behaviour; and what do we expect from here?

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Turning the corner?

Stephen Nguyen, CFA - 10 January 2022

Happy New Year to all our readers. As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty remains elevated in financial markets, largely centered on further Covid variants and the prospect of tighter monetary policy. Markets have largely brushed off these concerns of late and have come a long way since the lows of 2020. A quick reflection on the performance of different asset classes in 2021 highlights another strong year for risk assets, in contrast to bonds which were generally more challenged in the face of surging inflation.

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2021 Annual Compendium

Once again we mark the end of the year by sharing a compendium of 2021’s articles. Across dozens of blogs, which incorporate a mix of investment insight with topical twists, this charts our journey through what has been another most extraordinary year.

Our team has also grown this year, following the acquisition and integration of Seneca Investment Managers, injecting fresh thinking and invaluable insights to the Global Matters articles.

download our Annual Compendium
 

Staying the course

Alex Harvey - 13 December 2021

As we come into 2021’s home straight, few moments can match the drama and rivalry that played out yesterday in Abu Dhabi as the Formula One season drew to a close. A nail-biting final lap decided the 2021 championship after the two key protagonists, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, started the race on equal points. Even those not of a petrolhead persuasion would be hard pushed not to have enjoyed the spectacle. The lesson of the day was to never give up.

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Death of the traditional retailer or just poor operators?

Matt Connor - 06 December 2021

Rapid growth of e-commerce, everchanging consumer habits and increasing competition have all been cited as culprits responsible for the ‘death of the high street’, but the real culprit is bad management.

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Read the first half of 2021 Blogs

Global Matters Weekly 2021 (Jan to June)
 

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Read our weekly blogs from 2020

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