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Weekend press review: Any sign of a Santa rally?

With hopes of a Santa rally on the backburner for many this year given all the uncertainty and volatile market conditions, some of the weekend press are looking at matters of investment. However, after the recent market sell-offs, Telegraph Money is highlighting six AIM stocks which some experts are suggesting are now trading on attractive valuations. Existing investors in the sector will need little reminding that, as the article reports, the AIM market has fallen by a total of 18.6% since the start of September, with sectors such as technology and biotech being hardest hit. Telegraph Money then proceeds with an overall positive piece, to highlight suggestions by six different fund managers – including Gervais Williams, Richard Hallett and Leigh Himsworth – of individual stocks which they think now offer good prospects for growth. We’ll spare you the details here, but if you want to know more you can check out the article directly.

Meanwhile, over at the Sunday Times, the business section leads with a stark headline – “Bond markets signal the end of bull run for shares”. Behind this warning is the fact that last week, the yield on five year US government bonds fell below that on shorter dated debt – that is an inverted yield curve for those readers who appreciate the more technical term! As the article reports, this indicator has predicted every downturn for the past four decades – but before we get too carried away it has delivered a few false alarms too. Clearly these movements in the bond market are worrying investors in equity markets. Last week’s sell off was partly a reflection of this and also of trade tensions between the US and China. The article quotes M&G fund manager Jim Leaviss whose view is that a continuation of recent moves would suggest “a (US) recession within the next year to 18 months”. With the meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal due on Tuesday looks like it has the ability to shake up the markets still further. Where’s the Santa rally did you ask? With so many clouds on the horizon, investors (including us at IFA Magazine) are not building our hopes up too much.

But then investing isn’t about short term ups and downs, it’s all about the long term. So, fast forward to the Sunday Times Money pages where we find Ian Cowie thinking about the possible implications if an election is called and what changes Labour Chancellor John McDonnell might be inclined to make. The article ponders a range of considerations from exchange controls (yes, we can hear loud shrieks) through to changes in IHT, income tax and other areas. He rounds off with a reminder that long term investors should “take shelter” which includes locking in any capital gains, and using ISA and pension tax shelters.

With a bit more of an optimistic flavour, the Sunday Times also reminds readers of the range of alternative investments which are available to what it calls “daring savers”. What does it mean by “alternative investments”? It’s a broad range – from aircraft leasing and lawsuits to mortgage-backed securities. The article talks to various fund managers about how they use such investments to diversify and provide some growth opportunities albeit from areas which may involve additional risk.

Writing in The Financial Mail on Sunday, Sally Hamilton has an interesting article all about Helena Morrissey, the mother of nine and who clearly has a passion for helping people – women in particular –  to improve their financial fitness. Morrissey is now Head of Personal Investing at LGIM, having previously worked at Newton (where she was CEO) and Schroders. The article goes into some detail about her life and background as well as her approach – and why she is trying to help people to get more savvy when it comes to financial planning matters. In the investment world women are still in the minority so it is good to see Morrissey putting emphasis on a sector of the UK population, many of which needs greater encouragement in order to take appropriate financial and investment decisions.

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