THE great Sir Isaac Newton may have revolutionised our knowledge of the world but he still had his blind spots. He was sucked into the great mania of his day, the South Sea Bubble (pictured) and lost a lot of money. “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people,” he ruefully reflected.
INVESTORS are dragging their attention away from the stockmarket for a moment to figure out what is going on in the other main part of their portfolios: government bonds.
THEY are not extinct, nor even on the endangered-species list. But company analysts, once among the most prestigious professionals in the stockmarket, are being culled. New European rules, with the catchy name of MiFID2, have just dealt analysts another blow.
THE strength of the global economy is one reason why the stockmarket has started 2018 in a buoyant mood (with the Dow passing 25,000). At some point, in any expansion, businesses find it harder to recruit workers or get the materials they need; these bottlenecks cause wages and prices to rise.
THE strength of the global economy is one reason why the stockmarket has started 2018 in buoyant mood (with the Dow passing 25,000). At some point, in any expansion, businesses find it harder to recruit workers or get the materials they need; these bottlenecks cause wages and prices to rise.
READY for a melt-up? Investors are generally upbeat about the prospects for equity markets this year but one intrepid fund manager thinks it is likely that American share prices could rise by 50% in the next six months to two years. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the identity of that pundit: Jeremy Grantham.
WHAT is in store for economies and markets in 2018? Around this time of year, a large number of analysts and fund managers are giving their views. Among the most interesting and thoughtful approaches can be found at Absolute Strategy Research (ASR), an independent group founded by David Bowers and Ian Harnett.
POLITICIANS and executives are held to different standards. That is pretty clear when it comes to issues such as sexual harassment, notwithstanding the resignation of Al Franken or the rejection by voters of Roy Moore.
SCENE: A pet shop with a bored looking proprietor. A customer approaches CUSTOMER: I’d like to buy a parrot. OWNER: Certainly, sir. How about this one? It’s a Norwegian Blue. Beautiful plumage. CUSTOMER: It’s not moving much OWNER: It is tired and shagged out after a long squawk CUSTOMER: Fair enough. How much is it?
WHILE the world of geopolitics looks as risky as ever, the markets seem to go on their sweet way, recording new highs for equity indices.
THE strange 1970s revival in Britain has another twist. The main focus has been on the Labour party which, under Jeremy Corbyn, wants to return to the era marked by nationalisation and higher taxes.
BACK in 1992, in his book "The End Of History and the Last Man", Francis Fukuyama argued that liberal democracy had triumphed. The return of authoritarianism in Russia, and the growing power of absolutist China, has undermined the argument at the geopolitical level.
PUT the word Bitcoin into Google and you get (in Britain, at least) four adverts at the top of the list: "Trade Bitcoin with no fees", "Fastest Way to Buy Bitcoin", "Where to Buy Bitcoins" and "Looking to Invest in Bitcoins".
DONALD TRUMP is fond of pointing out that the stockmarket has reached many record highs under his presidency. It is a capricious measure to boast about, and one that may not fully reflect the concerns of those who voted for him and probably care more about real wage growth.
WHEN a revolution happens, the consequences are not obvious straight away. The British referendum on EU membership in June 2016 was seen as a revolt of ordinary people against a globalised elite. The politicians who led the Leave campaign did not seem to expect to win. As wags remarked, they were like “the dog that caught the car”.
BARELY a day goes by at the moment without Wall Street hitting a new record high. The market has kept marching upwards despite all the headlines about the North Korean nuclear threat, a potential break-up of NAFTA, and natural disasters like hurricanes.
FOR once, the Daily Mail and the Guardian, British newspapers of the right and left, agree. In the former, Alex Brummer says “IMF's new line of thinking of tax should please Corbyn & co” while the latter says that the IMF “analysis supports tax strategy of Labour in UK”.
THE award of the Nobel economics prize to Richard Thaler is a reminder that economics has been struggling, in the past 30 years, to adapt its models to the real-life decision-making processes of actual humans. The problem applies as much in investment as anywhere else.
HOW much money do you need to retire? Depending on your age, it is a question you think about a lot (if retirement is imminent) or barely at all. For younger people, the subject is a combination of too far away, too complex and too boring, and too depressing.
Analysis of the ever-changing financial markets (Wall Street trades used to take place under a Buttonwood tree)Subscribe to The Economist: Buttonwood's notebook feed