Interesting times…

“Like it or not we live in interesting times. These are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history.”

These are the words of President John F Kennedy in a speech more than 50 years ago, yet they have never been truer than they are today.

Danger appears to lurk everywhere; from the unstable geopolitical situation, acts of terrorism and even the threat of nuclear war from North Korea. The political process throughout the world has also become totally unpredictable, with uncertainty about the outcome of Brexit, the wider future of the Eurozone, and the policies of Donald Trump.

A decade on from the financial crisis, economies are still in the recovery ward, leading to uncertainty about the stability of the financial system. Economic growth continues at a leisurely pace, but burdened by high debt and an over-spent consumer, it is still below trend. The corporate sector, whilst benefiting from low labour costs and low interest rates, faces the most competitive environment for decades. Amazon-mania dictates that prices remain low and top line profit growth will become even more difficult to achieve.

And yet, as predicted by JFK, man’s creative energy means that the ubiquity of technology is a game changer, and along with automation, could be of benefit to everyone.

Advancement in medical science provides us all with the opportunity to enjoy longer and healthier lives. Cheaper, alternative sources of energy will eventually feed through to stronger economic growth, which in turn will help to reduce the burden of debt.

Unemployment is approaching a historic low in the industrial world and stock markets continue to grind upwards thanks to a tonic of dormant inflation, low interest rates and improving corporate earnings. Short and long-term interest rates are also likely to remain close to current levels for a lot longer than people think, making the yields on stocks and shares doubly attractive.

Stability is good. Companies that can deliver predictable growth in this competitive, low inflation world will continue to out-perform and their valuations are likely to remain high by historical measures.

And so, President Kennedy’s wise words of more than 50 years ago hold good today; danger and uncertainty might be everywhere but thanks to the creativity of man, better times lay ahead and they can offer opportunity for all. Interesting times indeed…

Uncertainty about the future from a financial perspective is exactly where Clarion excels. We create financial and investment plans tailored to individual, personal and specific objectives that will stand the test of time, allowing you to enjoy the interesting times ahead to the full.


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