TMI's Investment Commentary for November 2018 is now available to download.

After the European Union’s (EU) rejection of the “Chequers Plan” in Salzburg and Prime Minister Theresa May’s insistence that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, by the end of September the UK and EU looked no closer to reaching a Brexit agreement. The latest impasse in talks raises the possibility of a “no deal” Brexit, in which case the UK would immediately begin trading with the EU and the rest of the world under WTO rules post the 29th of March 2019.

Jordan Sriharan, head of fund research at Thomas Miller Investment, analyses what has happened in corporate bond market since the financial crisis and how investors can access the asset class going without being driven by short-term behavioural biases.

TMI's Investment Quarterly for October 2018 is now available to download.

In this second part, Head of Collectives Research and Senior Portfolio Manager, Jordan Sriharan, looks at how active managers are re-shaping their fixed income and equity portfolios in order to navigate choppier waters.

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View From The Front

Investors are waiting anxiously in hope for this year’s “Santa Rally” to arrive, with equity market rallies of late struggling to find legs. It’s difficult to know if this week will provide the tonic markets desire, with US-China trade tensions and the UK parliamentary vote likely to continue to weigh on investor sentiment. Whilst politics is likely to take the bulk of the headlines, it’s also a busy week on the economic front with China releasing a number of key economic indicators for November and the European Central Bank (ECB) holding its last monetary policy meeting of the year.

Federal Reserve (Fed) governor Jay Powell is scheduled to speak before Congress’s Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday. Considering the market-moving comments he made last week (more on that below), it is worth paying attention to see how he builds on them and whether the tone is as dovish.

A fairly quiet upcoming week for global economic data, naturally the same can’t be said for global politics in the current climate. The release of the German IFO business climate index this morning confirmed an economy that appears to be weakening, whether this is temporary remains to be seen. We will be looking for more detail to assess the state of the German economy when we receive both unemployment and inflation data for November on Thursday. The unemployment rate is expected to remain steady at 5.1% while inflation is expected to tick up marginally to 2.5% (year-on-year).

With it being Thanksgiving week the amount of key economic data to be released is limited. Instead, focus is expected to remain on the latest Brexit developments and US trade tensions.

We have written on many occasions about how inflation remains the missing ingredient in the global economic recovery. And so again this week markets will be focused on global inflation reports with central bankers hoping for some signs of life if they are to have more conviction as they tighten monetary policy. This is especially true for the US where the Federal Reserve have embarked on interest rate rises whilst inflation has been neither ‘too hot nor too cold’, implying something of a goldilocks scenario for policy makers. After a weak print in September, analysts expect the October CPI headline reading to tick back up to 2.4%.

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The value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you can get back less than you originally invested. Past performance or any yields quoted should not be considered reliable indicators of future returns. Prevailing tax rates and relief are dependent on individual circumstances and are subject to change.

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