Our Views on the Markets and the Economy

Is a Market Correction Due?

Across the major Western economies, similar themes have been evident. Equity markets have performed well. Bond markets are off their highs. However, bond yields are off their lows, although still low relative to recent history and current inflation and economic growth. The dollar is strong, while sterling's fall over the last year leaves it at levels that are fair in the near-term but which could make it attractive - looking a number of years ahead.

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Consider the bad luck of investors in BT and Pearson. For anyone with a substantial holding in either of these blue chip stocks, fourth-quarter results season, which recently ended, was a painful experience.

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Budget Overview

This year there will be two Budgets. The one unveiled this week, and another much later this year, replacing the previous Autumn Statement. That is one reason why this was a relatively low key Budget.

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Philip Hammond’s first Budget as Chancellor and last Spring Budget had few surprises in it, besides a joke about Norman Lamont’s time in the job.

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Budget 2017: What to Expect

On Wednesday the Chancellor delivers the Budget. Last November Philip Hammond announced that the Budget will in future move to the autumn. So this will be the first of two this year and the last one in spring - until a future Chancellor moves the timing back again.

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This is the time of year when many of us are considering our investment options, whether due to a financial spring clean, the upcoming end of the tax year or perhaps the receipt of a bonus.

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There are considerable near-term challenges. And there are excellent longer-term opportunities. The outlook for the economy depends upon the interaction between the fundamentals, policy and confidence.

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This year’s key political event is the French Presidential election. Financial markets are already trying to assess the possibility that unexpected outcomes play out, continuing the theme of 2016.

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The last week has been another significant one in the UK policy debate, with the Government finally being given the go-ahead from Parliament to trigger Article 50 and the Bank of England unveiling its latest thinking in its quarterly Inflation Report.

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Spring Clean Your Finances

With the 31st of January tax filing deadline just having past now is an ideal time to reassess your finances. Are you still on track to achieve your financial goals?

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