Report on Q3 2023

Report on Q3 2023

3 Oct 2023

The last time that the UK stock markets put in a meaningful positive performance was Q4 last year when it was obvious that many highly investable companies were oversold. A year ago I even spotted that.

This year has been very dull after that rally. The FTSE 100 is up by 2.3% and the FTSE 250 is down by 2.8%. So larger companies have outperformed smaller ones but not in a way that excites comment from me. 

Government bond markets have continued to drift down i.e. yields have climbed more. The US Treasury 10 yr yield rose from 4.1% to 4.7% and the German Bund from 2.6% to 2.9%. Only gilts stabilised at around 4.6%.

Rising yields imply that investors remain cautious but do not expect serious economic slowdown (bond yields fall in response to recessions). But higher rewards for playing it safe (as exemplified by National Savings paying 6% for a one year deposit) make investors more risk averse. There are speculative and long-term investments that you will try when cash yields nothing but will spurn when doing nothing starts to be rewarding.

This dynamic explains why smaller companies that appear to offer more growth potential are being spurned in favour of larger and duller ones that pay decent dividends. 

It seems fairly probable that today’s higher yields will become the future norm. If that is so we can expect stock markets to remain dull. 

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