In this week's MoneyWeek magazine: how politicians are turning to the failed economic ideas from the 1970s; why ETF launches could be a red flag for the markets; and why UK property is a buy.
Plus, all our usual news and views from the markets, politics and economics; a full roudndup of the best share tips from around the UK press; and six pages of cars, holidays, property and collectables why notsign up now?
Get ready for 1970s-style political upheaval
The UK is "one of the most open, business-friendly countries in the world" at the moment, says Merryn Somerset Webb. We've got extraordinarily low unemployment at just 4.4%, foreign investment is piling in and manufacturing orders are at their highest levels since 1988. That's not bad. But the country is not what you'd call perfect. There's the nasty budget deficit, falling wages and growing wealth inequality.
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Unfortunately, says Merryn , politicians of every stripe seem to think the answer to these problems lies back in the 1970s, with the state intervening to counter what Theresa May calls the "unacceptable face of capitalism". Jeremy Corbyn, or course, would be happy to join her in a corduroy-clad trip back to the decade that fashion forgot.
That would be a very, very big mistake, says Merryn. We'd end up with "political instability; the kind of high taxation that destroys the capitalist incentive; high levels of union power; nasty inflation; and a belief that governments should not just facilitate, but actively direct economic policy." Investors must prepare themselves. Find out how in this week's copy of MoneyWeek magazine.
The fad for new ETFs could be a red flag for the markets
"Here's a warning sign that a market is overheated", says John Stepek on his investment strategy page. "New fund launches." When a market is rising, investors naturally want to throw money at it. Take the dotcom bubble of 2000. The year before that bubble burst, the number of UK tech fund launches rose "nearly tenfold". It's easy to see why. It's simple to sell into a market that investors want to buy into. But when a theme becomes very popular, "its best days are behind it" and the worst are probably just about to come.
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are quick and easy to set up and, right now, are targeting the market's hot new sectors. More than $250bn was invested in them in the first half of 2017, compared with just $81bn in mutual funds. And there's one type of ETF that's especially fashionable that investors should be particularly wary of, says John. Find out what it is in this week's magazine.
How to boost your income with derivatives
With interest rates so low, getting a decent income from your investments is tough, says David C Stevenson. But there is a small subset of funds that are targeting returns in excess of 4% or even 5% a year using "strategies originally developed in the world of options trading and structured products". David picks a few for bold investors to look at. They're risky, obviously, but they may prove to be a "clever alternative take on the more traditional core UK equity tracker".
UK property is still a buy
When the result of the EU referendum was announced, share prices in the property sector fell by more than 20%, says Max King. The sector has recovered since, but prices are not back to pre-referendum levels. And while Brexit is still fostering a fair amount of uncertainty, this provides a "great long-term buying opportunity", says Max.
Cheap tech, a curate's egg for pensions, and the positive side of taxation
Matthew Lynn explains how investors pouring money into tech stocks is raising everyone's living standards, and represents "a huge transfer of wealth from them to ordinary consumers". David Prosser looks at the good and bad news for pensions savers more people are saving, but their money won't buy them much of an income. And while taxation for many is a dirty word, David C Stevenson argues controversially that we need to "boost the take from wealth taxes" to plug the deficit and reduce inequality.
There's a lot more, of course. Ruth Jackson looks at the teething troubles facing the government's new childcare system; Simon Wilson asks if central bankers can kick the habit of quantitative easing; and Chris Carter dives into the world of collectable snuff bottles. All in this week's issue of MoneyWeek magazine. Sign up here.
Ben studied modern languages at London University's Queen Mary College. After dabbling unhappily in local government finance for a while, he went to work for The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. The launch of the paper's website, scotsman.com, in the early years of the dotcom craze, saw Ben move online to manage the Business and Motors channels before becoming deputy editor with responsibility for all aspects of online production for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News websites, along with the papers' Edinburgh Festivals website.
Ben joined MoneyWeek as website editor in 2008, just as the Great Financial Crisis was brewing. He has written extensively for the website and magazine, with a particular emphasis on alternative finance and fintech, including blockchain and bitcoin. As an early adopter of bitcoin, Ben bought when the price was under $200, but went on to spend it all on foolish fripperies.
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