News, Views & Truths (1st -5th Jan)

Welcome to the first of my weekly Friday commentaries looking back over the previous week, the stories that have caught the attention of Three Counties and any issues relating to our line of work; namely finance and investments.  And without further ado…

The first week of the year has opened without much of a fanfare; that is if you ignore The Don’s schoolyard banter with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.  Whether he was a tad bored after the end of the year festivities, D-Dog tweeted that his own nuclear button, “is a much bigger and more powerful one than his and my button works!”

Assuming this was not an analogy for something of a more personal level, it was an absolutely stunning tweet given the stakes of Nuclear war and annihilation – then again, entirely predictable from the man who has an obsession about the size of things.  Remember he claimed to have had the biggest inauguration crowd ever (no he didn’t), or how he owned the tallest building in downtown Manhattan, after the World Trade Centre attacks (yes, he actually did say that).

And then, after all of this, North Korea has reopened a long dormant phone line between themselves and their South Korean neighbours.  Maybe Donald has played a blinder, although it’s more likely Kim wants free tickets to the Winter Olympics, hosted in Seoul during February.

Naturally, you would expect that this nuclear brinksmanship by two unhinged man-child’s would have knock on effects with global investment markets; sending investors fleeing for safe havens as the end of the world draws nigh in a fiery apocalypse.

Welcome to 2018 – nothing is taking this train off the tracks!

Global markets look like a Chieftain tank, knocking aside everything in their path in the continuous climb to new records and all-time highs.  Emerging Market stocks and currencies had a strong start to the year on the back of solid fundamental growth figures combined with a weakened dollar, resulting in the benchmark MSCI Emerging Market index taking weekly gains to 3.4%, the best New Year start since 2006.

Flipping that coin over, the US Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 25,000 for the first time in its history, pushing a surge in cap makers to furiously embroider new logo’s, with some rather bullish sewing machinist going for the fabled “Dow 30,000” number.  And although this time of year is notorious for market predictions, those that use technical signals are in agreement with those that use more mundane means for analysis (read: dartboard).

Bob Lang, founder of has highlighted significant momentum showing in both the Dow and the S&P indices, indicating a significant strength in institutional buyers and until there is signs of selling en masse, 2018 looks like another positive year for equities; and by positive he is taking double digit. Again.  From a momentum perspective volume trends are positive and the money flow remains strong.  Genuinely what is not to like?

But we obviously do not want to get too euphoric; we certainly do not want to get complacent.  Most importantly it’s a big mistake to get too cynical.  Just enjoy some good news at the start of the year.

And a final piece of good news.  Many of you will be aware that one of our advisers, Hannah Witty has been expecting her second child.  On 30th December, Nolan Robert Witty was brought into the world at a healthy 11lb 4oz; both are doing fantastically well and I am sure you join all of us at Three Counties at wishing them all the very best.

See you next week.


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