Martin Aitken & Co Ltd News & Developments

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Flaming June sees interest rates flare

June was a notable month for rising interest rates on both sides of the Atlantic.

Firstly, the US central bank, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) increased its main interest rate by 0.75% to 1.50% - 1.75%. It was the third consecutive meeting at which the Fed had raised rates and the bank made clear it would not be the last, The Fed’s rate settlers published a set of projections that showed expectations for a 3.4% rate by the end of the year.

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An unexpected first quarter

Despite the numerous shocks that occurred in the first quarter of 2022, the world’s share markets held up surprisingly well.

Cast your mind back to the start of the year. The world was coming to terms with the latest Omicron variant of Covid, which was supposedly proving less serious than its predecessors. The latest available UK inflation figure (for November 2021) was 5.1% and the Bank of England had delivered an early Christmas present of a 0.15% rise in interest rates to 0.25%. Across the Atlantic, US inflation was higher at 6.8%, but the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, had delayed its first increase in interest rates. Investment markets had enjoyed a generally good 2021, particularly in the US, and while interest rate rises were expected in 2022, the post-pandemic investment outlook was reasonably sunny.

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Quantitative tightening: A reversal of fortunes?

One of the defining financial strategies of the last 13 years – quantitative easing – is about to go into reverse.

The Bank of England will slowly trim its £9 trillion portfolio throughout 2022, but only time will tell when it comes to the impact on personal investments.

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2021: Investment wrap-up

The world’s share markets generally produced solid returns in 2021, but UK stocks and fixed-interest investments suffered. Maintaining an international outlook in your portfolio can help underpin its value.

2021 was a good year for most investors in share-based funds, particularly those who had holdings linked to the US market.

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