'Tis the season ...
04 December, 2015
It was so tempting to start this final newsletter of the year with the same words I used last year: "we've got to the end of the year — a good year, a forgettable year, a year that for investors was not too different from the preceding two years". But that would have been altogether too bland, and a year-end newsletter should never be that (even if it is factually correct).
I was also tempted to summarise the year's economic drivers and major market themes — however, that also risked blandness, not to mention repetition. I went to my favourite weekly newsletter and reviewed the key topics from each of the last year's issues and — you guessed it — they were virtually the same as the topics through the 2014 year. The year can essentially be summarised by: China's growth, impending interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, bonds and interest rates, currency, commodity prices and the US economy. Yawn.
Arguably it is risky writing a year-end newsletter in the early days of December — something really momentous could happen in the final three weeks of the year. I am a risk-taker though, and anyway, I predict that if something momentous is going to happen in the final days of the year, it won't relate to investment markets. It will most likely relate to other, more important aspects of our lives. It could be the birth of a grandchild, a new career direction, a generous year-end bonus, a new drug to cure our ailments, or best of all, an end to terrorism and all the other things that threaten our happiness and sense of wellbeing.
You see that's the thing about the end of the year. We can cut ourselves some slack and focus on the really important things. If your investing experience has met your expectations so far in 2015, great — go ahead and enjoy the festive season, because your expectations won't be dashed, regardless of what happens from here. If your investment expectations haven't quite been met, it may be that your expectations or your investment strategy need to be reconsidered. Why don't you give us a call and make a time in January to come and chat through the appropriate investment settings for you. There's no instant fix to be had in the next few weeks, so switch off the money channel and join your family on the couch for some lighthearted viewing.
The Fisher Funds team would like to thank you sincerely for your continued support, and for telling your friends and family about us. We really do appreciate it.
We'll be in touch again in February, and will let you know what you missed over the summer break and what might lie ahead in the 2016 year. We wish you the very best for the festive season — take care out there.
Oh OK. For those of you who just can't switch off yet, who just need to know what's happening next, here is the mainstream outlook for 2016 (according to a variety of important economists from around the world). China will continue to slow. The US will continue to outperform its peers. With global demand soft, interest rates and the prices of commodities will likely remain low. Central bankers will remain in the spotlight as they attempt to nudge interest rates higher (US) and stimulate growth (Europe and Japan). The world economy will be stronger than in 2015 and roughly in line with long-term growth averages. One economist aptly summarized it as follows: The coming year will be "OK-ish".
There you are — told you — bland.
Now, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!