Once again, Friday has emerged over the horizon, beckoning the start of the weekend. THE weekend, if you are inclined to go out on the lash. Whether you are considering it as the restart to the year, or simply any other weekend, sit back and take in everything that is News, Views and Truths...
It was a tale of two halves this week. The beginning of the week was dominated by the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases, including those on these very shores. Yet, despite it all, the market has continued to be very resilient; possibly ignoring, definitely “looking through” these localised occurrences and fixing relentlessly on the future, post-COVID-19 world.
And then, on Thursday, there were the US job numbers…
The consensus view was that around 2.9 million people would have gone back to work last month and this would be an increase on the previous month’s 2.5 million.
It came in at 4.8 million; a huge beat. An as if on cue, President Trump stated it was, “The largest jobs gain in the history of our country.” And he wasn’t wrong. But circumstances, please.
Although the number of total jobs added is huge by any historical measure, the economy is still a long way from being back to normal and to actually put this into context, these numbers are still only chipping away at the 22 million or so jobs that have been lost due to the closure of economies.
Closer to home, there has been a raft of job losses announced over the last week as the UK Government’s furlough scheme will begin paring back next month and draws to its final conclusion in October. The total announced cuts this week have reached more than 12,000, including roles at Harrods, Arcadia Group, EasyJet and shirt maker TM Lewin.
Due to the government’s economic life support inevitably ending, employers across the country are looking towards the future and being forced to make decisions about the future of their business, if it has a future at all. And hence the huge desire to open up the economy to some sort of normality, starting with pubs and restaurants this coming weekend.
NHS staff have already been told to prepare for this weekend in the same way as they would for a typical New Year’s Eve, just with much better weather. So if you are planning on going out, be careful; there will be a load of pent up lockdown stress being released over the coming 48 hours, most likely to have been started very early on in the day.
I for one will be in the house; drawbridge up.
My weekly podcast is available each week here. This week’s edition has an interview with Mike Fox, Head of Sustainable Investments and Fund Manager at Royal London Asset Management. Mike, who has delivered some of the best returns of any ESG manager in the country, talks us through what sustainable investing actually is. Want to know what ESG means? Tune in to find out.
My latest “When Andrew Met…” video is live here where I talk to Will Argent, Fund Adviser for the VT Gravis UK Infrastructure Income fund. Very topical with the UK Government’s spending announcement this week, we discuss infrastructure as an investable asset and the benefits that this can bring to client portfolios.
And finally, our usual playlist. Have a safe weekend and if you are planning on heading out, take heed of my warning. I will look forward to seeing you all next week.