Monthly Investment Memoranda

Our most recent investment memorandum is displayed at the top of this list. All documents are in PDF format. To download please click on one of the links below:

November 2017
International equities have continued their advance over the last quarter, with strong gains in local currency, US dollar and euro returns but much smaller ones in sterling terms as a result of the currency’s significant rise over the quarter. Bonds have tended to weaken with monetary policy gradually being tightened in most major countries, although it still remains highly accommodating. In the commodity markets, oil has been a feature as OPEC’s supply constraints have made an impact.
October 2017
It has been another pleasing quarter for international equity investors with satisfactory performances in most markets. Even though sterling strengthened during the quarter, sterling investors' returns were positive. Bond markets were mixed and, in the foreign exchange markets, sterling strengthened against all major currencies. The feature of the commodity markets was a sharp recovery in the oil price.
September 2017
For sterling based investors, the strength of the pound has meant little change in the value of their international portfolios. In the sterling government bond market, prices have drifted back, but not significantly. Sterling's strength has been against the Swiss Franc, U.S. dollar and yen, although it weakened against the euro and Canadian dollar. In the commodity markets, oil was a notable gainer.
August 2017
For all but euro based portfolios, it has been a satisfactory quarter for international equity investors with moderately positive returns. There has been a mixed performance from bonds as measured by 10 year government benchmark yields. In the currency markets, sterling and the US dollar have been weak, experiencing quite large falls. In the commodity markets oil and gold have strengthened.
July 2017
In local currency terms, international equity markets have mostly moved higher during the last quarter to provide, except for euro based investors, a satisfactory return. Bond yields, as measured by ten year government benchmarks, have generally drifted higher except in the U.S.A. There have been some significant moves in the currency markets with the strength of the euro against the US dollar being a particular feature. In the commodity markets, there was little change in the oil and gold prices.
June 2017
This has been a standstill quarter following an extended period of rises in international equity markets. This must be considered a satisfactory result in this context. Bond markets have started to experience some turbulence at the end of the period and into the beginning of the new quarter. There have been some significant currency movements as our table shows and, in the commodity markets, oil has been very weak.
May 2017
This has been a steady quarter for international investors with all those with euro-denominated portfolios showing a decline in value if their portfolios exactly matched the market. In local currency terms, nearly all markets showed a positive performance. Bond markets, as measured by the ten year government bond yields, were quiet. In currency markets, sterling's strength was only exceeded by that of the euro. In the commodity markets oil suffered a poor quarter.
April 2017
It has been another solid quarter for international equity markets with gains in almost all markets. Bonds, too, have performed well whilst, in the foreign exchange markets, sterling has shown all round strength. In the commodity markets, the oil price has weakened but gold improved over the quarter.
March 2017
It has been a pleasing quarter for investors with our table below showing a full house of positive returns in all currencies with loose monetary policy and signs of a better corporate earnings outlook keeping shares firm. Bonds have been mixed, depending on the relevant markets. Compared to some recent quarters, currencies have been quite quiet and sterling has shown a mixed performance, as have commodities.
February 2017
This has been a very strong quarter for international equity markets with a fairly uniform pattern of performance. Signs of strong economic growth have given equity investors more confidence. There has been a mixed performance in international bond markets whilst, in the foreign currency markets, sterling showed moderate weakness. In the commodity markets both gold and oil improved.
January 2017
This has been a solid quarter for international equity investors, as our table below shows, but a difficult one for fixed interest investors as expectations of rising US inflation and interest rates on the back of fiscal expansion have seemingly swung investors' preferences towards equities and away from fixed interest securities. Following a period of prolonged weakness, exacerbated by Brexit, sterling showed a stronger trend over the quarter as a whole.
December 2016
For international equity investors, 2016 ended on a strong note for non US dollar based investors and a reasonable one for US dollar based ones. Donald Trump's victory in November pushed the US dollar sharply higher so, together with a solid performance from shares, the result was very positive. Bond yields rose quite sharply as the implications of a Trump victory filtered through to bond yields.
November 2016
Although this has been a very eventful quarter, notably in the USA, international equity markets have not moved significantly over the quarter, although Wall Street has been pushing new highs. Bond markets, not unexpectedly, have suffered a very poor quarter as they were always vulnerable given their severely overbought position. In the currency markets, the yen was notably weak and the US dollar very strong. Gold has experienced a poor quarter.
October 2016
Markets have diverged this quarter with bond prices weakening and equities slightly better for choice. With sterling showing a sharp fall over the quarter, sterling based investors with unhedged international equity portfolios have experienced a significant positive return.
September 2016
Our table below of international equity performances over the quarter shows a full house of pluses as markets take the UK's EU referendum result in their stride and monetary policy becomes even looser in important centres. On the other hand, conditions in bond markets have become less settled with the concern in the background about the unsustainability low yields on bonds. In currency markets, sterling continued to weaken due to post Brexit uncertainty but there was little change in commodity prices as measured by the oil and gold price.
August 2016
Most investors were not expecting a "Leave" vote in the UK's EU referendum on 23rd June, hence the extraordinary reaction in stock markets. However, the market outcome is not what many expected in the event of a "Leave" vote and it has been a good quarter all round, with sterling based investors experiencing exceptional returns if they hold unhedged international portfolios of securities. Equities and bonds performed well and our table of currency movements overleaf shows how violent these have been.
July 2016
Clearly, the quarter has been most remarkable for the consequences of the U.K.'s Brexit vote on the 23rd June. Our table below shows pleasing returns from equity markets generally, enhanced enormously in the case of the U.K. by the effect of sterling's sharp post referendum fall. At the same time, bonds have advanced significantly, leading to an unusual combination of bond and equity price rises. The extent of sterling's weakness is shown in the currency table. In the commodity markets, it is noticeable that oil has started to weaken again after its recent recovery.
June 2016
Investors were caught off their guard by the result of the U.K.'s EU referendum, resulting in very sharp movements in the currencies and securities markets. Nevertheless, markets have calmed down to some extent and the results over the quarter have been satisfactory. Sterling based investors with geographically diversified portfolios have seen the benefit of spreading the risk. Bond yields fell sharply in the perceived flight to safety with vast areas of the bond market standing on negative yields - approximately US$11.7 trillion at the end of June.
May 2016
Following an uncertain start to the year, the international equity markets made an impressive recovery this quarter with our table of performances showing no areas of negative performance. No new developments have occurred to influence markets, rather it is the "bottle half full" feeling which has prevailed over the earlier "bottle half empty" view of the world. There was not too much change in international bond markets but, in the foreign exchange market, sterling recovered some ground. In commodities, oil recovered impressively, albeit from very low levels.
April 2016
Although markets remain in a fragile state as seen by equity price movements at the beginning of May, the quarter to the end of April witnessed a good recovery in prices and, for sterling investors, a well diversified international equity portfolio would be likely to be showing a modest positive return for the calendar year to date. Bond markets were mixed and, as a result of extreme monetary policy, a wide range of European and Japanese government bonds are showing negative gross redemption yields. There were some big currency movements with the US dollar particularly vocal and, perhaps significantly, commodity prices showed some recovery from very depressed levels.
March 2016
Had one been completely out of touch for the first three months of the year and come back to see the returns shown in the tables below, one might have thought that it had been an unremarkable quarter in the international equity markets where changes in the international indices in sterling, US dollars and euros, as well as in local currency terms, were relatively modest. Only when looking at moves in bond yields, currencies and gold might one have thought something more unusual was going on.
February 2016
Whilst turbulent stock markets attracted many headlines in the early part of 2016, sterling based investors who had well diversified international equity portfolios experienced an unremarkable quarter as sterling’s weakness mitigated almost all of the fall in international equity markets. Bond yields fell as investors moved to the perceived safety of bonds with ten year Swiss and Japanese government bonds standing on negative gross redemption yields. As the tables show, sterling endured a torrid quarter, probably exacerbated by the uncertainty about the forthcoming EU referendum. In commodity markets, oil remained weak but gold came into its own due to the unsettled economic background.
January 2016
Market turbulence, in January, has made this a difficult quarter for international equity investors as markets reacted badly to developments in the Chinese stock market at the beginning of January. Sterling investors, with internationally diversified portfolios, have obtained some relief as sterling weakened and, with a market weighted portfolio, will have seen little change, but, for investors who are US dollar or euro based, returns will have been significantly negative. Bond yields fell as investors headed for perceived safety. The feature of the quarter in currency markets was the weakness of sterling, which we discuss later, whilst commodity markets continued to be weak.
December 2015
A significant rise in international equity markets in the final quarter of 2015 meant that the gains of 2014 were consolidated. Not much changed to cause this significant recovery but it is part of a pattern we anticipated whereby, although shares would move modestly higher, there would be some poor quarters and marked volatility. We are seeing this in the early days of 2016 as markets have got off to a weak start as fears about the Chinese economy have once again risen. International bond markets, as measured by ten year government bonds, mainly drifted lower. Sterling generally weakened and commodity prices ended the year on a depressed note.
November 2015
International equity markets have recovered well after the late summer setback on the Chinese devaluation and most areas showed an improvement over the quarter. Bond markets were slightly firmer. In the currency markets, weakness in the euro and Swiss Franc was a feature. Commodity markets remained depressed with oil very weak over the quarter.
October 2015
What looked as if it could be a significantly negative quarter for international equity markets was rescued by a strong recovery in October to leave these markets only modestly lower over the period under review. Concerns about China, which surfaced in August, have slightly lessened but, in truth, there was no fundamental reason for the wild gyrations in equity markets. Bonds have enjoyed a modestly successful quarter whilst currency movements have been less pronounced than in previous quarters. Commodities have remained depressed.
September 2015
Concerns about the Chinese economy, following the country’s move to lower the value of its currency, set off a period of weakness in the quarter. Whilst not out of line with previous negative periods, the importance of the Chinese economy heightened investors’ concerns although, as the final quarter begins, more settled conditions have been re-established, at least temporarily. Against this unsettled background, bonds performed well whilst, in the currency markets, sterling started to retrace previous strength. Oil price weakness was pronounced in a difficult commodities market and gold, again, failed to inspire.
August 2015
The volatility in the Chinese equity market which saw the majority, but not all, of the gains from the beginning of 2014 retraced, has been reflected in a setback for international equity markets this quarter. Overall, there was little change in bond yields in the ten year government area. Commodity related currencies suffered during the quarter against the background of weakness in the sector. Oil experienced a very poor quarter and gold failed to make any headway.

July 2015
For most sterling based equity investors, the quarter has been one of a modest negative return in the face of the Greek crisis and sharp falls in Chinese equities. There has been little change but substantial volatility in some of the bond markets, perhaps an indicator of events to come. The significant strength of sterling was a feature of the currency markets but commodities remained in the doldrums and gold continued to lose one of its historical attractions as a store of value in uncertain times.
June 2015
SUMMARY: After a positive first quarter, international equity markets have fallen back to leave them little changed from the end of last year. As the Greek crisis has appeared to be reaching a final outcome and as the Chinese stock market has fallen sharply after its strong earlier run, investors have become more cautious. Bond markets have also experienced a negative quarter, not surprising given their fundamental overvaluation. In the currency market, the strength of sterling was a feature whilst, in the commodity markets, oil continued to recover.

May 2015
SUMMARY: It has been a solid, if unspectacular, quarter for international investors, building on previous positive returns. That is how we like to see it rather than very sharp rises which leave markets more vulnerable to a change in sentiment, especially if it is driven by speculative forces. Although a lot has been going on in the bond markets, the change in ten year government bond yields does not really tell the full story and this is discussed in our review. Currency movements have been smaller than in recent quarters whilst, in the commodity markets, oil and gold were little changed in price.

April 2015
SUMMARY: It has been another positive quarter for international equities as monetary policy has continued to benefit markets and investors chase returns, now not so easily available from bonds or cash. However, bonds, extremely expensive in our view, have had a setback and have seen some savage price falls recently highlighting the pitfalls of investing in an asset class so removed from fair value. In the currency markets, sterling has performed well, except against the Canadian dollar whilst, in the commodity markets, oil has staged a strong rebound helping to banish some of the fears about deflation.

March 2015
SUMMARY: Equities and bonds have advanced this quarter to provide satisfactory returns in most areas, with Japan and Europe ex UK being the best equity markets. Quantitative easing, which started in the eurozone during the quarter, has propelled eurozone equities higher. There has been a remarkable drop in eurozone bond yields, many now in negative territory. There have been significant currency movements as the US dollar and yen have strengthened whilst the Swiss FrancÂ’s unchaining from the euro caused a sharp rise in that currency. Quantitative easing weakened the euro. There were modest falls in oil and gold.

February 2015
SUMMARY: This has been yet another positive quarter for investors both in bonds and equities. In international equity markets there were only isolated pockets of weakness, although currency movements changed the relationship between local currency returns and investorsÂ’ base currency returns and our table which follows shows the extent of currency movements during the quarter. In the commodity markets, although oil fell significantly, it ended the quarter well off its low point.

January 2015
SUMMARY: International equity investors, other than those who are U.S. dollar based, have experienced a reasonably positive quarter and many bond investors have done even better. The surreal economic background, highlighted as it is by extraordinarily loose monetary policy, has helped the securities markets to perform well. We have seen periods of sharp volatility but the end result has been mainly positive. In the currency markets, for those who were short of the Swiss Franc, the pain has been extreme, whilst the highlight of the commodity markets has been the collapse in the oil price.

December 2014
SUMMARY: Bonds and equities experienced a positive final quarter of 2014 but it was the U.S. equity market which stood out, giving strong local currency and currency adjusted returns as the U.S. dollar strengthened. Other markets did less well and, to enjoy a modestly positive equity result in 2014, it was necessary to have some exposure to the dominant U.S. market. Others, such as the U.K. and Europe ex UK disappointed over the quarter and the year relative to the U.S.A. The remarkable fall in bond yields continued in the final quarter and their extraordinary decline for the year as a whole is shown in our table. Except against the US dollar, sterling strengthened over the year. The fall on some commodity prices, with oil the most high profile, was remarkable.

November 2014
SUMMARY: A sharp change in sentiment in mid October rescued international equity markets from the prospect of quite a poor quarter. In the end, except for U.S. dollar based investors, where the strength of the U.S. dollar took its toll, the result has been satisfactory. For investors in high quality bonds, it has also been a good quarter, notwithstanding our belief that bonds are significantly overvalued. In the currency markets, the feature has been the strength of the U.S. dollar and weakness of the yen as the Bank of Japan increases its quantitative easing. In commodity markets, the collapse in the oil price has been a major feature, acting as a tax cut for many consumers and businesses, but not such good news for many of the oil producers.

October 2014
SUMMARY: Notwithstanding the modest rise in international equity markets, it has been an eventful quarter with some remarkable movements in October. The apparent change in sentiment at the end of September and in the first part of October has quickly reversed, although there is absolutely no reason for complacency given all the well known problems. High quality bonds have enjoyed a good quarter. In the currency markets the strength of the U.S. dollar has been a feature, whilst commodity prices have weakened, sometimes sharply.

September 2014
SUMMARY: It has been a quarter of little movement in international equity markets although they ended on a weak note. This is not an unsatisfactory performance given the political economic headwinds which investors have had to face. Bond yields, as measured by high quality ten year government bonds, have fallen further during the quarter as investors, in some cases, have fled to what are perceived as safe vehicles. Currency movements have been quite significant with the US dollar performing strongly. The European and Australian currencies have been weak, with sterling somewhere in the middle. Commodities have been weak. Both oil and gold had significant falls during the quarter.

August 2014
SUMMARY: International equity markets have nudged higher during the quarter with a noticeable outperformance from last year’s laggards, Latin America and emerging markets. This movement has been against an unpromising geopolitical background and the re-emergence of the eurozone’s economic problems.
There has been a remarkable fall in high quality bond yields. Currency movements have been relatively modest.

July 2014
SUMMARY: The setback in equity markets at the end of the quarter was not sufficient to prevent a modest rise in equities over the period. Low levels of volatility led to fears in some quarters that investors were becoming too complacent in the face of geopolitical problems whilst others, the bulls, felt that the stance of monetary policy in most areas was still likely to support equity prices. This view also gave support to bond market bulls. Currencies were relatively quiet over the quarter, whilst there was little change in the price of gold and oil.

June 2014
SUMMARY: Equities and high quality international bonds have experienced a modest improvement over the last quarter and volatility has remained low. Political events such as those in Iraq and the Ukraine have scarcely registered with investors. In the currency markets, the Canadian dollar and sterling have been the strongest currencies so sterling based investors have generally faced headwinds with their foreign investments, hence only a very modest rise in the sterling adjusted FTSE World Index. In the commodity markets, the troubles in Iraq have raised the price of oil, although not significantly.

May 2014
SUMMARY: Shares have edged higher during the quarter and bond yields have fallen in an unusual combination of movements. Shares suggest that the modest international economic recovery is on target ; bond yields suggest something worse. We will discuss this issue in our review. Currency movements were relatively modest by some recent standards.

April 2014
SUMMARY: International equity markets have shown a useful rise over the quarter despite periods of volatility. They have shrugged off worrying political problems like the Ukraine and have responded to slightly better economic news from some important countries. “Animal spirits” seem to be stirring, evidenced by strong merger and acquisition activity which is always helpful for markets as it is an indicator of companies’ increased optimism. Bond markets were relatively quiet and currency movements over the quarter were less marked than in some recent quarters.

March 2014
SUMMARY: For international equity markets, the first quarter was one of little change either way. Unlike recent quarters, performances, except for Japan, were quite closely bunched and, although the returns were slightly negative, the indices for Latin America and Emerging Markets lagged developed markets, except Japan, only slightly. In the case of Japan, a weak market, these marketsÂ’ indices held up better. Jitters in emerging markets during the quarter pushed money into developed marketsÂ’ bonds and the returns in this sector were usefully positive. Currency investments were less pronounced than in recent quarters but sterling edged higher, except against the yen and Australian dollar. In the commodity markets, gold staged a partial recovery.

February 2014
SUMMARY: It has been a quarter of very little movement overall but some volatility because of tapering, emerging markets and, most recently, the Ukraine. The divergence in performance between the developed and emerging markets continues. Top quality bonds have had a satisfactory quarter whilst, in the currency markets, sterling and the Swiss Franc have stood out. Gold, having experienced a torrid time, has made some recovery.

January 2014
SUMMARY: A sharp setback to international equity markets in January caused by the Federal Reserve's tapering programme and associated concerns for some emerging markets, left markets modestly lower over the quarter. Yields in high quality government bonds generally drifted slightly upwards but this masks a strong showing in January. In the currency markets, sterling proved to be the strongest currency, with rises all round as more confidence in the UK's economic prospects led investors to believe that UK interest rates might rise earlier than expected.

December 2013
SUMMARY: International equity markets showed a generally positive performance in the final quarter of 2013 although there remained areas of relative weakness in some areas, notably emerging markets. Bonds were weak and, temporarily at least, ten year government bond yields in the U.S.A. and U.K. broke through 3%. The feature of currency markets was the strength of sterling and, to a lesser extent, the euro and Swiss Franc, with the Yen, Australian and Canadian dollars being very weak. Gold continued to display significant weakness for 2013. The feature was the strong relative performance of equities against bonds and, within developed international equity markets, a strong relative performance from developed equity markets compared with emerging markets. In currency markets, the weakness of the yen and currencies related to commodities, like the Australian and Canadian dollars, was very notable. In the commodity markets, gold endured a torrid year.

November 2013
SUMMARY: International equity markets have moved higher over the quarter, although sterling based investors have seen their gains pared by the strength of sterling. Bond markets have remained relatively subdued but the action has been in the foreign exchange market, with significant all round gains for the pound. Gold has endured a poor quarter.

October 2013
SUMMARY: International equity markets have been steady over the last quarter but sterling investors with international portfolios have experienced adverse currency movements. Sentiment was adversely affected by economic events in Washington but the short term fix agreed just after the middle of October has, at least temporarily, calmed fears. Bond returns have been mixed, as our table shows, but currency movements have been significant as a result of sterling?s somewhat surprising strength.

September 2013
SUMMARY: Although most equity markets performed well in local currency terms in the last quarter, such was the strength of sterling that sterling based investors with an international equity portfolio saw returns close to either side of zero. Returns were dragged down in particular by the largest market, the USA, where significant weakness in the currency caused the US market, as our table overleaf shows, to show a negative return in sterling terms. Sterling strengthened against most currencies. High quality ten year government bond yields, with the exception of Japan, saw yields drift upwards, although there was a reversal of trend at the end of the quarter after the US Federal Reserve unexpectedly did not start to taper its quantitative easing policy.

August 2013
SUMMARY: This has been a lacklustre quarter for stock markets with equities drifting slightly lower and bonds showing weakness, whilst oil, particularly important for the world economy, has risen in price on various Middle Eastern issues. Sterling tended to strengthen slightly over the quarter and the weakness of the Australian dollar and certain emerging market currencies was a particular feature. Nevertheless, for the year to date, equities have so far shown a pleasing advance.

July 2013
SUMMARY: Following a recovery in markets in July after the June setback, international equity markets showed satisfactory returns over the quarter although, as our table below shows, there were some areas which significantly underperformed. For bond markets, it was a very difficult quarter with large negative returns being shown. In the currency markets,
sterling generally eased, although it moved up significantly against a weak Australian dollar. In commodity markets, gold experienced a very poor quarter.

June 2013
SUMMARY: The sell off in international equity markets towards the end of June eliminated the positive trend of prices seen earlier in the quarter to leave markets little changed and, in most cases, retaining most of the gains made in the first quarter. Bond markets endured a poor quarter with markets especially spooked by the possibility of the Federal Reserve starting to taper its programme of quantitative easing. In the currency markets, the commodity orientated Australian dollar and, to a lesser extent, the yen, showed marked weakness, as did some commodity prices, including gold which fell by almost a quarter over the period.


May 2013
SUMMARY: International equity markets have consolidated the previous quarter’s advance, although they tailed off towards the end of the period and, at the beginning of June, experienced a significant sell off. We do not regard this as unhealthy because of the trajectory of the previous ascent in international equity prices. We would expect investors to use this setback to add to equity holdings, albeit that the atmosphere has become quite febrile. The bond market has spooked investors with a big sell off in recent days but this should not be surprising given the extreme overvaluation of bonds. In the currency markets, sterling moved higher, especially against the yen and Australian dollar. Commodity prices were generally weak on concerns about the Chinese growth rate, but the upside is that this fall in commodity prices releases some pressure on households and businesses which should be helpful to growth.

April 2013
SUMMARY: Equities have enjoyed a positive quarter with most markets moving higher and, in the case of Japan, spectacularly so. Bonds have also performed well, whilst commodities have weakened, perhaps giving a glimpse of light to the world economy. In the currency markets, the yen, as a result of a spectacular change in the direction of Japanese monetary policy, has weakened, resulting in the rally in Japanese equities noted above.

March 2013
SUMMARY: International equities have performed strongly in the first quarter as a result of continued very easy monetary policy and the lack of unexpected bad news on top of what investors already know. Apart from Japanese government bond yields, which fell sharply as a result of the new and very aggressive monetary policy to be followed, there was little change overall in the gross redemption yields of high quality ten year government bonds. There were big moves in currency markets with the yen, in particular, but also sterling, being weak. In commodities, oil and gold were little changed.

February 2013
SUMMARY: Shares have performed well over the last quarter, perhaps out of relief that nothing unexpectedly negative, over and above what was already known, has occurred. Bonds have moved lower, but the real feature has been the currency market where the yen, in particular, but also sterling, have moved sharply lower.................................................

January 2013
SUMMARY: A strong performance by international equity markets in January has led to a significant return over the quarter as our table below shows. Although the economic news has been slightly less bad, there has been no fundamental breakthrough in tackling the problems which exist................................................

December 2012
SUMMARY: With the exception of the US market, international equities have drifted upwards during the quarter to leave the year showing satisfactory returns. There has been no significant movement in top quality sovereign bond yields as measured by ten year government bond yields but, in the currency markets, the feature has been the weakness of the yen during the quarter. Gold fell during the quarter but was higher over the year...............................................

November 2012
SUMMARY: A quarter of consolidation has shown markets edging slightly higher which is a creditable performance against such a difficult economic background. Bonds have shown a slightly easier trend in the high quality sovereign issues whilst the feature of the currency markets has been the weakness of the yen, which will come as a relief to the authorities given the competitive difficulties it has caused many companies..............................................

October 2012
SUMMARY: International equity markets have moved modestly higher during the quarter, except for euro denominated portfolios, where at least a temporary recovery in the currency has affected the return on non euro denominated assets. Whilst the eurozone crisis continues there has been no surprisingly bad news and the ECB’s announcement of its proposed Outright Monetary Transactions, although not yet effective, was helpful to market sentiment..............................................

September 2012
SUMMARY: With the exception of Japanese shares, equity markets have drifted higher over the quarter in the absence of any worsening of an already well documented troubled economic situation. Very loose monetary policy is contributing to higher asset values and this has also caused high quality bond yields to fall over the quarter. The rise in the gold price reflects inflationary fears down the road arising from the current monetary policies being followed in many countries.............................................

August 2012
SUMMARY: It has been a steady quarter with international equity markets drifting upwards. There was little change in high quality international bond yields as measured by ten year government bonds. In the currency market, sterling rose against the US dollar and euro, whilst in commodity markets, oil and gold resumed their rise............................................

July 2012
SUMMARY: Against the background of a chaotic eurozone investors must feel that a quarter which has seen little overall change in international equity markets represents a reasonable result. We have seen volatility, not unexpected, but the undertone has been remarkably firm and we see that outcome as a correct assessment by investors. Top quality sovereign bonds have performed well but we see no value there............................................

June 2012
SUMMARY: Given all the bad news thrown at stock markets over the quarter, the performance of international equities, although negative over the quarter, must be considered commendable. The ever increasing problems within the eurozone have fed investors with a diet of continual bad news. As our table of high quality ten year government bond yields show, these have been driven down to extraordinarily low levels by a flight to quality and, where relevant, the effects for a long period of quantitative easing...........................................

May 2012
SUMMARY: Following strength in the first quarter, equities have weakened as the eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis has become more acute. Equities have fallen back moderately whilst high quality government bonds have strengthened. Currency movements have been quite pronounced with strength in the yen and US dollar..........................................

April 2012
SUMMARY: International equities have performed steadily over the last quarter although there have been pockets of weakness. Whilst the news background, particularly from the eurozone, has been unsettled, it has been manageable, given such low expectations. Companies’ earnings reports have generally been supportive........................................

March 2012
SUMMARY: The first quarter provided satisfactory returns for international equity investors and negative returns for investors in high quality government bonds. Volatility was surprisingly low. In currency markets, the feature was the weakness of the yen following Bank of Japan action to make monetary policy more stimulative.......................................

 

February 2012
SUMMARY: Despite the serious economic and financial background, investors can take some comfort from the strong performance of international equities which has been reflected in almost every market. High quality international bonds have also strengthened......................................

 

January 2012
SUMMARY: Markets have been steady over the last quarter despite a bad patch in November. The indices have made modest progress and high quality government bond yields have fallen even further. In the currency markets, the feature has been the weakness of the euro and the Swiss Franc. In commodities, oil and gold have been little changed.....................................

 

December 2011
SUMMARYInternational equity markets have staged a partial recovery in the fourth quarter and, given the extraordinary economic and financial conditions of 2011, the overall performance for the year, although negative, has been quite resilient. The divergence of performance in sovereign bond markets has reflected the countries’ underlying fundamentals and an artificial situation prevails in bond markets....................................

 

November 2011
SUMMARY:In the end, the movements in international equity indices were unremarkable but they masked periods of significant volatility in markets and only a very strong rally at the end of the quarter prevented a negative quarter. In the circumstances, the performance of international equity markets most be considered to be very impressive...................................

 

October 2011
SUMMARY:For most of the quarter, the eurozone sovereign debt crisis dominated markets causing significant volatility depending upon whether the news from the eurozone became even worse or whether some more hopeful news emerged. At the end of the quarter, there was a strong equity rally which reduced the negative performances of international stock markets..................................

 

September 2011
SUMMARY:Having held up well in the first six months of 2011, international equity markets reacted badly to the U.S. debt ceiling wrangle and, when that was temporarily settled, to the worsening eurozone sovereign debt crisis. We cover this issue in detail in our review. High quality bond markets reflected a flight to safety from perceived riskier credits, driving yields down to extraordinarily low levels.................................

 

August 2011
SUMMARY:The quarter has been dominated by the US debt standoff and the eurozone sovereign debt crisis and these concerns have left their effect on international equity markets which have experienced a poor quarter. On the other hand, benefiting from a flight to quality, highly rated government bonds have performed well................................

 

July 2011
SUMMARY:The relatively modest decline in international equity markets, shown in the table below, belies what has happened subsequently and we go into detail on recent economic events in our review which follows. We also note the strength of the high quality bond markets at a time when weak credits, particularly in the eurozone, have come under significant pressure...............................

 

June 2011
SUMMARY:The relatively benign movement in the equity indices, shown below, hides volatile conditions in the quarter, with the sovereign debt woes of part of the eurozone casting a long shadow on markets during parts of the quarter before a strong rally at the end. Bond markets diverged according to the perceived qualities of the issues whilst, in currency markets, sterling endured a weak quarter..............................

 

May 2011
SUMMARY:Given the dramatic developments over the quarter, the outcome for this period, showing broadly stable equity prices and falling high quality bond yields, must be considered a satisfactory result, perhaps suggesting that investors are becoming inured to the volume of unsettling and unexpected events in all sorts of fields..............................

 

April 2011
SUMMARY:Despite all the bad news in the quarter which might have been expected to have a detrimental effect on stock markets, that has not proved to be the case and, although markets are little changed, this must be counted an impressive performance, underlining inherent strength in markets.............................

 

March 2011
SUMMARY:The modest movements in securities’ markets over the quarter belie the turmoil in the world arising from terrible natural disasters, political unrest, military intervention in Libya and radiation leaks resulting from the Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami............................

 

February 2011
SUMMARY:There has been a mixed performance in securities markets over the quarter with equities moving higher and good quality bonds retreating. In the currency markets, the feature has been the weakness of the U.S. dollar and the strength of the Swiss Franc. In the commodity markets, the rising price of oil has led to some inflationary concerns, which we will discuss, whilst rising food prices have the capacity to bring civil unrest............................

 

January 2011
SUMMARY: International equities have put in a very solid performance over the last quarter with useful gains almost everywhere. By contrast, high quality bonds have experienced a negative quarter as bond yields have risen from unrealistically low levels. There has been little change in the currency markets although the Swiss Franc has been an exception, rising strongly. Perhaps, ominously, for inflation, oil has risen by over 20%...........................

 

December 2010
SUMMARY: International equity investors have experienced a satisfactory quarter, whilst bond investors have suffered a reverse, and commodities have risen for a number of different reasons. Currencies have shown sharp movements which have had a significant effect for investors, both for the quarter and for the year..........................

 

November 2010
SUMMARY: Overall, this has been a good performance from international equities over the quarter and it would have been still better but for weakness right at the end because of concerns about eurozone sovereign debt as exemplified by the need to bail out Ireland. Bond yields, however, moved upwards, which is not surprising given the unattractive yield levels which have prevailed and, for weaker credits in the eurozone, there were some dramatic rises in yield. .........................

 

October 2010
SUMMARY: After an unpromising start to the quarter, share prices recovered strongly in September and consolidated those gains in October to leave equity markets returning very satisfactory results for the quarter. High quality international bonds, as measured by ten year bench mark government bonds, saw a significant fall in yields which was partly reversed towards the end of the quarter.........................

 

September 2010
SUMMARY: International equity investors and high quality bond holders have experienced a positive quarter. Most international equity investors at the end of the third quarter will now show positive returns for the year, a satisfactory position given the extent of the stock market recovery in the final three quarters of 2009........................

 

August 2010
SUMMARY: International equity prices have demonstrated a slightly weaker trend during the quarter which has been marked by sudden changes of sentiment, apparently for no good reason. The performance of good quality government bonds has been staggering, implying economic conditions which we do not foresee.......................

 

July 2010
SUMMARY: International equity markets have retraced some of their gains this quarter, with a recovery in July helping to limit the size of the decline. As we describe in this review, investor sentiment is fragile at present with no significant new event triggering the weakness in the earlier part of the current quarter or the subsequent recovery in July......................

 

June 2010
SUMMARY: A turbulent quarter for markets has ended with equities more than giving up the ground gained in the first quarter to end the half year with a negative year to date return. There has been a wide variation of performances in the international bond markets, reflecting a flight to quality and away from the weaker eurozone following the sovereign debt crisis which started in Greece.....................

 

May 2010
SUMMARY: A promising quarter for equity investors was brought to an abrupt halt by deteriorating conditions in a number of eurozone countries’ finances leading to fears about the solvency of some countries as concerns spread from the Greek sovereign debt market. As a result, there was little movement in equity returns over the quarter....................

 

April 2010
SUMMARY: This has been a particularly difficult review to write, so quickly have events moved in the eurozone sovereign debt crisis and the UK political situation as a result of the indecisive election result. Before these problems occurred, markets had turned in a good performance in the three months to the end of April. There was notable currency weakness in sterling and the euro...................

March 2010
SUMMARY: International equity markets have demonstrated a firmer trend this quarter after initial setbacks arising from concern over the Greek debt situation. Amongst the mostly negative economic indicators, there have been some better signs, and corporate earnings news has generally helped equities..................

February 2010
SUMMARY: Despite much background economic ?noise?, like the Greek debt crisis, which has caused a certain amount of volatility in international equity markets, the overall return for international equity investors has been satisfactory..................


January 2010

SUMMARY: Overall, results from international equity markets have shown stability over the quarter although, at the beginning of February, markets have experienced a setback..................


December 2009

SUMMARY: A steady final quarter in international equity markets has cemented the gains shown in the previous two quarters to provide a satisfactory offset to the decline in equities in 2008..................


November 2009

SUMMARY: The latest quarter represents a solid one for investors, with modest gains cementing the recovery noted in earlier quarters..................


October 2009

SUMMARY: A quarter of consolidation has seen the maintenance of earlier gains in equities and some downward pressure on bond yields..................


September 2009

SUMMARY: After a poor first quarter, the recovery which we saw in international equity markets during the second quarter has continued..................


August 2009

SUMMARY: Investors have experienced a positive quarter as the worst of the fears apparent in the opening months of the year begin to fade..................


July 2009

SUMMARY: It has been an encouraging quarter for international equity markets as investors sense an easing in the quantity of bad news and feel slightly less uncertain about financial and economic conditions..................


June 2009

SUMMARY: As the tables below show, the position for equity investors has improved compared to the position earlier this year and we analyse in our review the reasons for this..................


May 2009

SUMMARY: The remarkable movements in equity markets shown in the table below gives investors some respite from the dreadful conditions experienced in the previous quarters..................


April 2009

SUMMARY: Following the very difficult stock market conditions of 2008 and the early part of 2009, it is a relief to note some modest recovery during the quarter just ended..................


March 2009

SUMMARY:The quarter divides into two distinct phases. January and February were very poor months for equity investors as shares fell sharply but March showed a sharp rebound..................


February 2009

SUMMARY:The quarter ended on a poor note with anxiety levels rising again as a new round of financing for certain financial institutions was undertaken.................


January 2009

SUMMARY:The ability of the financial system to shock seems gradually to be lessening................


December 2008

SUMMARY:Investors will be pleased to see the back of 2008, a year which nobody will forget...............


November 2008

SUMMARY:The tables below show a truly dreadful performance from international stock markets as the fallout from the financial crisis continues...............


October 2008

SUMMARY:The word “unbelievable” is much overused but it can quite properly be applied to the events of the last quarter in the financial world...............


September 2008

SUMMARY:Because of what has happened since the quarter end, the third quarter report appears academic but it is important to maintain the cycle of reports in their usual order...............


August 2008

SUMMARY:For equity investors, it has been a poor quarter, although sterling based investors with substantial overseas assets were cushioned very significantly by the strength of foreign currencies against sterling..............


July 2008

SUMMARY:Economic and financial market conditions have weighed on investors this quarter as rising inflation and falling growth rates in some, but not all, areas have been apparent..............


June 2008

SUMMARY:This has been a disappointing quarter for bond and equity investors with significant weakness in June dragging down prices..............


May 2008

SUMMARY:Overall, the quarter has seen a steady performance for international equities and a poor one for top quality bonds..............


April 2008

SUMMARY:More stable conditions in markets recently suggest some lessening of concerns about the health of the financial sector. Decisive action by central banks and individual financial institutions’ fund raising, where required, ..............

March 2008
SUMMARY:It has been an unsettled quarter for international equity markets as concerns about the consequences of losses in individual financial institutions and the effect of the credit crunch remain at a high level.............

February 2008
SUMMARY:Problems in financial markets have adversely affected international equity markets in the latest quarter with weakness in nearly all areas.............

January 2008
SUMMARY:The long string of mainly positive investment returns came to an abrupt halt this quarter as equity markets reacted to the fallout..............

December 2007
SUMMARY:Overall, stock markets have held up relatively well during the last quarter with, in many cases, just a small part of the earlier quarters' gains pared..............

November 2007
SUMMARY:Despite the unsettled financial background, international equity markets have generally held their ground over the quarter whilst high quality bond yields have fallen..............

October 2007
SUMMARY:The main event of the quarter has been the turmoil in the credit markets arising from problems in the sub-prime mortgage market in the USA.............

September 2007
SUMMARY:It has been an eventful quarter in financial markets but the overall result has been that most conventional equity portfolios will end the quarter little changed............

August 2007
SUMMARY:The feature of the quarter has been the problems in the credit markets arising from the US sub prime mortgage loans which have turned sour...........

July 2007
SUMMARY:Overall, there has been little change in the level of international equity markets over the last quarter with a period of heightened volatility at the end of the quarter reducing or eliminating earlier gains..........

June 2007
SUMMARY:A supportive background for international equities, namely solid economic growth, rising corporate earnings and dividends and significant merger and acquisition activity, has been reflected in positive returns.........

May 2007
SUMMARY:A benign economic background, encouraging corporate earnings growth and a continuing high level of M & A activity have contributed to strong returns from international equities during the last quarter........

April 2007
SUMMARY:It has been a pleasing quarter for international equity investors as prices have advanced on the back of satisfactory economic news.......

March 2007
SUMMARY:This has been a relatively quiet quarter for equities which have broadly consolidated last year's modest advance.......

February 2007
SUMMARY:Overall, it has been a satisfactory quarter for international equity markets with modest rises nearly everywhere. Returns were pared right at the end of the quarter.......

January 2007
SUMMARY:International equity investors have seen satisfactory returns over the last quarter as the benign economic environment and low volatility levels have increased investor confidence........

December 2006
SUMMARY:In looking at the conclusion of this review twelve months ago, we said that our best judgement for 2006 was that with markets not being expensively rated and with the caveat about the absence of unforeseen geopolitical events.......

November 2006
SUMMARY:Equity prices have drifted upwards over the quarter reflecting a relatively benign economic background and a retreat, at least for the time being, in oil prices. Corporate earnings have continued to exceed expectations.......

October 2006
SUMMARY:Following weakness in international equity markets the previous quarter, a pleasing upward movement was seen this quarter as markets reacted well to generally good economic news.......

September 2006
SUMMARY:Equities and bonds have both performed well this quarter. Whilst investors in both classes of asset have reason to be cheerful about their returns......

August 2006
SUMMARY:Following volatile and weak conditions in May, markets have settled down again during the last quarter with equity and bond prices generally drifting higher......

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