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April 18, 2017

Election: fever or fog?

Mrs May’s decision to call a General Election on June 8 had little immediate impact on financial markets.  Nor is it likely to cause any major wobbles over the next few weeks since the polls show a high likelihood of an increased parliamentary majority for the Conservatives. More interesting questions will arise during the course of the campaign. If, as expected, Labour plays its socialist cards well – the NHS, […]
March 17, 2017

The Great British Budget blunder

Philip Hammond’s U-turn on a proposed rise in National Insurance contributions for the self-employed is one of the biggest blunders ever by a Chancellor of the Exchequer. He promised to add £2 billion to government funding for crisis-hit social care, and thought he could get away with an NI rise to cover part of that cost because his predecessor George Osborne had said that a promise in the Conservative election […]
March 9, 2017

‘Soak the rich’ surprise from Spreadsheet Phil

Budgets are usually much more political than economic. Chancellor Philip Hammond – referred to in Westminster as ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ – is generally seen as a dullish ‘safe pair of hands’ type of chap. But it seems his political antennae are on the blink. He is getting it in the neck not just from the left-leaning media but from from the Tory press (especially the Daily Telegraph) and his own Conservative […]
February 22, 2017

The dangers of index investing

Writing in the Financial Times (17th February) the boss of fund management group Fundsmith, Terry Smith, asks why investors are pouring money into funds that track emerging stock market indices.  These tracker funds invest in shares according to their market capitalisation, so they invest most in the big companies, which in emerging markets are often inefficient and partly state-owned. Mr Smith says the ten largest emerging market companies earn well […]
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