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2018 an Annus Horibilis for virtually every asset class

2018 an Annus Horibilis for virtually every asset class

This has been the worst year since the financial crisis for almost every asset class in the market, according to Michael Browne, fund manager at Martin Currie.

He said: "It's been a shocking year – something of an Annus horribilis for almost every asset class – and barring a rally late in December it will have fewer ‘up’ months for the UK specifically than any other year since 2008."

But, Mr Browne said if the world doesn't fall apart, equities are now very cheap.

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Mr Browne said he would expect UK equities to perform very well in 2018, if the Brexit turmoil ends.

He said: "If you look at the UK specifically, a number of areas could bounce very hard in the event of an end to the Brexit turmoil. They include housebuilders, as well as some of the mortgage and challenger banks.

"Uncertainty has weighed particularly hard on the housing market and from the banks' perspective, if this is resolved it could provide a boost."

The Bank of England stated yesterday (December 20) that if there is an “orderly” Brexit then it would put interest rates up on a regular basis next year and in the following years.

Mr Browne said rate rises would be likely to drive the value of sterling higher and boost the investment case for UK banks.

Mr Browne’s comments come in light of data from Hargreaves Lansdown showing that sentiment among its clients is at the lowest level since it began measuring the data in 1995.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The HL Investor Confidence Index hit a record low in December, with sentiment amongst UK DIY investors at its lowest ebb since the index was launched in 1995.

"This is mirrored in the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey, which shows global investors are now more pessimistic about the world economy than at any point since the financial crisis."

david.thorpe@ft.com