Blog

Chelsea's blogs are written by our research team and, as well as being published here, are all published on other third party investment websites. They are meant for your information and do not constitute investment advice.

Just how biased are you?

I’m sure we’d all like to think we are balanced and rational investors. In reality, though, as in every walk of life, we are susceptible to behavioural biases that can, at times, influence our decision-making.

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Plastic pollution: investing for a cleaner world

When plastic and financial services are discussed in the same breath, we often presume the conversation is about credit cards. But, as the war on plastics intensifies, pollution, waste management and other environmental and social issues are becoming more integral in the investment discussion.

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Unsung heroes vs celebrated veterans: fund managers we back

When it comes to fund management, experience can be key – especially when it comes to investing throughout a market cycle. However, the number of funds that have been run successfully by the same manager for a decade or more are few and far between because, as in all work places, fund managers move between jobs and companies.

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Five funds that do the decision-making for you

Making a decision can be difficult and fraught with consequences: which school to apply to for your children, where to go on holiday, which energy provider to switch to... Sometimes the difficulty is down to simply having too many options; sometimes there is no obvious answer and the pros and cons of each option balance each other out.

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ISAs: the investor's no-brainer

It's not often the tax man gives us money – or at least doesn't take it – and one of the most generous allowances we receive is that of the ISA. Here are four reasons why we think making the most of this tax-wrapper is a no-brainer:

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Four types of income for your ISA

If you're looking for some ideas on how to generate attractive level of income from your investments, the good news is that there is plenty of choice: from UK dividend paying companies right through to emerging market governments bonds, there is bound to be a fund out there that fits the bill. To make life easier, we've identified four funds which, between them, offer a variety of different income streams.

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Where the experts are investing this ISA season

Sometimes it can be hard to decide where to invest an ISA allowance, particularly if time is running out and the end of the tax year is fast approaching. To get some ideas, we asked the experts at Chelsea how they have positioned their ISAs this tax year and where they are seeing the best opportunities.

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Helping you avoid costly tax-year end mistakes

Leaving things to the last minute is not unusual. Whether it is homework, dissertations, tax returns or topping up your ISA, most of us are guilty of procrastinating in some area of our life and then having to do important things in a rush.

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The importance of dividend growth

Over the past decade, exceptionally low interest rates have forced many cash savers into the stock market in the search for a better return. For those needing a decent level of income today, funds with high yields can be a good option. However, for those investing for the longer term, funds that can consistently grow their dividends could be a better alternative. This is because if you can invest in a fund providing meaningful dividend growth, your spending power, and therefore standard of living, should increase in the future – it allows you to keep pace with inflation.

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Trump's steel tariff and its impact on your investments

President Trump is once again creating waves - and another vacancy at the White House. Gary Cohn, his top economic adviser, resigned this week having been unable to persuade Trump against imposing import tariffs of 25% and 10% on steel and aluminium, respectively.

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High-yielding income options for your ISA

When it comes to earning an income from your investments, there are various options you can consider. Firstly, you can look at the different asset classes that yield an income. Then you can look at whether you want to your income to be at a high level or whether you prefer it to be growing. Different investors will have different priorities.

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Global dividend payments break new records

Dividend payments around the world soared in 2017, with 11 out of 41 countries breaking records, according to the latest Global Dividend Index report from Janus Henderson. A huge $1.252 trillion was paid out to global shareholders last year, with underlying growth of 6.8%* and every region of the globe seeing dividends increase on aggregate.

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Five ways to invest in falling markets

Every investor should know that their capital is at risk – after all, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Another cliché which lends itself to investing is that whatever goes up must come down, and this is certainly true when it comes to stock markets.

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Naughty and nice investments in 2017

It's that time of the year again. The fairy lights have been arduously untangled, Michael Buble's dulcet tones are resonating throughout every single shopping centre in the UK and clothes which fitted perfectly just a couple of months ago are suddenly feeling snug.

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The rise of the robots

In today's Autumn Budget, Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, declared that the world was on the brink of a technical revolution, with Britain at the forefront.

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Three reasons to invest in VCTs ahead of the Budget

The Autumn Budget is now just a week away. Whether it's the excitement of playing along to 'buzzword bingo', guessing the colour of the Chancellor's tie, or you want to know whether filling up the car or going to the pub is going to cost you more... it’s one of the most highly-anticipated events of the year for anyone genuinely interested in their finances.

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Indian equities shining brightly

I recently learnt that the first day of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is dedicated to celebrating prosperity. This is an official holiday in India, where I think they have good cause for celebration. Despite the impact of de-monetisation and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which have both had a short-term negative impact on GDP, India remains one of the fastest-growing major economies.

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Meeting a contrarian contrarian

Investment processes – important as they are – can be very dull and repetitive. Indeed, if I had a pound for every time I'd heard a fund manager describe themselves as 'bottom-up contrarian' or a 'pure growth stock-picker' I'd have likely retired by now and be sitting on a beach somewhere sipping a cocktail, rather than writing this blog on a grey day in Fulham.

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The value of reinvesting dividends

First impressions can be deceiving. Looking at the table below, investors could be disappointed at the performance of the UK stock market in recent history – particularly over three and ten years. 

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Trump-resistant renewable energy

Despite appeals from foreign leaders, the CEOs of some of the world's largest companies (including Exxon, Apple, Alphabet and Tesla), and even his own children, President Trump decided to walk away from the Paris Climate Change Agreement last month.

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Luxury brands: paying over the odds or a sound investment?

I'll admit that I'm not new to the concept of accessorising, but having just spent the past couple of weekends looking for a new car with my husband, I have to say I hadn't realised it extended to automotives. Who knew that BMW has partnered with Montblanc to make the “'next generation in luxury wearable technology”? Certainly not me. Apparently having a stylish key you can wear on your wrist that will open car doors and start the engine for you is a good reason to pick the new 5 series! I think not. I just need a bigger boot.

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Investing in uncertain times

We live in an increasingly unpredictable and changing world. Last year in particular was full of surprises and, as one fund manager pointed out recently, if you are participating in a pub quiz in 10 years’ time and are stuck for an answer, just shout out '2016’ and there will be a decent chance that you get the question right.

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Five tips for inflation-proofing your pension

According to the Office of National Statistics, consumer price inflation (CPI) rose to 1.6% in November 2016, its highest level since July 2014. Although this is still below the Bank of England's 2% target (the level they think is a sign of a healthy, growing economy), it suggests that inflation is finally starting to make a come back.

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Five tips for inflation-proofing your pension

According to the Office of National Statistics, consumer price inflation (CPI) rose to 1.6% in November 2016, its highest level since July 2014. Although this is still below the Bank of England's 2% target (the level they think is a sign of a healthy, growing economy), it suggests that inflation is finally starting to make a come back.

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Naughty and nice investments in 2016

The festive season is well and truly upon us and my childrens' Father Christmas list had been growing at an exponential rate, so I'm rather glad that it has now been posted. On the whole they've been nice this year, so Christmas morning should be fun.

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Will the oil price improve in 2017 (and beyond)?

 You may have seen the news last week that OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) members have agreed to reduce their oil production for at least the first six months of 2017. Unexpectedly, non-OPEC oil producers such as Russia have also agreed to lower targets. So will this mean a higher oil price in 2017?

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What's the best way to help your kids through university?

As parents around the country make last minute trips to the shops, spending what seems like a small fortune on new school shoes, uniform and stationery, ahead of the return to classrooms next week, it's perhaps sobering to consider that by the end of their education, many children will have debts of £44,0001

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Asset allocation: ignoring rules of thumb when it comes to your retirement portfolio

Our investment portfolios can, and should, change a lot over time. When we are younger we can afford to take more risk. After all, we have decades in which to save and time to recover from any stock market crashes. As we get older and start approaching our retirement, we then start to 'de-risk' as we can't take as many chances with our money. But what does de-risking actually mean and how should we go about it?

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Investing in Asia: it's not just China and Japan

Uncertainty over China has put some people off Asia in recent years, but long-term investors ignore the region at their peril. In my view, recurring themes of young populations, growing middle classes and well-educated masses make the potential returns worth a bit of extra risk.

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The case for investing in the US

The US remains the world’s single largest economy. Indeed, at the end of 2014 its nominal gross domestic product (GDP) was more than US$17.4 trillion, according to the World Bank. That’s more than the total GDP of France, Germany, Japan and the UK put together.

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Lifetime ISA – a Trojan horse for long-term saving, or a blessing?

The arrival of the new Lifetime ISA in April 2017 seems likely to be a harbinger of wider change in the UK’s approach to long-term, and indeed retirement, saving. The creation of the new ISA has been widely acclaimed by the popular press, but will it do more harm than good as it seems poised to impact on existing policies, such as Automatic Enrolment into pension saving?

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Transformation of the FTSE 100

Having peaked at 7,103 on 27th April 2015, the FTSE 100, the leading UK share index, fell as low as 5,536 earlier this month – a drop of 22%. It has since risen slightly and, at the time of writing, is around the 6,000 mark.

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Are you invested in a consistently underperforming fund?

This time last year, the price of oil had fallen to a six-year low, Europe was having deflation issues, the UK government was trying to woo voters and Aberdeen was the worst offending company in the Chelsea RedZone – our regular review of the most consistently underperforming funds – with 10 funds on the list.

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Oil – contrarian ‘Spring’ bet or April fool?

Last week, the price of a barrel of oil fell below $30  – a fall of almost 80% from its peak of $147 in July 2008, with most of the fall coming in the past 18 months. Some analysts have suggested it could fall as low as $10 per barrel, at which point oil would become cheaper than some bottled water!

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Six reasons why 2016 could be another volatile year for investments

2015 wasn't a great year for investments. Despite the UK stock markets hitting an all-time high in April, the FTSE 100 ended the year almost flat. Other develop markets fared a bit better, but emerging markets continued their downward path, losing almost 10%.  Bonds, on average, made nothing either*. Can we expect a better 2016? Personally I'm quite cautious and think the year could be just as volatile. In no particular order, here are six reasons why:

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Five reasons European markets could beat the US in 2016

The US market has been a great place to invest since the financial crisis began in 2008. It has  outperformed Europe in six of the past eight years. From 1st Jan 2008 until now, the European market is up just 17.39% compared with a rise of 107.9% in the US. A remarkable difference.

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2016: Time to batten down the hatches

2016 could be volatile. The US has finally started raising interest rates and the UK could be next. No one expects the four usual 0.25% increases in short succession, which usually mark the start of a rate rise cycle, but markets don't like the unknown and that is what we are facing as quantitative tightening (QT) begins.

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Naughty and nice investments in 2015

The festive season is well and truly upon us and my childrens' Father Christmas list had been growing at an exponential rate, so I'm rather glad that it has now been 'posted'. On the whole they've been nice this year, so Christmas morning should be fun.  

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Trend investing

You'd think it would be simple, wouldn't you? Identify a long-term trend, invest your money in a company (or companies) that is playing this theme, and sit back and wait for the next 30 years or so. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

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US income funds

It's a well-known fact that it's difficult to find a good, actively-managed US equity fund, which consistently outperforms the index. It's even more difficult to find a good US equity fund that produces a decent yield. Most struggle to pay 2%, which is approximately half the amount of many UK equity income funds.

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Oil – black gold or fools gold?

If you are anything like me, you get too many emails every single day and, in a futile attempt to keep on top of them, have a 'to read later' file on your computer. So it's always good when one hits your inbox that has an interesting enough title that it gets read immediately.

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Where Next for China?

I've spoken to a lot of fund managers about China, and the general consensus is that China will be OK, but the contrarian in me can't help feeling a bit uncomfortable that fund managers don't seem more worried. Nobody really wants to consider the possibility that the situation in China might deteriorate. Unemployment in China is never mentioned and, even though many agree the growth data may be exaggerated, I've never even heard anyone consider the possibility of a Chinese recession at some point. There seems to be a natural unconscious tendency to support the view that China is all right, perhaps because the alternative is too discomforting to consider.

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Frontier markets – Vietnam

In the third and penultimate blog in my mini-series on frontier markets, I will be looking at Vietnam – a country many still think of in terms of its eponymous war with the US in the 1970s, or the destination of choice for 'gap years', rather than as an investment opportunity. However, for many reasons, it is now being dubbed the 'new China' of the Southeast Asia region. So what is drumming up such adulation?

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The best and worst of fund management

My day job is basically interviewing fund managers, trying to identify the ones I think will do the best for my clients. Without wanting to sound too cocky, I'm not too bad at it either – with the help of the other guys on  my research team, the funds chosen for our Core Selection list (the funds we think should be at the heart of people's portfolios) have, on aggregate beaten the benchmark (the IA Flexible sector) by more than 60% over the past 14 years*.

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Taking a look at Poland

It might come as a surprise to some people that Poland is still considered to be an emerging market, let alone a frontier market. It's the sixth largest economy in Europe, has low levels of public debt and has experienced stable growth throughout the past decade - in spite of the global recession and ongoing eurozone woes. But a frontier market it is.

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Lumps, bumps and buying on the dips

Well it's been an exciting few days in global stock markets - if rollercoasters are your entertainment of choice, that is. If you're not so keen then you would be forgiven for replacing the word 'exciting' with 'worrying'. It's never nice to see your investments fall in value. Even less so, when they drop by 10% seemingly overnight.

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Iran - a new frontier

With China imploding, Latin America in heavy decline and Russia seemingly on a path of global exclusion, the emerging market growth of yesterday is looking increasingly unattractive. So where could emerging market managers turn to now? What is the next generation of countries to move into the investment spotlight? In the first of a new series, we look at the next generation of emerging markets and see what opportunities lie ahead for investors hoping to get to the frontier of the investment world.

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The secret currency war

Since the financial crisis, countries have secretly been trying to devalue their currencies to make their economies more competitive. For a long while China was the punching bag in a secret currency war. The United States, UK, Europe and Japan all engaged in quantitative easing (QE) and devalued their currencies versus China. This helped their economies stay competitive and enabled them to export billions of pounds worth of goods to China. Chinas internal growth was able to absorb the deflationary weakness of the rest of the world for the past few years. Now that’s no longer the case and China is fighting back. A week or so ago, China shocked world markets by devaluing its currency. Stephen King, an economist at HSBC, warns that the Yuan devaluation breaks the last line of global economic defence. 'World authorities have run out of ammunition as rates remain stuck at zero'.*

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Characteristics of investment success

Investing isn't easy. Even the best fund managers hit bad patches and their investors have had to show immense mental strength in the face of some heavy losses. Despite this, over the long term, funds with certain characteristics can do extremely well.

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Active Share – the Holy Grail of fund comparison?

Active management is a way of running a portfolio in order to try to outperform an index or benchmark. It is characterised by relying on a manager's stock-picking skills, believing they have the abilities to identify the best stocks available and generate a higher return from them, thus outperforming a benchmark. These funds often have higher management fees and ongoing charges than passive/index fund managers - those who aim to match the benchmark - in order to justify the more frequent trading and deeper analysis needed.

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Five fund managers you should have followed

In the asset management business there's a lot of competition to attract star fund managers. A fund group will do just about anything to steal a great manager from their rival. This means fund managers often move from one group to another. That's fine if you're the fund manager but it makes it very difficult for investors to keep up. In the past month two star managers have announced they are leaving their existing funds.

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UK active managers crush passive funds to defy academics

Investors are increasingly being encouraged to buy tracker funds which only seek to match a stock index, rather than trying to beat it. Academics and passive investment companies have been pushing the idea that we would all be better off in these funds because of their lower charges. A YouTube documentary, advocating passive investing, now has over a 100,000 hits. The result of this marketing push and lower costs has been a surge in tracker investments. Passive funds now account for 25% of the US market and 11% of the UK market.*

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Why the case for investing in Japan remains strong

We have been backing Japanese equities for the past two or three years, since Prime Minister Abe’s “three arrows” of fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms began. Arrows one and two have proved effective and, after decades of false dawns, a stimulus-pumped Japanese equity market has finally started to deliver strong returns.

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Bringing financial education to the masses

The surprise majority win of the conservatives last week has resulted in a number of key roles changing hands. Some have yet to be decided, whilst others are already known. One of which is the appointment of Ros Altmann, a familiar commentator in our industry, and a champion for pensioners, who has been appointed pensions minister.

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Convertible bonds explained

In today's low interest rate environment, investors need to make maximum use of all available asset classes when they construct their portfolios. One, often under appreciated asset class are convertible bonds. A convertible bond is simply a bond which can potentially be converted to shares.

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Changing allocation to meet retirement needs

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) one in three children born today will live to be 100. Those readers with a 'glass half full' attitude, or those who are familiar with the eight wonder of the world, compounding, might say that this gives our children longer to save a decent retirement pot.

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Basic rules of investing

Many ordinary people dislike the idea of investing in the stock market and it's not hard to see why. Over the past 15 years we've seen constant negative headlines. We've witnessed two huge market crashes, with the end of the tech bubble in 1999 and the recent financial crisis of 2008. Both resulted in almost a 50% decline in the UK stock market. Every few months we hear of another story of companies blowing up. The latest examples are Tesco, Balfour Beatty and Quindell, and there have also been the Madoff and Enron fraud scandals!

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The Savers' Revolution: Where to invest, a SIPP or an ISA?

The changes announced in the March budget were good news for investors, and the Savers' Revolution looks set to continue. George Osborne's latest move was to scrap the 55% death duty currently levied on pensions. So, where has this left investors? Should we be putting our money in an ISA or a SIPP? The wrong choice might cost you thousands of pounds, so it's worth researching.

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Property Securities – a decent home for your money?

Property has become fashionable once again over the previous 18 months. The once maligned sector, which was characterised by large drawdowns and daily liquidity being suspended, in some cases, during the financial crisis, has two funds in the top 10 for net inflows in the seven months up until the end July of 2014.

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Finding a good emerging markets fund is becoming increasingly difficult

Emerging market equities make up an important part of my investments. They’ve offered investors some exceptional returns over the long term, all be it at higher volatility. For the past few years the asset class has struggled, however, as money has flown back to the developed world after the US began tapering its quantitative easing programme. It has done better recently; whilst the UK stock market has been almost flat for the year, emerging markets have returned 10.73% year to date.*

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Water – an investment opportunty

I wouldn't be a true Brit if I didn't mention the weather in a blog. We complain about it all the time – it's too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry. Whatever it is, it is notoriously difficult to predict and we often get it wrong.

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Draghi: two years on

On 26th July 2012, amidst worries about a eurozone breakup and countries being forced to exit the euro, Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), announced that he would do ‘whatever it would take’ to save the euro.

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In defence of active management

A study by the Cass Business School recently claimed that just one in a hundred fund managers consistently beat their benchmark. It suggested that investors would be better off investing in passive index trackers, which charge lower fees.

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Problems in Iraq bring crude oil back into the limelight

Until recently, the price of crude oil had enjoyed one of its most stable periods, with tensions following the toppling of Gaddafi in 2011 abating and both demand and supply remaining steady in the years following. However, with rise of ISIS in Iraq threatening to push one of the world's biggest oil producers into civil war, the oil price has moved out of its recent trading range and has led to market commentators taking another look at the asset class, both in terms of the oil price itself and oil equities.

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Has Obamacare been a success?

On 1st January this year, Obamacare came into effect and, with it, the potential to bring more than 20 million more people into the US healthcare system. At the time, I asked a number of healthcare specialist managers, and more generalist US equity managers, if they thought Obamacare would be the 'cure-all' for the sector.

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Has Draghi done enough to keep Eurozone on path to recovery?

Just under two years ago, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, promised he'd do whatever it would take to save the Euro. His words alone seemed to be enough for markets and until now, he has not been tested. Last week, however, he started to make good on his promise.

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Will the FTSE ever break through the 7,000 level?

Opinion on where equity markets are headed is really quite divided at the moment. On the one hand, Richard Buxton of Old Mutual, a very experienced and successful UK equity manager, whom I rate highly,  has said he believes we are at the beginning of a long-term bull market. The guys at Neptune are equally bullish.

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The desperate search for yield

The hunt for yield is getting even harder for investors seeking income. Any hope that the recovery in the UK economy would encourage the Bank of England to raise rates was blown away last Wednesday as it was made it clear that rates would not rise until next year at the earliest.

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Is there a bubble in high yield bonds?

There has been some talk in the media in recent months of a “bubble” forming in the high yield end of the bond market. I thought now would be a good time to evaluate the outlook for high yield bonds going forward and what it means for UK investors.

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New data suggests that corporate spending could be about to pick up

Despite the squeeze on budgets, caused by rising inflation and slow wage growth, consumers have been the major driving force behind Britain's rapid economic recovery.  Figures out today (29th April) show that the UK economy has grown by a further 0.8% in the first quarter of this year, fuelled by unexpectedly strong consumer spending in March. While in general this is good news, it has raised concerns that the recovery remains too dependent on unsustainable growth in consumer spending. The recovery needs to broaden out.

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Is now the time to invest in the ASEAN region?

Investors' obsession with China and Japan has meant many of us have overlooked the potential of the ASEAN region, the association of South East Asian nations, made up of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and now also Brunei, Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

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How to choose the right fund for your ISA

There are now just a few days left to take advantage of your annual ISA allowance (£11,520 investment ISA allowance for 2013/2014). With the paltry rates on offer for cash ISAs, many investors are looking to invest in funds instead.

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China – Meltdown or Slowdown?

I'm often asked about China as an investment opportunity. Mainly because its economy has such an impact on both emerging and Asian equities, but also increasingly more on global equities.

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Hailing ISA independence day!

ISAs are approaching their 15th anniversary and, over the years, any tweaks to the wrapper have generally been disadvantageous. The 2014 Budget has finally reversed that trend and the ISA has become a formidable tool for savers and investors.

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Still bullish on Japan in the medium term?

This time last year markets were swooning over the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe's, package of reforms, known as Abenomics. In fact, the Nikkei 225 was the top-performing developed market index in 2013 and, coming into 2014, many market commentators, including Chelsea, tipped the Japanese market for further gains. However, the Nikkei has traded sideways for the last few months and there is now talk that the big asset allocators, such as global macro hedge funds, are starting to lose patience. I thought now would be a good time to re-evaluate the prospects for Japanese equities and analyse what might be the catalyst to push the Japanese market higher.

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Will emerging market woes continue?

For much of 2013 the world's big stock markets had a spring in their step, with America's main index, the S&P 500, and Japan's Nikkei 225 leading the way, with gains of 30% and 57%* respectively. However, the story in emerging markets was somewhat different, with the sector posting a loss for the year, and some markets seeing steep declines, with the MSCI Brazil, for example, down more than 20%*.

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Where will the money be invested this ISA season?

As we head into ISA season, I always think it is interesting to see what our investors are buying. The last couple of years have seen a slight swing away from bonds to equities, but in general, the trend has been pretty similar: UK Equity Income funds have been the most popular, followed by UK All Companies and Strategic Bond, then Asia Pacific ex Japan and Global equity funds making up the top five selling sectors.

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Facebook's 10th anniversary

The technology sector has always been one of quite rapid change and exciting opportunities. Just 10 years ago, in 2004, many people still didn't have a mobile phone and the thought that within just a few years you would be able to use one for surfing the internet, taking photos and paying bills, was beyond most people's comprehension.

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Is there a UK residential property bubble?

2013 saw the start of a full recovery in the UK housing market. The government has done everything possible to resuscitate the market and last year its efforts finally worked. According to the Nationwide prices rose by 8.4% in 2013, that compared to a 1.1% fall in 2012. Price changes continue to vary widely across the country. London prices rose over 15% last year compared to a rise of just 1.9% in the North of England where the increase was lowest.

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Property: another option for income investors

With interest rates still at record lows, and tapering in the US set to begin this month, the worries over bonds and rising yields leave income investors in a bit of a quandary: higher yields mean more income but could result in capital losses. So what other options do they have?

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