Latest insights

Keeping up to date with financial market and industry news can be difficult. To help you make sense of it all, our research team produce regular articles on current affairs and other topics that may interest you as an investor. You can read our latest articles here.

Investor behaviour in bear markets

Published on 07 Apr 20 by Liz Rees

In the short term markets are driven by the collective emotions and thoughts of all their participants. The negative news surrounding the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the fear it has generated is likely to influence your investment decisions. We take a look at some of the common behavioural biases that we all might experience and offer some tips to help you deal with them.   

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Who are the winners and losers in March’s sell-off?

Published on 03 Apr 20 by Adrian Lowcock

Given the extent to which markets have tumbled, it may come as a surprise that some funds and sectors performed well during the crisis. 

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Market rebound gives us the first rays of hope

Published on 31 Mar 20 by Liz Rees

Last week brought a glimmer of hope that there may be light at the end of the tunnel for investors. Stock markets around the world rallied on optimism that huge fiscal stimulus programmes announced by governments would support the economy through these difficult times. Nevertheless, a high level of uncertainty will remain until there are signs that the coronavirus pandemic is under control so volatility is likely to continue.

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Protect your income from dividend cuts

Published on 27 Mar 20 by Adrian Lowcock

Dividend cuts seem inevitable as many companies look to conserve cash in the short term to protect their business. We look at five tips to help protect your income from the dividend shock set to come.
  

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis - learning from history

Published on 20 Mar 20 by Liz Rees

Sudden and steep falls in stock markets are usually caused by unexpected and often major ‘geopolitical’ events. These range from pandemics and natural disasters to military conflict and financial crisis. What lessons can investors take from history?

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Central banks take action to tackle coronavirus

Published on 16 Mar 20 by Liz Rees

Following the Bank of England’s decision to cut interest rates last Wednesday, central banks around the world have announced further measures to tackle the slump in economic activity caused by the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

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Saudi Arabia’s oil price war hits markets

Published on 09 Mar 20 by Liz Rees

Stock markets continue to experience high levels of volatility as investors worry that the spread of the coronavirus will put a temporary brake on global economic growth. This week, concerns have intensified with the news that Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil producer, is to step up its output of crude oil and unleash a price war, triggering a slide in markets.  

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Three income ideas for your portfolio

Published on 06 Mar 20 by Adrian Lowcock

It is not easy to get a regular income from your cash savings these days. After more than a decade, interest rates are still languishing at very low levels and we think they are unlikely to rise much in the short term.

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Five tips for volatile markets

Published on 04 Mar 20 by Liz Rees

Volatility returned to markets last week as worries about the impact of the coronavirus led to steep falls in share prices. This week started with a tentative rebound in shares prices after central banks promised swift action to support economic growth. Despite attempts to calm markets, further volatility is likely. We suggest five investment strategies to cope with volatile markets. 

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Is the inflation genie out of the bottle?

Published on 28 Feb 20 by Liz Rees

Last month the annual rate of inflation, using the Consumer Price Index, reached 1.8%, a significant increase on December’s figure of 1.4%. Although one month’s data does not signal a trend, we look at what a continued upturn in prices might mean for savers and investors.

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Coronavirus fears spread to stock markets

Published on 26 Feb 20 by Liz Rees

Until last weekend the coronavirus had largely been confined to China and expectations were that it could be contained. However, an escalation in cases around the world, particularly in Italy and South Korea, has led to a sell-off in stock markets this week.

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All aboard HS2

Published on 21 Feb 20 by Liz Rees

The government has finally given the green light for HS2.  The project will provide high speed rail links between London and major cities in the North of England, and is expected to be completed by 2040. This could be the start of a significant investment in infrastructure from Boris Johnson’s government.  We look at what other programmes might be rolled out to drive UK growth in the post-Brexit world, and how it could affect your investments.

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Markets resistant to coronavirus

Published on 14 Feb 20 by Liz Rees

The coronavirus has infected over 60,000 people in China and caused massive disruption for people and businesses across the country. The cost to society has been significant with over 1,000 lives lost. With the world's second-largest economy returning to work this week after an extended Lunar New Year holiday we look at what the disruption might mean for stock markets and your investments.

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Hey Google

Published on 06 Feb 20 by Liz Rees

Alphabet, parent company of Google, followed in the footsteps of Microsoft, Apple and Amazon when it briefly broke through a $1trillion market valuation in January. Here we look at its development, the latest earnings report and where future growth prospects lie.

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Responsible Capitalism

Published on 31 Jan 20 by Liz Rees

Last week, two events illustrated the extent to which Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors are taking centre stage. The first was the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland, which adopted the theme ‘Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World’...
 

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Where next for the oil price?

Published on 23 Jan 20 by Liz Rees

The new decade began with a surge in the oil price, and a corresponding wobble in stock markets, as news broke of the assassination of Iran’s top military commander by US forces. The situation escalated when Iran retaliated, firing rockets at US bases in Iraq and accidentally bringing down a civilian aircraft, and the US imposed additional economic sanctions on Iran.

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UK retail: is it just another winter’s sale?

Published on 16 Jan 20 by Liz Rees

We seem to hear nothing but tales of woe about trading conditions on the High Street. But what do the all-important Christmas sales figures really tell us about the state of the UK economy and which companies are bucking the trend?

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No more splashing the cash - payments go digital

Published on 09 Jan 20 by Liz Rees

When stocking up over the festive season, the chances are that you paid with a swipe or tap rather than the increasingly outmoded cash or cheque. The rapid growth in digital payments has provided growth opportunities for providers with superior technology and service offerings.

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From pessimism to optimism

Published on 02 Jan 20 by Liz Rees

Many of us will have made resolutions to help start the New Year on a positive footing. As families get together to plan their next holiday or perhaps a new home (residential property websites get a surge in views over the Christmas period) it may also be a good time to review your investment portfolio.

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Climate Action - investors have a part to play

Published on 20 Dec 19 by Liz Rees

Global stock markets enjoyed a belated Santa rally after the US and China called a halt to their lingering trade spat. At the same time, British investors welcomed the election of a business-friendly Conservative government. Most geopolitical concerns are short-term but one that is set to remain firmly in the spotlight is global warming.

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Beauty in the eye of the shareholder

Published on 12 Dec 19 by Liz Rees

With Christmas festivities around the corner, well-known beauty brands are on many people’s wish lists. This made me wonder what opportunities high-end cosmetics, skin-care and luxury fashion present for investors and which funds might invest in the companies that make them.

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AIM high: the market for growth companies

Published on 06 Dec 19 by Liz Rees

Companies listed on AIM are popular with, though by no means exclusive to, UK Smaller Companies funds. So what's the pros and cons of listing on this alternative market?

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Smaller Companies - are the sleeping beauties awakening?

Published on 28 Nov 19 by Liz Rees

Smaller Companies in the UK have had a tough time since the EU referendum. The uncertainty over the outlook for the economy put these more domestically focused business under pressure and also made it hard to plan for the future. However, with polls pointing to a Conservative victory in the General Election, and a possible resolution to the Brexit saga, is it time to revisit the sector?

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Is it best to back winners?

Published on 22 Nov 19 by Liz Rees

Two of the most popular funds on our platform this year have been Fundsmith Equity and Lindsell Train Global Equity. Both have delivered exceptional returns since launch and while the philosophy of their managers is similar, their portfolios have little overlap. Here we take a look under the bonnet at what has driven their outperformance and ask whether they can continue to shine. 

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How low can interest rates go?

Published on 15 Nov 19 by Liz Rees

Central banks are again cutting interest rates in an attempt to counter a slowdown in economic activity. The US and the UK have capacity to cut rates further but in other regions, such as the Eurozone and Japan, rates are already in negative territory. A decade on from the financial crisis, with economic growth still lacklustre, there is growing concern that monetary stimulus has run out of steam. Here we look at what alternative policies might be available.

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Microsoft - something old, something new

Published on 07 Nov 19 by Liz Rees

Third quarter results reported by US companies have been closely watched for pointers of how the world economy is faring. Multi-nationals dominate a wide range of industries and rely on global demand. Highly valued companies which disappoint are seeing their share prices harshly punished. However, one company that stands out as a beacon of steady growth is Microsoft. Here we take a look at the broader picture for US corporates as well as what Microsoft seems to be doing well compared to others.

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Calculated Risks

Published on 31 Oct 19 by Ian Taunt

Having recently launched a new ‘portfolio risk score’ tool for users of our :review service, I thought I’d take a closer look at investment risk and share with you some of the things we’ve learned about Willis Owen investors.
 

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When the disrupted bite back…

Published on 24 Oct 19 by Liz Rees

We hear all the time about up-and-coming businesses attempting to disrupt the status quo of established companies. It’s all too easy to get sucked into the latest hype but a great idea is no guarantee of success. In fact, recent cases of new entrants losing their way makes me wonder whether we should sometimes stick with the incumbents. 

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Taking an ‘alternative’ route

Published on 17 Oct 19 by Liz Rees

Diversification is one of the most important factors to take into account when constructing a portfolio. Traditionally, investors split their portfolio between shares and bonds according to their attitude to risk. These days, alternatives are being added to the mix, so what are the options, which are most popular and how accessible are they?

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Good Money Week - Ethical investing has outperformed the market

Published on 11 Oct 19 by Adrian Lowcock

Good Money Week (5th - 11th October) looks to promote sustainable, responsible and ethical investing. It is now in its 12th year and the performance of ethical investment strategies is being taken more seriously than ever.

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No happy holidays for Thomas Cook shareholders

Published on 03 Oct 19 by Liz Rees

The media has been awash with the news that that Thomas Cook, Britain’s oldest travel business, has collapsed. So what went wrong for this well-known British brand?

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Rugby World Cup

Published on 30 Sep 19 by Adrian Lowcock

There are a number of parallels between picking a winning rugby team and building a successful portfolio. As well as finding the best individual performers, it is also vital to pick a combination of youth and experience and to ensure their strengths complement each other.

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How cheap can value get?

Published on 26 Sep 19 by Liz Rees

A persistent theme in stock markets for over a decade has been the under-performance of the value style of investing relative to the growth style. Apart from a brief rally in 2016, investors have kept their feet firmly in the growth camp. For advocates of the value style the exceptional gap is unjustified. So what is behind the aversion to lowly rated companies and are there any reasons for optimism? 

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Take 10 mins - the time it takes to drink your coffee – to improve your financial future

Published on 25 Sep 19 by Adrian Lowcock

1st October is International Coffee Day. In the UK, workers spend an average of 100 hours a year making hot drinks. However, if they took the time, whilst enjoying their coffee, to manage their finances it could be hugely beneficial for their personal wealth.

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The allure of bonds

Published on 19 Sep 19 by Liz Rees

Over the summer bonds were in vogue, with strong fund inflows as protracted trade disputes hurt global growth. As central banks put interest rate cuts back on the agenda, bond prices rose. Bonds are certainly no longer cheap, and in September have surrendered some of their gains, so do they still warrant a place in a diversified portfolio?

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FTSE Index changes-sign of the times?

Published on 12 Sep 19 by Liz Rees

The latest quarterly review of the FTSE 100 attracted more attention than usual with Marks and Spencer losing its place in the prestigious index. This made me wonder whether the changes provide any interesting insight on trends in the UK economy. Which sectors and companies are on the up and which are not doing so well?

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Investing overseas helped UK investors avoid Sell in May adage

Published on 05 Sep 19 by Adrian Lowcock

The adage “Sell in May, go away and come back on St Leger day” is commonly heard amongst investors. Like any good saying there is plenty of logic to it and even some truth in it.
 

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Dividends: more important than ever?

Published on 29 Aug 19 by Liz Rees

Raising the dividend is seen as an indicator of the confidence a company has in its future performance. As the global economy shows signs of slowing, we examine the findings of the latest Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index (JHGDI) report. What does it tell us about the prospects for company earnings and dividends?

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Is a recession looming?

Published on 22 Aug 19 by Liz Rees

The stock market has been changing course as frequently as the weather in the last few weeks. Economic data has been mixed, and sentiment seems to swing on the latest tweet from President Trump. Now economists tell us that the recent inversion of the yield curve may signal a recession is around the corner. So what does this all mean and should we be concerned?

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Addressing risk

Published on 15 Aug 19 by Liz Rees

One of the reasons why Britain is a nation of savers rather than investors is because many people associate the stock market with a danger of losing money. However, there are different types of risk so this week we look at some ways to alleviate risk, and how it can also be rewarding.

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Liquidity in financial markets

Published on 09 Aug 19 by Liz Rees

A suspension of dealing in the widely held Woodford Equity Income fund, and difficulties relating to illiquid assets in two bond funds (GAM and H2O), has drawn attention to the issue of liquidity. The extensive press coverage may prompt investors to question whether other funds could experience similar problems.

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Does Bojo have the mojo to deliver Brexit?

Published on 01 Aug 19 by Liz Rees

Boris Johnson has fulfilled his ambition to be Prime Minister and made sweeping changes to the cabinet. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea but he convincingly won the support of Conservative Party members with his commitment to deliver Brexit by 31st October. 

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The fossil fuels dilemma

Published on 25 Jul 19 by Liz Rees

Oil & Gas is a large sector in the UK stock market and has been at the forefront of the global warming debate. Whether to embrace, or ditch, some of our biggest companies is a difficult decision for investors so here we weigh up the arguments for and against including fossil fuels in a portfolio.

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An update on the Inheritance Tax review

Published on 18 Jul 19 by Liz Rees

The Office for Tax Simplification (OTS) was asked to conduct a review of the complex and poorly understood Inheritance Tax (IHT) regime and invited both professionals and the public to submit their views.

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What’s driving the automotive sector?

Published on 11 Jul 19 by Liz Rees

If you’ve purchased a new car in the past year you’re one of a diminishing number doing so. The UK has been particularly hard hit but the downturn in sales is worldwide. So, is the disappointing run of data a temporary aberration or a more worrying long-term trend?

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The United States of America - land of investment opportunity?

Published on 04 Jul 19 by Liz Rees

Donald Trump swept to power in 2016 with a promise to ‘Make America Great Again’, yet its stock market has been rewarding investors for many years. However, faced with the rise of Asian economies, and China challenging for global supremacy, will the country stand its ground and continue to thrive?

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Millennials-shaping the future

Published on 27 Jun 19 by Liz Rees

Whilst the spending power of today may lie with the baby boomers, the successful companies of tomorrow will be those that can satisfy the very different demands of the millennial consumer.

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From little acorns grow giant oaks

Published on 20 Jun 19 by Liz Rees

The concept of compounding is one of the most important principles for investors to get to grips with. This is because it demonstrates how starting your investment journey as early as possible, even with small regular contributions, can have a significant impact on your future wealth.

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The lessons from the downfall of Neil Woodford

Published on 14 Jun 19 by Adrian Lowcock

Last week, late on Monday evening Neil Woodford’s flagship fund, the LF Woodford Equity Income fund, was suspended with immediate effect.  This week we look at the lessons we all need to learn from the events that led to this sorry situation and to consider what to look out for when choosing a fund. 

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Who wants to live forever?

Published on 07 Jun 19 by Liz Rees

Ageing populations are producing some of the biggest social and economic upheaval of modern times. Advances in medicines and healthcare, along with rising standards of living and relative peace, have contributed to longer and healthier lives.

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What’s driving dividends?

Published on 30 May 19 by Liz Rees

For investors who depend on an income from their investments, the stability of dividends is important. The Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index (JHGDI) report, covering the first three months of 2019, highlights the latest trends.

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Pension planning through the ages

Published on 24 May 19 by Ian Taunt

Retirement planning is something we should all think about throughout our working lives. A little time invested can really pay off in the long term.

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Europe-will the tortoise become a hare?

Published on 17 May 19 by Liz Rees

European stock markets have been out of favour for some time; growth is lacklustre, shares are not outstandingly cheap and political uncertainty abounds.

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The global warming debate heats up

Published on 10 May 19 by Liz Rees

Recent demonstrations in London by climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion have served to highlight the risks of global warming.

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The UK housing market - booming or broken?

Published on 02 May 19 by Liz Rees

Home ownership is something the British, in contrast to much of Europe, passionately aspire to and house prices are always a popular topic of conversation.

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Investors full of the joys of spring

Published on 25 Apr 19 by Liz Rees

Despite entering 2019 shrouded by an uncertain prognosis for the global economy, stock markets have actually been leaping ahead as investors regain confidence.

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MAPS to guide you: the new Money and Pensions Service

Published on 11 Apr 19 by Liz Rees

As the burden of planning for the future, particularly in the case of retirement, falls increasingly on individuals, the government is overhauling its own free financial guidance services.

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