No upturn in sight for Chinese economy

China’s economy shows no signs of recovery China’s economy shows no signs of recovery

Chinese manufacturing activity fell to a six-year low as China’s president defended his government’s stock market intervention during his recent state visit to the US. Xi Jinping claimed that although the economy was experiencing difficulties, it was on the road to recovery. International concern remains, though, as evidence of the country’s economic slump was seen in a dip in average annual growth rate to around 7.4% – with IMF forecasts standing at 6.8% for next year. Read more…

IMF forecasts weaker economic growth

Head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, warned of a period of weakened economic growth aheadChristine Lagarde warns of weakened economic growth

The head of the International Monetary Fund has warned of a continued global economic slowdown – especially in the large emerging market countries – that will cut global growth to its lowest level since 2009. Forecasts to be published by the IMF in October will show global economic activity lower that the figure recorded in 2014 and predict that only a modest acceleration can be expected in 2016. Read more…

What will $100 buy you in Nebraska?

Independent research organisation the Tax Foundation reveals some interesting differences in the cost of living across the USWhere in the US do you get the biggest bang for your buck?

Feeling the pinch? Well, how far your money stretches pretty much depends on where you live, according to independent research organisation, the Tax Foundation. Data has recently been collated to find out how much $100 buys you on a state-by-state basis and the results show that regional variations can be significant. While there is a correlation between income levels and prices, it’s not as clear cut as you might imagine. Read more…

Chancellor Osborne initiates RBS sale

RBS sell-off

RBS sell-off underway

British Chancellor George Osborne has started the controversial process of transferring bailed-out bank RBS back to private ownership. The sell-off of a 5% stake in the bank – around £2bn-worth of shares – will reduce the taxpayers’ holding to under 75% and is the first sale of shares since the bank was rescued in 2008. The sell-off will result in a loss of around £1bn to the UK taxpayer. Read more…

Trouble at the top as Barclays oust boss

Barclays Chief Executive ousted in boardroom falling outBarclays Chief Exec ousted in boardroom falling out

British bank Barclays has announced that boss Antony Jenkins has been ousted from his job by a disgruntled board just three years after he was promoted to the job in the wake of the Libor scandal. Jenkins is being replaced for now by chairman John McFarland following unrest over the board’s desire for bigger cost cuts and more focus on the investment bank’s performance. Read more…

China stock market in freefall

$3tn wiped off value of Chinese shares$3tn wiped of the value of shares

The Shanghai composite index has plummeted by 6% as panic selling continues to wipe trillions of dollars off the value of Chinese-listed companies. Despite the government’s efforts to stem the tide by relaxing borrowing rules and cutting fees, shares have dropped to less than a third of their June peak. Read more…

Where did the Greek bailout money go?

where did Greek bailout money go?Greek crisis showing cracks in Eurozone

With tensions high in Europe as it faces its biggest crisis since the union, questions are being asked about the viability of giving the green light a third bailout for the Greek economy. But what happened to the hundreds of billions of Euros of financial assistance delivered in the wake of the global crisis of 2008? Read more…

Barclays sets aside £800m for forex penalties

Barclays profits hit by forex and PPI penalties

British bank faces fresh fines

Barclays has had to carve another £800m off the bank’s bottom line to pay its share of the international forex rigging scandal and to settle further compensation claims for mis-selling payment protection insurance to customers. The bank’s penalties will total around £2bn from regulators in the UK and US charged with investigating the manipulation of the £3.5tn-a-day forex markets. Read more…

Is Greece on track for a Eurozone exit?

Greek crisis reaches turning point as bailout talks stallDon’t mention the war

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel didn’t become the most powerful leader in Europe by being a pushover. Merkel’s government is dominating European politics at the moment, so you might wonder what response Greek Prime Minister, Alex Tsipras, was expecting to his demands for Nazi war reparations at their meeting this week. One can only imagine that Frau Merkel delivered a frosty ‘Nein’, before going on to say that ‘in the view of the German government, the issue of reparations is politically and legally closed.’

Read more…

The Correction is Here so Mind your Vs and Ws

We wrote in January “any material pullback that could make 2012′s chart look like a V or W on renewed European default or earnings concerns is a buying opportunity.”  The correction is here, live and in person with global markets retracing 2012’s gains to date.  The V can certainly deepen further, but this is the time to begin putting some of the cash you have on the sidelines to work. 

The timing of the bottom of this correction is irrelevant and don’t expect to get it right.  Just start putting 10-20% of your cash to work on days when the market is down over 2%.  If we fall just another 5-7% from here, I will advise swapping out your boring, broad ETFs for something more fun like 2x or 3x leveraged ETFs and emerging markets exposure with more upside. 

Corrections are psychological animals and we are definitely in the midst of a Euro-led psychosis.  The faster Greece is resolved (stay with Germany’s austerity plan or leave the Euro) and Spain performs an Italian-esque political and economic turnabout, the better.  But since the timing of this correction is identical to those we saw in 2010 and 2011, we are in no big hurry to get overexcited that the worst is behind us.  The US economy is in a rough patch driven by the confidence-killing psychosis across the Atlantic.  Notice nobody is worried about France’s new left-leaning leader or the actual Euro currency which is still far from parity with the US Dollar.  All this negativity will pass and the stock market will show its strong hand again as we get closer to the Presidential election.  Markets cheer political deadlock so bet on Republican gains in Congress and another four years for President Obama.