Bad news sells newspapers apparently. I can only assume it must do. After so many years of economic doom and gloom in the headlines, some of the really good news coming through appears woefully underreported.
Not everyone understands the nature of stock indices, let alone follows them. The only time most people will hear about the FTSE 100 is because it has crashed. We are then told how bad that is for everyone’s pension scheme.
The opposite has actually been true of late – not that you will hear about it in the press. The FTSE 100 – an aggregate of the value of the stock of the 100 biggest listed companies on the London Stock Exchange by market capitalisation – has performed very well of late. In fact, as of May 21, its value was 6759 – just 171 points off its highest ever level back in 1999.
This means that investors, including pension funds, will have made a lot of money in recent months – great news for everyone. Some portfolios will have increased by 20% or more.
When such positive runs occur, however, I am always reminded how easy it can be to get it wrong when investing in stocks or indices. Now is the time you will see unsophisticated retail investors, dazzled by the recent gains, jump in hoping to achieve the same.
In fact, they could be coming in too late. The expert advice would be to consolidate investments now and realise some of the healthy gains that have been made.
Those same investors are the ones that panic when the market falls. Yet that is the time that the experts and specialists look carefully and start investing.
Warren Buffet once said in a letter to shareholders “to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful.”
Given the economic turbulence of late, who would have thought we would be seeing such improvements. Yet that is why experts can be worth their weight in gold (or stocks) and why you should take what you read in the press with a pinch of salt!