How long can the good times roll?

Britain will definitely be leaving the EU in 2020
Regular readers will know I have a tendency to look for the downside in most investment situations. But from an investor’s point of view, it’s very hard to be anything other than deeply relieved about last week’s general election result. Regardless of who you voted for, you have to accept that the outcome delivers on the thing that markets crave more than anything else – some certainty.
We now know that the UK isn’t about to embark on a campaign of wholesale renationalisation. We now know that most voters aren’t naive enough to look at a seemingly endless list of electoral bribes and simple solutions to complicated problems without wondering about the credibility of those making the promises. And we now know that whatever else happens, Britain will leave the European Union (EU), thus showing that our democracy is not broken as many have claimed in the last few years, but in fact working pretty much as it is supposed to – ie, facilitating change in power structures without the need for violent revolution.

There’s always plenty to worry about
Put bluntly, we should be thanking our lucky stars. Yes, there are still plenty of risks ahead. The pound spiked higher on the day of the election – but then ended up right back where it started once everyone remembered that we still have to agree a long-term trade deal with the EU. Matthew Lynn looks at some of the tough choices Britain will have to make. And for all that it may not feel like it, what with the political doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently enjoying what has been a very long economic expansion. How long can the good times continue to roll along without something unexpected – a spiking oil price, say, or even the risk that a recovery leads to pressure for interest rates to rise, finally driving interest rates higher and bursting the bond bubble?
There’s no way of knowing. But on the upside, Britain – even after the post-election bounce – still looks cheap relative to other markets. So if you’ve been avoiding the UK because of Jeremy Corbyn or the Brexit chaos, now looks a good time to bring some of that money back home – for some ideas on how to do it, see this week’s cover story.
That said, don’t bring too much of your money home – too many investors have too much cash invested in their own country and if you do stick to the UK then you’ll miss out on the opportunity to invest in some of the fantastic ideas dished up by our regular contributors in this week’s magazine. Our editor, Andrew, reckons Poland is looking good. Our columnist Mike takes a closer look at biotechnology. Cris looks at Singaporean real estate, while Richard checks out a cheap global consumer goods company – and that’s just a handful of the ideas they’ve come up with.
Next week’s special New Year double issue features one of the best roundtable discussions we’ve had yet. Meanwhile, a very Merry Christmas to you all.

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