Stock markets worldwide gained for a third week in sterling terms, propelling the MSCI All Country World to within spitting distance of a record peak.
This amid gains in so-called ‘defensive’ stocks that tend to produce stable earnings and dividends.
Bond markets also advanced, as the European Central Bank reiterated it would not hasten to unwind its stimulus programme and the US dollar continued to weaken.
The latter move came as a US investigation into possible ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia expanded its scope, intensifying the problems he faces.
Trade negotiations between the US and China have collapsed without agreement. Unusually, no joint statement was issued after the meetings held in Washington and a press conference was cancelled.
Behind the failed talks is a persistent, long-term trade imbalance. China has been highly successful in exporting goods such as electronics, produced by workers on lower wages than their US competitors. China’s exports to the US were worth US$463bn in 2016, while US exports to China totalled only US$116bn. Stockmarkets in both countries have been robust, although investors could start to worry if a trade war were to loom.
The first three months of 2017 saw a surge in the number of tourists visiting the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The rise in visits, almost 10 per cent higher than in 2016, has been attributed to the weakness of sterling. A weaker pound makes it cheaper for travellers visiting the UK.
Sterling fell sharply following last year’s referendum and while it has recovered slightly, it sits almost 12 per cent lower than its pre-referendum high.
The value of investments and the income they produce can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.