The stock market is closed today after a 4 day week that saw a lot of nervousness. Geopolitical risks seemed to be heightened by tensions between the EU and the UK and the US under the leadership of Donald Trump seems to lack direction. The Federal Reserve plans to increase interest rates, Trump wants them to stay low. The United States needs its own people to save and invest. They can’t rely on more inward investment from China and so a more regulated and less risky financial system coupled with higher interest rates would seem to make sense. Meanwhile, we small investors need to avoid putting all our eggs into one basket by diversifying.
Any sign of common-sense and cooperation between the superpowers is good for the global economy. There doesn’t seem to be much chance of that at the moment as things get more volatile. Someone once said there is never a bad day on the stock market, when it’s down you buy and when it’s up you sell. It’s not quite as simple as that but there are always opportunities. We need certainty but we find continued risk and uncertainty.
In volatile markets, you have to assess risk and make forward predictions. The AIM is one of the most volatile and you have to look not only at the current value of a company but at the potential value. I’ve been watching Solo Oil and the price dropped quite dramatically from a high of 0.8 right down to 0.45 yesterday. Those are the bid prices and the spread at the close yesterday was a massive 20%. That was obviously the market makers manipulating the price to trigger stop losses and increase their margin.
Sometimes it is the whole market that crashes and sometimes it is one or two share prices. To limit the damage, we need to diversify and have some investments not associated with the market. Then a big drop in the part of your portfolio that is invested in the stock market isn’t quite so damaging. I have an investment in peer-to-peer lending through Zopa. Surviving a crash emotionally is a different matter. People get excited about making money and upset when they lose money but you can get used to seeing it as numbers on paper or on a computer screen. There has been a lot of excitement on the forums recently about Solo Oil and the price soared from around 0.3 up to 0.8 more than doubling the value of my investment and then this week the news from NT2 wasn’t quite what some investors expected and the market makers slashed the price.
Most people understand the basics of economics. Recently there has been a worldwide glut of oil and so there was competition among producers that led to the oil price falling to below $50 a barrel which meant many producers were selling at a loss. Supply and demand largely dictate prices but in the case of oil, we also had to look at how much oil was stored. It will take a while before those stocks are deleted. When oil stocks are low then the oil price could soar to new heights again.
As a small investor, I obviously watch the stock market mostly to look for bargains but also to look for trends. I also watch some of the forums to see what other investors are saying. There is a lot of ramping because sentiment does influence buying and selling but not to an extent that we can influence it. I do suspect that traders in the City of London are more positive and tend to buy on days when the sun is shining! I don’t base my dealing on the weather forecast, though.
Just the way we think about finance can help us save money and make money. Finance can be about risk and a diverse approach to finance can limit that risk. Using a diverse approach when we are investing is fairly common but we can also use a diverse approach when we are buying too.
Regular readers will know that I write about being thrifty on Thursdays with the exception of yesterday when I didn’t have time to write a post. In January we shop around less because we have less money to shop with. It is a frugal month for most people after the excesses of Christmas. I actually spent more on my credit card so have an unusually large bill next month. This month has been a month of making investment decisions.
The stock market will close at lunchtime today and for small investors, it will be the ending of trading for 2016. Did we have a good year? I saw my portfolio take a huge dive following the Brexit vote but as the market recovered my returns recovered too. So I’ll be ending 2016 reasonably happy with my investments.
Many investors make an investment in a small company and hope they make it big. I have high hopes that Solo Oil will make it big with its shares in oil discoveries both in Tanzania and in the UK.
I’m watching interest rates around the world. It seems the Federal Reserve will be the first to normalise interest rates. It could be as early as next month but many pundits are betting on December. That could be the trigger for other central banks to raise their rates too. It would certainly have an effect on the value of the US dollar as more money would be invested in the US as international investors look for better returns on their funds. That, in turn, would have a negative effect on other currencies including the GBP.
The stock market has recovered a little since the ‘Brexit’ vote but with Arm Holdings being taken over I have been wondering how much ‘investment’ is coming in from overseas as foreign companies take advantage of the reduced value of the pound sterling. Brexit uncertainty makes overseas investors nervous too, though.
Pharma in focus
Pharma in focus was really the theme of the week with Immupharma soaring as trials of its Lupuzor drug appear to be successful. The inventor of the drug is also due to give a lecture on the developments which is expected to be positive news. In early trading today, many investors were selling and taking profits and so quite a big drop this morning. (more…)
This week the offer for Premier Foods by McCormick was withdrawn but the offer of 65p a share did show the hidden value in the company. It seems Nissin is still increasing its holding in the company and their joint venture seems a good deal for both parties. Premier’s share price still plummeted down to 42.5. This is still better than it was before the offer. (more…)
When the FTSE 100 was over 7000, some pundit was predicting it would crash 20%. That would make it 5600, is that the bottom? Is that the magic number where we can all breathe a sigh of relief? Maybe not… (more…)
I was reading a forum this morning and someone suggested the reason by the world’s stock markets were so unstable was the robots having a laugh at our expense. Many transactions are now done by computers these days! (more…)
The Federal reserve increased interest rates this week. So is this the first sign of a genuine global economic recovery? With a low oil price driving a recovery and stabilising inflation we could now have a chance for growth. (more…)
We have to think both short term and long term when we invest. While we want to see a return on our investments on paper because that gives us a virtual return and so adds to our financial security. We also want to see real returns when we sell or when we collect dividends. (more…)
For small investors the stock market looks scary with warnings that you can lose all your money. It’s easier to just put your money in the bank and accept interest that barely covers inflation. With low interest rates, that situation has got worse. You do have to put a lot of thought into share dealing and you can lose money! You just have to learn as you go along and not get greedy. (more…)
Democratic stock market
I’m old enough to remember the sell off, of nationalised industries in the UK. The gas industry, water, telephones and electricity were all sold off at bargain prices. Even the TSB was sold and the government didn’t even own that. It could have been a good thing, but they were simply sold off to the middle classes. Most people lost out and have since suffered with high bills from those industries. A truly democratic stock market would give access to all. (more…)
Politics have been depressing the stock markets this week, with the Greek debt crisis lingering on. It seems the credit crunch that followed the Lehman’s Brothers collapse just goes on and on. The problems seem systemic, markets can’t decide and adjust economies. (more…)
A featured Post by Mike Maynard
There are lots of stories on the internet about buying penny shares in innovative companies that end up worth pounds and give early investors a fortune. I don’t think many people get the opportunity to invest early on in the life of a company, but there are some penny shares in the AIM market that might soar to great heights one day.
The excitement over the discovery of oil and gas soon died down when they realised there wasn’t quite as much as they thought. It sent Solo Oil’s price up over a penny and for a while we danced in the streets and celebrated. (more…)