James Coney  

New leadership may boost the UK markets

James Coney

James Coney

Invest for the economics, not the politics: that is what I am always fond of saying.

So, putting that to one side, I cannot help wondering whether Boris Johnson, Bojo, the blond buffoon, our new prime minister, whatever you want to call him, might actually be good for the markets. 

I have never been a great believer in all the Brexit doom-mongering – most of it is political game-playing.

Markets change, businesses adapt, costs escalate, red tape rises and falls like the tides and, at the end of it, all good companies survive and bad ones flounder.

Maybe I am oversimplifying capitalism, but the ability to be able to move with the times is one of the things that keeps businesses alive – the British consumer adapts.

We really do have one of the most agile and creative economies in the world. Economics, not politics.

The great change from Mr Johnson will of course be Brexit, with Michael Gove warning a few days ago that full-scale planning for no deal was happening.

The market inevitably responded to this by adding 136 points to the FTSE 100 in a day, while the pound fell to a two-year low.

As these two factors are inextricably linked given that so much of the earnings for the FTSE 100 comes from overseas, you can see why the risk of no deal would actually bolster the blue-chip index. 

Despite a decade of rising prices, the UK market is actually undervalued if you look at price to earnings. It is actually priced a bit more like an emerging market.

And if you compare what has happened to British share prices with those of the American market under US President Donald Trump, we are lagging behind even further.

Listen to the murmurings of Whitehall too and you can hear the spending taps being turned on.

The cautious and quiet certainty of Philip Hammond has been replaced by the ambitious, growth-focused banker brain of Sajid Javid.

Those George Osborne deficit targets are likely to be well and truly forgotten. 

There are calls for more spending on social care, more on childcare, promises of a little extra for education – only increasing national debt is going to help us achieve this.

This is a new Conservative party that wants growth despite the odds. You can see why the new leadership may be good for the market.

My personal hope is that they prove to be tax cutters, freeing up wealth so we can all plough a little more back into the UK.

Then again, let’s invest for the politics, not the Bojo-nomics. Diversify in asset classes, diversify round the globe and cut your risk and exposure to debt.

That is the strategy that gets you through the market, no matter who is in power.