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What’s affecting your investments? March 2018

What impact has recent trade announcements in the US had on UK stock markets?

Topic: Investing

In this month’s update Investment Manager Alex Neilson discusses the impact of recent trade announcements in the US and Chief Economist Phil Shaw gives us his take on the UK Chancellor’s recent Spring Statement.

Video Transcription

Last month, the return of volatility in the markets after a long period of calm sparked some concerns for investors. The good news is that the storm looks to have blown itself out after a few days and there has been little immediate collateral damage to investment assets.

We are, however keeping our eyes on the Central Banks to see how they respond to increasing inflation, the worry being that interest rates start to rise more quickly than expected.

On the political front, it looks like the populist influence is still being felt in Europe, with the right wing Five Star Movement winning the recent Italian election but falling short of the required 40% majority.

The markets were unfazed by the resulting hung parliament, despite the size and influence of the Italian economy, because a stalemate had already been expected and the chances of Italy leaving Europe or causing a big upset are still relatively low.

Over in the US, we are slightly concerned about recent decisions made by Donald Trump to introduce higher tariffs for US imports, starting with steel and aluminium.

Anticipating future turbulence in US markets due to Trumps tax policies, as well as the relatively high valuations of some areas of the market, we are looking closely at several options to transfer the current passive funds into more defensive actively managed funds.

Finally the main financial news here in the UK has been this week’s spring statement. We spoke to chief economist Philip Shaw for his take on the UK chancellor’s recent report…

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