Market Update – 16 Feb 2021

So to celebrate shrove Tuesday I thought I would do something different this week, so to help you I’ve included an easy (Mary Berry) pancake recipe with only three ingredients, perfect for any pancake-flipping novice. Just add lemon and sugar to keep the dish simple, or soak in syrup and chocolate sauce for a more decadent version.

It can easily be doubled or tripled to make as many as you like – any uneaten pancakes will keep in a stack for 24 hours or can be frozen. So if you’re too full on the day, you can continue your topping experiments tomorrow!

Do not worry if the first pancake or two is a failure: it acts as a test for the consistency of the batter and the heat of the pan, and if you are new to pancake making you may prefer to make them slightly thicker, to be on the safe side, in which case you may only make eight.

Prep time: 5 minutes, plus 30 minutes for the batter to stand | Cooking time: 10 to 12 minutes

MAKES

12 thin pancakes (18-20cm each)

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 egg and 1 yolk
  • 300ml milk

METHOD

  1. Sift 125g plain flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Whisk together one egg, one egg yolk and a little milk taken from the 300ml, then pour into the well. Whisk with a little of the flour.
  2. Gradually whisk in half of the remaining milk, drawing in the rest of the flour a little at a time, to make a smooth batter. Stir in the remaining milk. Cover and leave to stand for about 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the frying pan and brush with a little oil.
  4. Ladle two or three tablespoons of batter into the pan and tilt the pan so that the batter spreads out evenly over the bottom.
  5. Cook the pancake over a medium-high heat for 45-60 seconds until small holes appear on the surface, the underside is lightly browned and the edge has started to curl. Loosen the pancake and turn it over by tossing or flipping it with a palette knife. Cook the other side for about 30 seconds until golden. Slide the pancake out of the pan.
  6. Heat and lightly grease the pan again before making the next pancake. Serve the pancakes as they are made, or stack them on a plate and reheat before serving. (If the pancakes are hot when you stack them they will not stick together; there is no need to interleave them with greaseproof paper.)

All of this not only make me hungry but got me thinking, what’s the recipe for a perfect retirement?

So as a bit of fun here’s my retirement recipe, if you have ingredients to add I’d love to hear them.

Prep time: 10 – 20 years, of saving for the dreams to come true| Cooking time: 12 months of final planning

MAKES

A fulfilling retirement

INGREDIENTS

  • Regular savings
  • Patience
  • A good financial adviser & a detailed financial plan

METHOD

  1. Save regularly, based on affordability, into a suitable investment vehicle. Whisk together a suitable investment strategy based on your objectives and attitude to risk. Add a regular performance review and financial planning session,
  2. Gradually adapt to changing objective and circumstances, increasing contributions when you are able. Stir in the investment performance and leave to grow. (remember investments can go down as well as up)
  3. Heat the markets with good data and a little good fortune.
  4. Ladle two or three tablespoons of market adjustments and rebalancing of portfolios and tilt the portfolio so that the wealth spreads out evenly.
  5. Cook the portfolio over a medium-high heat for the duration of your investment horizon until you decide to stop work and the portfolio is well cooked. Loosen the portfolio by agreeing an income strategy with your adviser, creating a cashflow model. Cook the strategy for 12 months as you lead up to retirement and commence income drawdown.
  6. Review your strategy regularly before making the next drawdown
  7. Enjoy your retirement as it arrives but don’t overspend, continue to save if you can but enjoy yourself, ticking off the things you want to do when you want to do them.
  8. The result a perfect retirement.

 The recipe needs good market’s so here’s this weeks update

Asian markets had a strong session overnight, with Japan’s  Nikkei index moving up through 30,000 for the first time since 1990.

The FTSE10 started the week with a leap yesterday as traders reacted to positive noises from the government about an easing of Covid restrictions.   Britain’s index ended last week ahead but remains below its January peaks by some distance, unlike shares in many other countries, as global investors remain wary of Brexit and uncertainties about sterling’s move.

For international investors, buying UK shares generally means having to hedge against the pound, which has been quite volatile since the end of the Brexit transition period.   CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said sentiment towards the UK could improve after the weekend’s reports and leaks from government about a possible easing of Covid restrictions.

The government’s milestone of meeting its 15 million vaccination target should lead to schools opening from March 8 and may see restaurants reopening in the spring.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing increasing pressure from his backbenchers to reopen the economy early, even as scientists warns of the risks of triggering another surge in cases.

The lockdown sceptics say restrictions must be eased as soon as everyone over 50 has had the jab, which should be by the end of April.

Reports in The Times yesterday  said holidaymakers could be allowed to travel on self-catered breaks by Easter, which should boost shares in tourism and hospitality business.

Hewson said the positive progress on UK vaccines was being closely watched by investors and economists. “This raises the much-discussed prospect that we could well see an explosion of pent-up demand, as consumers ramp up their spending in the form of post lockdown boom.

“We could see up to £150 billion unleased of excess savings over the next few months, with a similarly robust rebound predicted in the US as well, as new stimulus payments trickle down into the US economy.”

Any such optimism for stock markets is being countered recently by caution about whether a combination of economic gains and generous stimulus packages will push inflation sharply higher. If it does, the thinking goes, governments and central banks could opt for an early end to the easy money days, pushing up rates and taxes.

US Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell only last week said he believed any inflationary spike would be temporary and that the risk he worries about is that the economy sinks back into decline again as the impact of mass unemployment kicks in. Fed speakers have repeatedly said they would keep monetary policy at current levels until it is clear the US is back near full employment.

US markets are closed today but all eyes this week will be on the release of minutes of the Fed’s last monetary policy meeting on Wednesday.

In a busy week for economic news, towards the end of the week, we get UK data on inflation, retail sales and the public finances for January. February PMI surveys of the economy will give a more up-to-date view on the situation in France, Germany, the UK and the US.

While stock markets have had a decent run of late, Bitcoin too, has marched forwards to set new records over the weekend.

The cryptocurrency is now nearing $50,000 having been boosted by Tesla using its treasury money to buy up $1.5 billion-worth. Mastercard has said it may allow customers to being using it, while Morgan Stanley’s investment management has become the latest to say it may begin investing in it.

The currency has edged down today by around 3% to $47,101.56 after peaking at $49,593 overnight.

Investors were set for a busy week for the FTSE as the heavily dominant banking sector kicks off its quarterly financial reporting season. Barclays on Thursday is set to report a £2.8 billion profit for 2020, savagely down from £4.4 billion a year earlier, then NatWest on Friday is expected to report a loss of £730 million from a profit of £3.1 billion before.

Investors will be hoping for a return to dividend payments from the duo, though, after being starved of them last year under pressure from regulators.

Bonuses will also be under scrutiny at a time when investment banking arms have enjoyed some of their busiest times on record, helping raise emergency funding for many Covid-impacted businesses. Banks are aware that if they are seen to be paying big amounts to staff at a time when so many people are suffering unemployment and hardship, a major backlash would ensue.

So still some cooking to be done, enjoy your pancakes

Stay safe