On the cover of this week’s magazine, we’ve got the “metaverse”. Discerning readers will recognise the term from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 dystopian sci-fi novel Snow Crash. Reality and virtual reality come together in an online universe controlled by mega-corporations, in which our heroic protagonist, called, er, Hiro Protagonist, grapples with a mystery computer virus that’s proving deadly in both the virtual world and the real world.
Anyway, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has decided he’s going to build the metaverse, and has rebranded his company as “Meta Platforms”.
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So, what does it all mean? Is it just marketing flannel to sell more Oculus VR headsets, or will it prove to be the beginning of a whole new way of living? Nobody really knows. But what’s certain is that it will open up some new opportunities for investors.
Elsewhere, Dr Mike Tubbs picks nine of his favourite stocks that he reckons you should buy and hold forever; David Stevenson looks at four of the best new investment trusts coming to market; and we ask – is it worth taking out private health insurance?
If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up here and get your first six issues free.
In this week’s podcast Merryn – fresh from her appearance at the COP26 Fringe – is joined by John. They discuss the climate conference and talk about nuclear power (it’s a lot safer than pretty much everybody thinks), the world’s ageing population and, of course, inflation. Listen to what they have to say here.
Here are the links for this week’s editions of Money Morning and other web articles you may have missed:
- Monday Money Morning: Central banks are still sticking to the plan on inflation
- Tuesday Money Morning: Is investors’ enthusiasm for renewable energy justified?
- Merryn’s blog: Inflation forecasts mean interest rates should be on the rise – so why aren’t they?
- Wednesday Money Morning: Bitcoin hits a new record – and we all know what usually comes after fresh highs
- Thursday Money Morning: Inflation might surprise us again in the short-term – but it’s here to stay
- Friday Money Morning: All you need to know about investing for the year ahead in one handy package
- Cryptocurrency roundup: New highs for bitcoin and ether as Twitter jumps on the crypto-wagon
Now for the charts of the week.
Gold really took off this week after a long time going nowhere. US inflation surpassing expectations to hit a 30-year high has driven investors into the arms of the yellow metal, who hope it will provide some protection.
Interestingly (given that it traditionally goes in the opposite direction to gold), the US dollar index (DXY – a measure of the strength of the dollar against a basket of the currencies of its major trading partners) also put on a show of strength.
While the Chinese yuan (or renminbi) weakened against the US dollar (when the red line is rising, the dollar is strengthening while the yuan is weakening).
The yield on the ten-year US government bond turned back up after earlier falls, as investors bet on rates rising faster (in line with inflation).
The yield on the Japanese ten-year bond halted its recent slide and also turned back up.
A move which was mirrored in the yield on the ten-year German Bund.
Copper traded sideways.
The closely related Aussie dollar fell against the strengthening dollar.
Bitcoin hit a new all-time high of around $68,500, then retreated a little. But, as Dominic said this week, the thing about new highs is that they tend to lead to more new highs.
US weekly initial jobless claims fell by 4,000 to 267,000. The four-week moving average rose by 2,000 to 271,000.
The oil price recovered somewhat.
Amazon's share price turned down as growth stocks in general suffered an inflation-driven selloff (they don’t like the risk that interest rates will go up).
And Tesla’s share price took a battering from its own CEO, Elon Musk, who asked the Twitter hive mind if he should sell 10% of his holdings. Twitter said “yes”. So that’s what he did.
Have a great weekend.
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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