Hot, hot, hot!!!

“Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself” – William Shakespeare

Despite the usual weather downers such as the tennis at Wimbledon or the start of the school holidays, July was a warm month pretty much anywhere you looked in the northern hemisphere. Global stock markets were hot too, led by the out-of-favour emerging markets and Continental Europe. Funny how all throughout June and July the aggregate investment flow data was profoundly negative for both regions…Continue reading

Decisions, decisions

“There are two seasons in Scotland: June and Winter” – Billy Connolly

I thought I would use Billy Connolly’s witticism about his homelandto highlight the essential debate in financial markets at the moment. During the last month, the UK’s most-quoted stock market index – helped by a rising oil price boosting energy sector shares – reached an all-time high. However, global trade tensions and European political risks dominated headlines. We may be entering June but for some observers we are on the cusp of a financial markets winter… and I think the new month will help answer many questions.Continue reading

May Day or ‘mayday’?

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be” – William Shakespeare

Welcome to the month of May, which always seems to be a pivotal month for investors and this year feels no different. It certainly starts off with a difference. Here in the UK, May Day is a celebration of the summer to come and a perfect excuse to put on your Morris bells, worship a Green Man and crown a May Queen. Meanwhile, in much of the rest of the world it is International Workers Day where you may want to swap your Morris bells for a red flag.Continue reading

Recent market turmoil

“In my mind, it’s always easier to do a sequel than an original” Steven Van Zandt

We are not even at the end of the first quarter of the year and global financial markets have racked up two bouts of significant volatility. Back in late January/early February the dominant fear was higher interest rates/bond yields as central bank stimulus programmes started to wane. In the last week or so, this has been augmented by a ratcheting up of concerns about global trade as proposed steel and aluminium tariffs from the US have threatened to lead to retaliatory actions from countries both in the European Union and Asia. Additional specific intellectual property protection concerns raised by the Americans towards their interactions with China just upped the tension.Continue reading


“I watch the ripples change their size… But never leave the stream” – David Bowie, ‘Changes’

So how was February for you? For many it would have been a bit of a shock with the global indices in aggregate posting their first monthly loss since the autumn of 2016, which is a long time ago. The
real question however is whether this heralds a new downward trend, whether this is just a new volatility reality or whether we should view this as a buying opportunity?Continue reading

Prepare to Beat the Bear

I often say that market corrections are frequent, normal, and not a reason for clients to change their investment strategy. However, not all clients are prepared psychologically for the experience of investing through market cycles with the inevitable ups and downs along the way. Short-term negative news can be very alarming however a long-term perspective has helped investors to calm their nerves, and see the importance of staying the course in a diversified portfolio. Returns long-term have been more than satisfactory.Continue reading

Everything in its right place

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it’ – Confucius

There is an old market expression that says ‘As goes January, so goes the year’. The historic data rationale for holding this view is decidedly mixed but global equity market investing adherents will be entering February feeling very excited. Simply put, January was a decidedly positive month for global equity investors, and it is easier to say which markets went down rather than quote the long list who had their best start to the year for a number of years.Continue reading

Despite Brexit…Can UK Equities and Bonds Have a Great 2018?

“Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed”   Abraham Lincoln

No matter what your starting point, if you are thinking or talking about the British economy or prospects for the UK financial markets, it does not take long for the issue of Brexit to come up. There are multifarious influences on any economy or financial market but, unsurprisingly for a deeply internationally integrated country like the UK, the status of trade legislation and diplomacy with its geographically most proximate – and integrated – economic ally materially matters.

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Finding out what fear is all about

“My powers are ordinary. Only my application brings me success” Isaac Newton

Many years ago I was told that if I found myself uttering the phrase that ‘investment was easy’ I should sell all my outstanding positions and go and sit in a darkened room and have a think about it all. These words came back to me a few days ago when I came across some information about the investing habits of one of the UK’s true historic geniuses Sir Isaac Newton, the mathematician, astronomer, theologian, physicist… and almost bankrupt investor.Continue reading

The UK is dancing all by itself

“The UK is participating a little less in this global upswing” Bank of England Governor Mark Carney

I pointed out in the most recent Investment Services Quarterly that over the past fifteen or twenty years October had a slightly rude reputation as a bad month for equity market investors. October 2017 will go down in the history books as not only being a positive month for almost all global investors, but additionally one which saw many well-regarded volatility measures continuing to bump along the bottom. Good returns and low volatility… this sounds like some form of investment nirvana.Continue reading

Top AIM pick from the previous quarter (Q3 2017): Abcam

Abcam has been a key constituent in the portfolio since its inception (01.01.2015), and has been a strong performer throughout the portfolio’s history. The stock has produced returns since inception of 125.8% and is a holding which we continue to anticipate further growth from over the long term.

Company Profile

Abcam is a global leader in the supply of life sciences tools, providing the research and clinical communities with tools and support. Continue reading

German election: Mrs Merkel and Europe rumble forward

 “Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?”  Robert Orben

Coalition politics sounds messy to anyone schooled in the American or British electoral systems, so Sunday’s news that – whilst German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her CDU/CSU party did top the polls but now may face months of negotiations to form a workable majority government – was immediately taken as a negative. Mrs Merkel herself has already observed that she had hoped her party would have done better but, unlike many other incumbent politicians in Western Europe seeking re-election in recent years, she at least emerged from the election with her primacy broadly unimpacted. For those in Germany, Europe and the broader world that look to her for leadership, the better news from yesterday’s events is that she will still very much be in control.Continue reading

After holidays it is game time

 “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children” Confucius

I am often asked what my favourite investment book is. Boringly, I always say the one I read in the first few weeks of my first term as an Economics undergraduate student, too many years ago to remember – ‘The Money Game’ by “Adam Smith”. The line in the book – talking specifically about the world of investing and financial markets – that struck me most all those years ago still has the power to move me, more than twenty years later: ‘the real object of the Game is not money, it is the playing of the Game itself’. Continue reading

Top AIM pick from the previous quarter (Q2 2017): Gateley Holdings

Gateley Holdings was added to the portfolio in the first quarter of this year, and has produced an encouraging set of returns for the portfolio since its addition. Over the quarter, the stock is up 25.8% while continuing to offer significant growth opportunities alongside adding an important diversification element to the portfolio.

Company Profile

Though the name may be new to you, Gateley Holdings became the UK’s first commercial law firm to float on the London Stock Exchange in June 2015. Continue reading

Top Blue Chip from the previous quarter (Q2 2017): IBSTOCK

Over the second quarter of 2017, Ibstock performed well as a result of continued strong demand for products and improvements in operational efficiency. Over the quarter, the stock generated returns of 21.02%, forming a return over the first 6 months of 2017 of 34.86%. The company is due to release its half-yearly financial statements later today, and we remain positive on the outlook for this company.

Company Profile

Ibstock is a UK-based, market leading construction materials company, engaged in the manufacturing of clay bricks and concrete products. Continue reading

Currencies and Hope

 “Flattery is a kind of bad money, to which our vanity gives us currency” Francois de La Rochefoucauld

July is often a month of contradictions with, for example, the lure of holidays for the world’s investors coinciding with heavy corporate reporting. Typically, July is a positive month for global stock markets, and if you are sitting in America having invested in some panEuropean opportunities, you would be congratulating yourself in the wisdom of your decision. A bit closer to home though, July 2017 proved to be an unusual month, with a near-rampant Euro providing some strong currency translation boosts for British or Swiss investors, whilst underlying broader Euro denominated indices edged down, despite Eurozone economic confidence levels reaching its highest level for a decade.Continue reading

UK election June 2017: May-hem

 “I went through absolute stress and mayhem. I couldn’t go out, because people were constantly on my back all the time” Cher

 Whilst popular music stars – like Cher in the quote above – can hide at times of strife this is not a luxury offered to politicians, and especially Prime Ministers like Theresa May who called the election just over six weeks ago at a time of a significant opinion poll lead, and closed the election period yesterday without a direct Conservative Party Parliamentary majority. All of this means the days of Parliamentary jockeying last seen by UK political watchers in the years before 2015 are inexorably back, and questions of whether Theresa May can stay as UK Prime Minister are necessarily circulating. Simply put, her political gamble in April has not paid off. May-hem indeed.Continue reading

Just about still travelling hopefully

  “Travelling expands the mind rarely” Hans Christian Andersen

As seen in every classic fairytale, much lies behind the regular everyday façade presented in the first few pages of a story. During May, the UK stock market took over the monthly performance leadership from a French equity index, anticipating the (now confirmed) election of President Macron, despite the UK’s own political vote looking to be a far closer event than most would have thought even a handful of weeks ago. Continue reading

Things I Learnt At Berkshire Hathaway AGM May 6th 2017:

Travelling to the Annual General Meeting of Berkshire Hathaway to hear Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger talk about their outlook on investment is probably one of the most rewarding and exciting trips any value investor could make.

How much longer Munger at 92 and Buffett at 86 years can keep going is anyone’s guess but there is certainly life in the grand old men of investment showing no difficulty in answering questions for over five hours in total. If the numbers attending (40,000 plus) demonstrated anything, it is that as long as they keep going, the crowds will keep coming to hear two of the most incredible investment minds of our time.

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Europe’s time in the sun

“Elections have consequences” -Scott Walker.

Whilst ‘Brenda from Bristol’ captivated the British public with her displeasure about the upcoming UK election, investors elsewhere in Europe were celebrating as the first round of the French Presidential contest appeared to continue the trend started by the Dutch vote in March of stepping away from the populist brink. The French market was the strongest performer among not only Western European markets, but in global mainstream equity markets during April as the pollsters for once recently got their predictions correct.Continue reading

Another election and lots of earnings

“’Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody” Franklin Pierce Adams

If 2016 brought us the Brexit referendum and the U.S. Presidential election, then European politics in 2017 is all about the ballots in the Netherlands, France and Germany, with a few Italian, Greek and embryonic Brexit discussions thrown in for good measure. Continue reading

Spring Budget- Our notes for Investors

This Budget was Mr Hammond’s first – and last – Spring Budget. From now on Budgets will take place in Autumn and there will be a financial statement each Spring. Thus, the next Budget is probably a little over eight months away although, as 2016 revealed, much can happen even over such a brief period.

The backdrop to this Budget was very much dictated by the events between March and November last year. In what proved to be his last Spring Budget, George Osborne performed a range of financial gymnastics to hang onto his one remaining borrowing target, the elimination of the budget deficit by 2019/20. Continue reading

Top AIM pick from the previous quarter (Q4 2016): Scapa Group

Despite a challenging environment, Scapa Group performed particularly well in Q4 of 2016 as a result of strong trading trends in its Healthcare and Industrial segments combined with growth through acquisition and foreign exchange benefits. Over the quarter, the stock is up 25.7%, and 58.2% over 2016. The company announced that after a strong performance so far this year, it should deliver higher returns than previously expected in its full year 2016 financial accounts.Continue reading

Our Key Tips for Investing in 2017

As we enter the New Year, there’s no better time to work on fine-tuning your financial plans for the future and reviewing your current investments. Our team at Raymond James Market Harborough recognise the importance of having a financial plan in place to achieve your financial goals, and we endeavour to help you every step of the way. We work together with clients in different stages of the investor life cycle to plan for a number of life events; including buying a house, retirement, and even when the time comes, we help to plan for the passing down of wealth to the next generation.

To help put you on the right track to achieving your financial goals, here are our key tips for investing in 2017. If you would like more information on our services, we are offering a free New Year review of your investments by our wealth management professionals. Why not start now on your journey to achieving your financial goals?Continue reading


The last Budget on 16 March now seems a distant memory from a past era. Back then the Chancellor was George Osborne, the Prime Minister was David Cameron, the UK looked likely to remain a member of the EU after 23 June and Donald Trump was not considered a serious US presidential candidate.

Wind forward just over eight months and there is a new Chancellor, a new Prime Minister and the UK is preparing for Brexit by March 2019 as President-elect Trump prepares to take office. The economics have changed more than a little, too, confounding a wide variety of expert forecasts:Continue reading


Company description: Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The Company is engaged in discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical products. The Company’s business segments include diabetes, obesity care, and biopharmaceuticals.

Competitive Advantage:

With almost 50% market share by volume of the global insulin market, Novo Nordisk is the leading provider of diabetes-care products in the world. The company’s global scale combined with significant barriers to new competition; provide a strong level of business protection for what we believe is a persistent business.Continue reading

Widespread shock as Donald Trump wins US Presidential Election: An update for our clients

Global markets were shocked yesterday morning as controversial Republican candidate Donald Trump was announced as the 45th President of the USA. The election race ended on Wednesday morning (UK time), with the state of Wisconsin pushing the Property Tycoon over the 270 vote threshold.

Markets had previously been pricing in a Clinton victory after the Democratic candidate was acquitted by the FBI following a second investigation into the email arrangements as secretary of state on Sunday 6th November, just two days before Election Day. In an unexpected turn of events, the Republicans won a ‘clean sweep’ victory, taking control of the Senate, the House of Representatives and also the Supreme Court.Continue reading

President-Elect Trump: The View From Europe

‘Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?’ – Robert Orben

Political watching from a European time zone in 2016 has all been about the hour from 2am to 3am (London time). In late June, consensus expectations of a Brexit referendum ‘remain’ vote were quashed, as ‘leave’ surprisingly triumphed. It was around a similar time earlier today that the seemingly iron-clad grip Hillary Clinton had on the Presidential vote started to slip away, much to widespread astonishment here in Europe.

Prior to the last year or two, President-elect Donald Trump was famous for a couple of matters in Europe: his role in the American version of The Apprentice and his interest in Scottish golf course development. Today he is a couple of months or so away from taking the most powerful political office in the world.Continue reading

M&G Property Portfolio to Resume Trading on 4th November

The M&G Property Portfolio held by many of our clients entered a temporary suspension of trading on the 5th July due to uncertainty in the market.  Since its suspension, our investment team has been monitoring the Commercial property market within the wider macroeconomic context and we have received regular updates on the progress of the fund in bringing about the resumption of trading. We recently received an update from M&G CEO William Nott that the fund is now due to resume trading at midday on Friday 4th November. Continue reading

Top Blue Chip from the previous quarter (Q3 2016): Royal Dutch Shell

Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS) is an Anglo-Dutch multinational integrated oil and gas company which explores and extracts crude oil and natural gas around the globe. RDS, headquartered in the Netherlands, was recently named the 5th largest corporation in the world in terms of revenue in the 2016 Fortune Global 500 list. The company sells a number of different products, including gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, marine fuel, lubricants, bitumen and sulphur in around 70 countries.

RDS was added to our larger discretionary portfolios around March this year after a significant decline in the oil price presented us with an opportunity to buy in at reduced prices. Continue reading

Top AIM pick from the previous quarter (Q3 2016): Telit Communications PLC

Telit Communications PLC is a UK based technological company operating in the Communications and Networking industry. In short, it specialises in the development, manufacture and distribution of communication modules which allow machines, devices and vehicles to communicate on wireless networks. Telit has been a constituent of the AIM portfolio since its inception in January 2015, and it is a company which we continue to view favourably going forward.Continue reading