The short term outlook is for one of continuing low interest rates and for slightly higher inflation: in all a relatively benign background. In the longer term, of course, greater uncertainties remain and in the UK there are signs that economic growth is slowing and that businesses are becoming reluctant to invest given very obvious Brexit uncertainties. It is perhaps only now that the scale of the differences between the UK and the EU in respect of Brexit issues are beginning to emerge. Nonetheless Sterling remains relatively stable, the implication being that international investors, on balance, take a view that the prospects for a reasonable, if not entirely satisfactory, negotiation remains the most likely outcome. On the basis of the situation as we see it, we continue to be generally positive on equities where we seek to achieve what we believe to be a sound balance between UK and global markets while we continue to remain more cautious on the medium and longer term view for fixed interest investment.
Markets have, on balance, delivered a relatively stable performance so far this year. There have been no substantial interest rates shocks delivered by central banks (the trend towards slightly higher rates in the USA has been well flagged) while the majority of companies have delivered results much as expected.