Political risk reared its head again this week. After the election of centrist Emmanuel Macron in France soothed worries, the sacking of FBI director James Comey by US president Donald Trump revived them.
There were also worries that Trump’s economic stimulus plans could be stagnating. Although the US market moved ahead less than most, shares were mostly strong worldwide.
Emerging markets generally outperformed. The price of oil, whose weakness during recent weeks has been a worry, bounced somewhat. The gold price, which has also been slightly weak since mid-April, stabilised.
China has returned to the forefront of investor attention, amid signs that a recovery in the world’s second largest economy is decelerating, with recent figures on manufacturing and producer-price inflation missing economists’ estimates.
At the same time, Chinese authorities have taken steps to curb risks such as excessive lending by banks. These measures have helped cool investors’ enthusiasm and Chinese domestic shares have slipped this month.
Still, the measures could help thwart a larger market wobble, similar to that experienced in China in early 2016, thereby improving its longer-term outlook.
We live in volatile times… but not if you go by the usual measures. The VIX index of short-term US market volatility is at its lowest level since 1995, European volatility is at its lowest since 2006, while FTSE 100 volatility is hovering at all-time lows.
These measures have long been used by investors and market commentators to track market nerves.
The value of investments and the income they produce can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.
The annual Britain’s Top Tradesperson competition has been launched by Screwfix.
The event is held to highlight and recognise the great job that plumbers, electricians, carpenters, builders and many more tradesmen and women do in the region.
By entering Britain’s Top Tradesperson 2017, tradespeople have the chance to be rewarded for the outstanding work they deliver to customers by keeping homes and businesses in the area in tip-top condition.
This year’s winner not only gets to take home the coveted title of Britain’s Top Tradesperson 2017, which will transform their business, but they also win a brand new £32,000 (OTR) Toyota PROACE or Hilux.
Entries are accepted until June 4, with regional finalists selected and facing off later that month.
To enter you can go into the Screwfix store in Pinchbeck or Bourne and pick up a form or or go to screwfix.com/btt, where you can also find further details.