There is absolutely nothing in the rumours that the NTI newsroom was closed down over the extended festive period due to an influx of stories about puppies and pudding. We have had the builders in, anticipating a year packed with news and startling events, and Aarati's son came in between Christmas and new year to knock down the wall to the macerator, which gives us room for a kettle.
We have seen neither hide nor hair of Neil, who has been fully occupied checking his stock position over the festive season. He is now so old that his whole life policy pays out in any event, if only because he has cheated death so many times. Rumours are that he is engaging a PT full-time to prepare for an 80th consecutive year on the NTI 'Getting It' courses for both CPI and JIEB (but we will have to find room in the lecture theatres for his iron-lung and defibrilators).
He is looking pretty chipper. Something to do with the fact that, despite the news that the world is coming to an inevitable end due to countless causes, global stock markets closed 2021 with double-digit gains for the third year in a row. All the credit goes to easy monetary policy throughout the western world and a veritable continuous gush of fiscal stimulus, backed up by an orchard of money trees shedding their fruit throughout the year.
If you put your faith in FTSE last year, rather than sticking cash in the bank, you were rewarded by a 16.7 per cent return (beating 2020's number of 14.1 per cent), but still looking fairly pallid in the shadow of the corking 24 per cent gain in 2019.
Despite our new favourite Greek alphabet letter gatecrashing the Yule party and the prospect of central banks throughout the world looking to ease up on unparalleled Covid-era support, stock markets still bucked a number of trends and the future still appears to be a place we should all consider putting our money into.
In the final half of 2021 companies were sneakily able to pass on sharp rises on incoming prices, as economic demand outpaced supply and even though there are shortages of just about everything, we still got our hands on enough to put the jeebies up the Bank of England here in the UK and send inflation skywards.
The Christmas markets may have been either closed or curtailed for much of the festive season, but private markets are hot, hot, hot and open for business. Mainstream asset managers spent much of last year seeking to capitalise on the popularity of dealmaking in those markets. Schroders are a big name in that field and they put down 352 very large ones to buy renewables investment firm Greencoat Capital. Correct us if we are wrong, but we think that is called a 'sign of the times'.
Someone who knows all about that stuff, despite having a name no-one can get within 400 metres of is Ju-Hon Kewk, a senior partner at McKinseys in New York. Mr Kewk reckons that groups who offer exposure to private markets are likely to see extremely healthy growth and profitabliity throughout this year, but those investment managers who have put their money into multi-asset businesses or international investing may be getting a bloody nose and will need to get back into the environmental and social markets to avoid spending more time at home with the kids and their Xbox.
A fine, fit and fabulous new year to all of our regulars. Whatever happens you can rest assured we will be seeking to get it to you first, using the correct terminology and having a go at all of those who deserve it.
Nice to have you back.