A Quarter of Two Halves
The last three months can broadly be divided into two parts, a strong market rally in April and May, followed by a sharp sell-off in June. Despite high levels of volatility, markets enjoyed a strong start to the second quarter.
As a keen driver I was unsurprised this week by the news that Devon and Cornwall face a bill of approaching £1b to fix the potholes in our roads. All too frequently I find myself having to steer around deep potholes on our rutted roads. The last few weeks have certainly given investors a reality call and served as a useful reminder that markets are not a one-way street with falls of over 10% in stock markets.
Despite the best efforts of the government to rebalance the economy over the last few years most of us continue to measure our wealth in terms of house prices. Many commentators had predicted a sharp fall in prices, but in fact the ‘average’ UK house now costs £233,061, the latest rise taking prices above the February 2008 peak, according to the recent LSL Acadametrics survey.
This weekend will see the crowning of Miss England and Mr England at the Riviera International conference centre in Torquay. Devon beauty, Charlotte Holmes is the reigning Miss England and she will hand over the crown to her successor on Saturday. The organisers of the event are keen to point out the strong focus on raising funds for charity under the Miss World’s ‘Beauty with a Purpose' banner.
After seemingly weeks of dull weather, the warm sunshine of the last week in Devon and Cornwall reminds us that Summer is on its way. Unlike many commentators I view this week’s new lending figures from the Bank of England with guarded optimism. The good news is that money is starting to flow more freely, with an increase in lending to individuals and an improving trend in corporate lending, particularly by Barclays and Nationwide, which have together lent an additional £11b over the last year.
6 June 2013: A Professional Women’s 'Lunch and Learn' event is to turn into a regular occurrence after it was given a big thumbs-up from its delegates. The lunch event was held at Seabrook Clark Wealth Management's office in Exeter.
I have always taken a keen interest in history and particularly if the past can offer any useful lessons for investing. In 1986, ‘Big Bang’ marked the start of deregulation of the City and the move from human to electronic trading reflecting the pressures of globalisation. Until then, we are led to believe that the City had been a more genteel place, where each Summer traders would take time out to watch cricket, Wimbledon and Ascot.
We have more than 11,500 pages of tax legislation, the longest in the world. Little wonder then that the Office of Tax Simplification is tasked with streamlining our 400 tax reliefs, allowances and exemptions. Whilst the ‘tax tail should never wag the investment dog’, tax is nevertheless a key consideration for financial planning. After all a pound of tax saved is at least as good as a pound of investment growth.