"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing" (Walt Disney)
So we enter the month of May, many of us will be on holiday today by virtue of International Workers Day or Labour Day / May Day as it is often referred to. So this also means another month has passed.
Despite what seems like troubled geopolitical times concerning Syria, North Korea etc , once again the numbers were ok. The FTSE had a bit of stumble, the increase in sterling value being a factor here given the amount of foreign exchange revenues these companies earn. But all major markets remain up for 2017. Regardless of what despots such as Assad and Un are up to people are still spending. Take Amazon their sales were up 23% on the previous quarter. So the raw data...:
Dow J +1.3% +6.0%
Nasdaq +2.5% +12.3%
FTSE -2.3% +0.9%
Dax +1.9% +8.3%
Nikkei +0.7% +0.4%
SSE -1.7% +1.6%
On the currencies, most noticeable was a strong month for the GBP, with the confidence in the Brexit strategy and the calling of a general election. Euro also gained some momentum on the markets liking the fact Macron is firm favourite (though we all know this hasn't meant a great deal of late). Some of the Aussie Dollar gains this year were also given back in April....
GBP -4.1% -4.9%
EUR -1.2% -3.5%
JPY +0.3% -4.9%
CNY +0.1% -0.7%
AUD +2.4% -4.0%
So we seem to still be spending money and the growth story continues. A reason why we are spending is because employment levels are at some of their highest in decades.
Take three large economies, the US currently has unemployment at 4.5%, an almost 10 year low. Compare this to an average over the last 60 years of 5.8%.
Germany currently has its lowest rate of unemployment since 1980 at just 3.9%, again when looking at an average over the last sixty years of 5.6%, things appear to be in good shape despite what you may hear about refugee crisis' etc etc
Those of you who know me also know I am very bullish on India. Again their unemployment rate hit an all time low recently, just 3.4%. Whilst we do not have the luxury of a sixty year track record, their records began in 1983 and during that time averaged 9%. Things are looking up for the world's largest democracy. Good leadership and although of course having a developed infrastructure takes time I believe the Indians will get there and at least some of your emerging market exposure should be there.
Whilst these statistics can only be an indicator (what is they say 90% of statistics are made up ....!) this is the data that is out there. Interestingly enough in my region in South East Asia, again an area I believe has potential, three countries, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand are in the top five for lowest unemployment rates according to the ILO (International Labour Organisation)
People working creates growth, the numbers look good so don't miss out on these upward trends. Of course asset allocation and picking the correct areas / sectors is still vital to getting your piece of this growth.....which is something I can help with.
So if your having Labour Day off , enjoy as along with more people than ever, its back to work tomorrow....