."It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity" (Albert EinsteinThe first month of the most profitable quarter turned out to be the most volatile, but at the month end everyone should have been richer with all major markets finishing higher.
Dow Jones +4.3% +18.3%
Nasdaq +3.6% +25.0%
FTSE +1.6% +4.9%
Nikkei +10.1% +17.2%
Dax +3.1% +15.2%
SSE +1.4% +9.5%
And with currencies as anticipated we saw the USD slowly clawing back some of those losses from earlier in the year...
GBP +0.8% -7.6%
EUR +1.4% -10.7%
JPY +1.1% +2.6%
CNY -0.1% -4.4%
AUD +2.2% -6.3%
You can see from these stats that the leading market or where you would have had the best returns was the Nasdaq. Being the market where the tech companies trade, this is no surprise when you look at the staggering numbers and facts around the giants of Industry in this sector, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft in particular. Buying theses five companies on 1 January would have given you returns of 32%, 46%, 57%, 47% and 32% respectively and there's still some gains to be had in 2017 in my opinion.
Amazon's share price went up over 13% in one day last week, taking its price to over US$1,000 a share and making Jeff Bezos, the company founder the world's wealthiest person, leapfrogging Bill Gates. With fellow tech pioneer Mark Zukerberg at number five, this also illustrates the power of the industry with three of the world's top five richest coming from this sector.
Ten years ago had you put US$10k into each of the above (except Facebook which wasn't public yet), you would have reaped US$270k for your US$40k investment and that was also in a period when the stock markets suffered their biggest crash since 1929. And this growth is here to stay as man's ability to innovate continues.
The spectrum of technology is wide but one area which is of particular interest is Artificial Intelligence . I am sure many of you have seen this (probably through Facebook, or Googled it on your Microsoft windows PC or Apple Iphone ordered from Amazon......). I have to confess to not realising just how far companies like Hanson in the Robotics industry had come. I'm not sure what to make of Sophia.....here's the link for those that have not seen it
The Giants of this industry I have mentioned above will all have their stakes in all aspects of tech as it continues to develop and dominate our lives. And when I say Giants, they truly are that. The combined value of Apple and Google now sits at over US$1.5 Trillion. To put this into perspective all the talk of late has been of Bitcoin. I am undecided as to whether buying Bitcoin is a sound long term investment. I can see the fun and gains (or heartache and losses) that can be had trading it and whilst I think Cryptocurrencies in general will play a part in our Financial system, that part for me is a "bit" part. To put it into perspective the total value of all Cryptocurrencies in existence is approximately US$100 billion. So the aforementioned two companies are fifteen times bigger. Thats two companies (admit ably large ones) out of a total of 2,800 companies on the New York Stock Exchange, this exchange being one of hundreds in the world. When you also add cash into the equation, banks etc the relative size of Bitcoin is so small that it is simply not on my radar.....but good luck if its on yours