Japan’s stock market has huge upside potential

The best investment decisions are almost always those that feel most uncomfortable at the time they are made. George Soros says he gets terrible backache when running his biggest positions. ‘If it ain’t hurting, it ain’t working’ is a good motto to put on your computer screen. Those who think Japan is an excellent home for their money at the moment (as I do) are very familiar with this phenomenon.

A talk-in on gold with Charlie Morris

If you are interested in gold, and the future of currencies generally, you should be interested in my latest Money Makers podcast, which features a 45-minute conversation with ex-HSBC fund manager Charlie Morris on all aspects of gold – how to think about it? Is it good value now? How should you go about buying the metal? Are gold stocks a good place to be? How much gold should you have in your portfolio? All these topics are covered in the podcast. What I like about Charlie’s approach is his disciplined, no-nonsense approach to analysing gold; he is not a gold bug, but someone who recognises that gold can be cheap or overvalued, just like any other asset. After 15 years running multi-asset portfolios for HSBC, Charlie now does the same for a private wealth management business, Netscape Capital, and writes a free must-read monthly newsletter about gold and crypto-currencies called Atlas Pulse. You can hear the podcast on the Money Makers website.

Debt and Delusion revisited – new podcast

When the independent economist Peter Warburton first published his book Debt and Delusion in 1999, the world was still in the throes of the Internet bubble, the greatest stock market mania of all time. His warnings about the global build up of debt, the proliferation of new financial instruments and the complacency of central bankers largely fell on deaf ears, only to be tragically vindicated in the global financial crisis of 2008. Eight years on from that defining moment, he has revisited the themes of his pioneering research into global credit expansion – and come up with some equally disturbing conclusions, which he summarises in a podcast interview with me today.

In praise of moving averages

What do you want the stock market to do for you? Make short-term speculative gains, or grow your wealth over a period of years? My answer would be: ideally both — but the wealth part is by far the more important of the two. The-question is: what can a wealth-seeking investor do to minimise the risk of losses along the way? Here’s one technique that might help.

AIMing high

Aim — originally the Alternative Investment Market — is a curious entity that understandably excites conflicting responses. Since its launch in 1995, London’s ‘junior’ market has raised some £24 billion in new capital for smaller companies. But more than 70 per cent of companies listed on this relatively laissez-faire exchange have failed to make money for investors. A huge number have disappeared: the best taken over or promoted to the main market; many more simply insolvent; some spectacularly fraudulent. The official Aim index, which tracks the performance of its 1,100 constituent members, remains 27 per cent lower today than it was when Aim opened two decades ago — and it excludes companies that have gone south in the intervening years. Yet, paradoxically, Aim has also been a resounding success.

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