Market Update – 18 Aug 2020

So making the headlines this week is once again ‘Exam Chaos’ which made its way south,  it beggars belief that lessons from Scotland’s results weren’t learned but the Education secretary has since backtracked.

Covid numbers in the UK are on the rise but have stabilised again as the local lockdown measures across the country are having the desired affect and across the pond the two political parties are preparing for virtual conventions to officially announce the presidential election campaigns.   The election takes place on the 3 November and it promises to be an interesting few months.

At home for me it’s been a funny old week,

Firstly we got confirmation that the holiday was officially cancelled, we initially scrambled around looking at other destinations but to no avail as it seems every country is being added to the quarantine list.  My own simple view is it’s time for a traffic light system for the travel industry giving customers and travel companies a chance to plan.  The government could introduce a simple solution of

Red – no travel

Amber – risky and likely to change within the week

Green – safe to travel,

If they wrapped some guidance around this with weekly updates then who knows, I might just write to my MP.

Secondly at the weekend I nearly cut my finger off while doing some DIY, a new saw was to blame (bad workman blaming his tools as ever!) and just another lockdown realisation for me that I just shouldn’t ever do any DIY.  I am all patched up, I decided there was no need for a hospital visit, it has to be said against the advice of Carol and my mum, but as I had inadvertently used glue to stick it back together I thought it would be alright, time will no doubt tell.  It’s a bit sore but you will be glad to know that hasn’t stopped my financial planning endeavours!

It’s a different kind of DIY that is presently driving the markets with aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus returning global equities close to record highs from a coronavirus-driven crash in March despite data still indicating a nascent rebound in the real economy, and analysts said they expect a “buy everything” rally to push major benchmarks even higher.

There are typically two ways the market reacts to weak data, either investors scale back on risk holdings on expectations of further contraction in company revenues, or they ramp up risk allocation in the hope the bad figures would give a boost to stimulus talks. After China’s central bank said on Monday it would pump more money into financial markets, investors are betting on another dose of fiscal stimulus from the U.S. government.

In the UK, it seems to be bad news every day, Marks and Spencer’s announced today it plans to cut a further 7,000 jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This follows on the back of Debenhams announcing store closures as we start to see even more bad news for the high street.   It could be argued that the High Street as was is no more and as society changes its habits then will the high street continue to exist?

More bad news announced today was that EASYJET is to close its bases at London Stansted, Southend and Newcastle Airport from next month. The airlines have been hit very hard and this latest announcement is another difficult moment for the sector.

The headlines over the coming weeks and months are likely to be similar to this last week, with the economy being hit from all sides but in a moment of positivity last week the Bank of England said the recovery was ahead of expectations.  The markets have handled these announcements without much excitement and the volatility has remained as was, so we move forward.

Stay Safe