Friday, 30 December 2016

Is it the End of Times or the Start of the Greatest Boom Ever?

2016 rolls to a close with the FTSE100 closing on all time high of 7142. So have we hit peak times in the UK or is this the start of something truly great?

When I started investing (or at least started keeping proper records of my investing) in 2007, the FTSE was at 6607. So in the 9 years since, it has crept up just 8%. Hardly an indicator of a booming economy. Of course, we've had the Great Financial Crisis in that time and several other mind-blowing black swans like Brexit, Euro Crises, wars, and terrorism.

Every bit of finance reading I do tells me that it is foolish to try and time markets or even worse do your own stock picking, yet if you had bought a FTSE tracker you'd be just 8% better off over those 9 years. That is truly awful performance for your money. No wonder cash still holds its appeal even with its derisory interest rates.

This year the Team Dave Fund of Fun-ness finished up 24.7% - the best year for quite some time.

This result was all due to timing the market - going big with two chunks of money - once in January when markets were nervous about Fed tightening and immediately following Brexit. The rebounds after each drop have been huge and represented excellent opportunities. In January buying anything in the US market was the thing to do while in July buying anything in the UK was the correct option.

I got 'lucky' both times I guess. And so for this year, I can't help but feel we have hit the top and will probably bob around this level for a while. America seems massively over-valued and Trumptimism could be sadly mis-placed - how quickly can he genuinely make changes? And does anyone actually believe he knows what he's doing?

In the UK, there is no catalyst for a boom to come - everyone here is stretched massively by housing costs while business is equally poorly treated by appalling business rates and high rents. Meanwhile savers continue to be pillaged by Mark Carney's ridiculous behaviour at the Bank of England. How does he sleep at night while the pound is ravaged, companies and intellectual property are sold off to the world. Someone really does need to point out to him that currency / exchange rates are only useful to business when someone actually wants to buy your product / service. If you make something no-one wants, it doesn't matter how cheap it is in exchange terms.

This year's massive devaluation was the third one I've experienced here and every time, it provides only VERY short term boosts. Meanwhile it destroys savings, imports inflation, and reduces internal investment. Who knows how Brexit will turn out this year. Maybe that will be the catalyst for a boom? It's a fingers crossed time though and hugely reliant on people in the civil service and government actually caring and doing their best rather than feathering their nest. Maybe we'll see an actual real redistribution of income because of it but I doubt it.

My guesses for 2017:
Cocoa - it was destroyed in 2016 - bound to make a comeback eventually.
Gold - again decimated - got to be an option if inflation makes a re-appearance.
Any decent internet based world focussed company. eg. Boohoo, Superdry, Microsoft.
ITV to be taken over.
Samsung to fire a bunch of people and return from the ashes.