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Multi-Asset Investing - October 2013



    The summer has indeed been positive – not least because of the copious amounts of sunshine. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr) upwardly revised the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) figures by 0.3 percentage points in both 2013 and 2014 to 1.2 and 1.8 per cent, respectively, while the OECD growth forecast surged to 1.5 per cent for 2013, up from an earlier estimate of 0.8 per cent. Niesr cites the main cause as “a rise in the prospects for consumer spending growth”.

    While growth has slowed in key emerging market economies, particularly China, Niesr’s outlook for global growth remains positive, with expectations of 3.1 per cent this year, and 3.6 per cent in 2014.

    It states: “The modest improvement of global growth projected for next year is expected to be supported by the maintenance of highly accommodative monetary policies in key advanced economies, by the fiscal stimulus being implemented in Japan, and by the waning of fiscal drag in the United States and the euro area.”

    Of course, events remain that will keep investors on their toes for the rest of this year – the ongoing euro crisis, the outlook for US fiscal policy, geopolitical tensions in the Middle and Far East, and rebalancing challenges in China.

    For advisers, the pressure is on. With increasing amounts of confidence, both from political leaders and from the wider stockmarkets, making the right asset allocation decisions for the medium term could be difficult.

    Jupiter’s Ian McVeigh, manager of the UK Growth fund, believes many stocks with strongly UK-biased exposure have performed very well.

    But he adds: “The question for us is whether the recovery is now fully priced in or whether there is further to go. We are keeping a close eye on Lloyds where a placing seems imminent. We will be very interested to see how it is structured. The company has the capacity to pay large dividends in coming years and should be attractive to many on that basis.”

    Barclays Wealth and Investment Management’s chief investment officer Kevin Gardiner says that “it is a safe bet that nerves will be stretched as data and central bank comments ebb and flow”, but adds: “Ongoing economic growth is not dependent on central bank support, but still-high bond prices probably are.

    “We also think that those eurozone risks are containable, and that the narrow economic implications of what is happening in Egypt and Syria are limited, in spite of the high cost in wider, human terms. As a result, we continue to think that developed equity markets offer better prospective risk-adjusted returns than bonds, both tactically and strategically. For clients who are currently under-invested in stocks, and whose financial circumstances and personalities permit, we advise keeping this point in mind in the noisy weeks ahead.”

    Jenny Lowe is features editor at Investment Adviser

    In this special report


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    1. What value of government-backed bonds is the US Federal Reserve buying every month?

    2. By how much has the MSCI Europe ex UK index underperformed the MSCI World index since 2007?

    3. And how much has it underperformed the MSCI USA index?

    4. Of the 22 property-related firms held across the 10 UK mid-cap funds survyed by Investment Adviser, how many have posted share-price gains of more than 25 per cent in 2013?

    5. Having started the year at around $90 a barrell, what has the oil price spiked to?

    6. And what high did it reach in 2008, according to Mr Birrell?

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