The MoneyWeek Podcast: a very strange year, when forecasting anything became almost impossible

Merryn and John talk about the past year in the markets, the rise of inflation and the bond market's reaction (or lack of it), and conclude that nothing does what you expect anymore.

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Transcript

Merryn Somerset Webb: Hello, and welcome to the MoneyWeek Magazine Podcast. I am Merryn Somerset Webb, editor-in-Chief of the magazine, and with me today, I have John Stepek, our executive editor. Now, this is going to be our last podcast of the year. Well, I think it is anyway. John, you’re not planning to do a podcast next week are you? Because I’m afraid I’m not.

John Stepek: No, I’m planning to sit and drown my sorrows alone under the Christmas tree. 

Merryn: I know. We were just saying before we started recording that, as John and I were discussing what we might talk about – which is pointless because we never talk about what we say we’re going to talk about – a text came in cancelling my final social engagement, the last one that was left on the list before Christmas. That’s it, they’re all gone. It’s just me and the tree now. Carnage. 

Anyway, so what shall we talk about? We were going to talk about… Well, let’s talk about the year. That was a weird year. Who could have thought, at the beginning of this year, we would see another year of intense bull market when really, in a rational normal world, it should be bear markets all over the place?

John: Yes, it’s been weird in lots of ways. I think the thing that we were right about and that we were writing about a lot during 2020 was that inflation would take off and that it wouldn’t be transitory. And we got that absolutely spot on. 

Merryn: We did. We were very “Roaring 20s” as well, and we were actually expecting the market to do quite well this year because we believed that the economy would pick up extremely quickly. We were expecting very fast GDP growth. We were expecting expensive valuations to be mitigated by very fast growth in earnings. 

So, I suppose we weren’t surprised, and at the same time, we expected that supply shock, combined with the demand shock, the positive demand shock, of people having a big pile of money in their pockets, to end up with there being inflation. So, I suppose we haven’t been surprised, but it’s still odd. 

John: Yes, it is odd, and also, to be fair, the sorts of things like, for example, the growth in the NASDAQ, that’s still been the best-performing market, and the US is still massively overvalued, but still was the best-performing market. So, that sort of great cyclical change into value, etc, hasn’t really… Or rather, it’s reversed this year because the big mining stocks are actually down on the year, that sort of thing. 

And also, inflation, I think, takes longer to pan out because I think that people have been so used to deflation or fear of deflation for such a long time that the market, and the bond market particularly, is still rigidly stuck in this idea that interest rates are going to collapse any minute now. So, I can see why we’re still there. Effectively, we’ve still got a bond bubble. But I am wondering, how long does it take for the message to get through that inflation’s actually not going to go away?

And even if we get… Well, we’ve already got this terrible pseudo lockdown, but that’s going to exacerbate the same problems we’ve already had. The supply chains are not going to get better if the ports are shutting down because one person’s got Covid In the dock or something like that. 

Merryn: Mm-hmm, but I do think this is one of the most extraordinary things. If we had sat down, which we did, you and I, at the beginning of the year, and said we expect inflation to rise… And I’m not even sure that you and I expected inflation to be up round 6%-7% by the end of the year in the US. That was, possibly, a surprise even to use, but nonetheless, when we sat down to talk about inflation rising, if anyone listening to us had known for sure that we were right about that and we had known for sure that we were right about that, we would have expected one of the greatest bear markets in bonds ever. 

John: Yes, definitely. 

Merryn: And that didn’t happen, and that just goes to show how the market never really does what you think it’s going to do, any market, and prediction is really one of the most pointless things in the world because if someone had told me in January, inflation is going to be running at 5%-6%-7% throughout the developed world, we would have thought we could have made an absolute fortune, knowing what was going to happen in the bond market. But we wouldn’t have. 

John: No, we wouldn’t have. You’re right, and they probably made all the wrong calls as well. And you’re right, that is irritating thing about forecasting, not only do you have to get the forecast right, you then have to predict how the market’s going to respond to it. And there are just very few, if any, circumstances where that is anything that could be described as easy. I think the only things you can even start to think about doing that with is very specific political events like Brexit, for example. 

I think, if you’d known the outcome the day before it happened, you could have made a pretty good fist of betting on what would happen in the markets. But, yes, that sort of thing hardly ever happens. 

Merryn: And the other thing to say, I suppose, about the markets over the last year is that, while we look at the US and we go, well, this is grotesquely overvalued and it never seems to end, and we keep anticipating that loss-making growth stocks will start to fall, etc, is that, under the surface, a lot of the stuff is happening. So, the loss-making tech stocks have been falling quite a lot, and we’ve seen a lot of those come up significantly over the last few months. 

And it is true that there’s no breadth to this market. So, it is a small number of very big stocks that are leading the whole thing, and underneath, there’s quite a lot of reasonably valued stocks. And we’ve talked a lot over the last however many years about the everything bubble, absolutely everything being grotesquely overpriced. But in this part of the bull market, that’s not really true anymore. 

John: Yes, the obvious one here is Cathie Wood, so her big ARK fund or ETF, which holds, basically, Tesla plus a load of loss-making blue-sky hope stocks. And that actually peaked in February, which is obviously a long time ago now, and it’s down, I think, about 50% on the year or something like that. So… Again, the sorts of stocks that we’ve mentioned, as in long-duration stocks, ones that are very, very dependent on discounting, like almost illusory cashflows, miles away in the future, at very low rates, and as soon as that discount rate starts to pick up, the value drops, those ones have come off a lot. 

Merryn: Yes, but there we go. We used to think of those as being some kind of bond proxy, right, growth stocks. So, you could buy the growth stocks, and it didn’t really matter. You could hold them indefinitely, particularly the loss-making ones. If interest rates are that low, you don’t need to make a return from them, etc. So, with inflation rising, the bond market has not really reacted, but these stocks have. 

John: I think, yes, but there’s a bit of a difference there, in that, obviously, the bonds fulfil a lot of different roles, because that’s a very… 

I suppose it’s weird. I suppose it shares the characteristic of a zero-coupon, very long-dated bond, in that it will fluctuate a lot with interest rate and expectations, but that’s about it. They also have things like credit risk and also just, I guess, faddishness. But there is also this sense of the belief style that…

Because the other point, if you’d told me at the start of the year that by the end of the year, inflation in the US will be picking up for 7%, but bond yields will still be kicking around 1.5%, then I would have said to you, OK, so did the Fed institute yield curve control at some point? The Fed must have something going on to keep yields at this level. But obviously, it’s not that the Fed’s… Tightening monetary policy is a very strong word to say, because all they’re really doing is sluicing in less money at the moment. 

But they’re still going in that direction. They haven’t turned around and said we’re going to cap bond yields at this level. they haven’t made any kind of big announcements that I guess, perhaps, I would have expected if you’d told me that’s where those two numbers would be at the end of this year. 

Merryn: But people still behave as though that’s what’s going to happen. This is a bit like people locking themselves down, even when there’s no regulation around it, right?

John: Yes, actually, that’s a really good analogy.

Merryn: It’s exactly the same thing. There’s no official lockdown in the UK, but there’s been, oh, well, this might happen and that might happen, and maybe we’ll lockdown, and this is dangerous and it is incredibly infectious and yield this and yield that and vaccinate, booster, blah blah blah. 

My God, it must be costing the government a fortune in advertising. See yesterday, every single newspaper had “Get Boosted Now”. God, who does that advertising? We’re in the wrong job, John. I know I say this every podcast, but wrong job. And so, the yield curve is exactly the same thing. Yes, basically do it. 

John: Yes, it’s just, they’ve basically convinced markets that they wouldn’t let this happen. Yes, I think that’s definitely true. 

Merryn: And you also slightly shift the responsibility onto people in other ways as well. So, say you’ve got the liability in asset matching etc in pension funds. It means that people are forced to buy bonds, regardless of anything. So, even though they think, well, I really don’t want to buy this stuff, they have to buy this stuff anyway. It’s the same as everyone cancelling their weddings. I don’t really want to cancel… not weddings, but Christmas parties, etc... I don’t really want to do this, but if I don’t, everyone getting Covid will be my responsibility. 

And if I don’t buy all these bonds, not being able to pay out these pensions at some indefinite point in the future will be my responsibility. It’s not a law, as such, but, ooh, the responsibility shift has been made to me. So, I don’t want to push the analogy too far, but you get the general idea. 

John: Yes. Oh, no, there’s a lot of career risk here, and that’s why there’s a relentless “buy the dip” mentality with bonds as well. 

One thing I think is interesting though is that you always see people acting as if the bond market is an extremely good forecaster, because whenever people are saying, well, what’s going to happen with inflation next, then the smart panellists and commentators will all say, oh, well, the bond market doesn’t think it’s going to go up. 

But according to James Ferguson, our friend over at Micro Strategy, the bond market, basically, has no predictive power about inflation at all. It just gets it wrong along with everyone else. So, I think the bond market…

Merryn: Well, and like so many of the signals that we’ve watched over the years, it’s just so distorted now from the bonkers financial behaviour of the last decade. Nothing does what you expect anymore. 

John: Yes. So, people just don’t take that into account, and they just assume that, oh, well, the bond guys are the smart guys, so it must be right, it must be fine. So, yes, it’s something that came up at the roundtable, because we got all our usual experts and a few new ones in to have a chat about what just happened and what they think’s going to happen in the year ahead. And I think…

Merryn: John, I’ve got to say, before we get letters about this, I’m just going to say, I’ve pulled up the roundtable in front of me. It’s brilliant, by the way. Everyone, go away and read it when you get your magazine. 2021 was full of contradictions, so what will 2022 bring? Now, you are going to be so done by the diversity police. 

John: I know. 

Merryn: And I want to be absolutely clear, everybody, John organised this roundtable. It was not me. I have absolutely nothing to do with the five white men you have there.

John: I know, it was a manel.

Merryn: It was a manel, it really was. 

John: I felt very bad about it, but all of the women that I asked couldn’t come, so…

Merryn: Women, they’re so unobliging, aren’t they?

John: Yes, so unreliable. Ditzy, one might say. 

Merryn: I think that’ll do. 

John: Do you think? Have I got cancelled yet?

Merryn: I’m going to cancel you myself soon…

Anyway, the point is that all five of these men, they were fantastic, and it’s a really great and interesting roundtable. Now, what were you going to say about it? Sorry to interrupt you. 

John: I’ve completely forgotten. Oh, yes, that was it…

Merryn: Inflation. 

John: Yes. One of the interesting things is that I can ask everyone at the end for their guesses about inflation this time next year, and the spread’s from 3% to 10%, so I just thought that was really interesting. It shows that nobody has any strong ideas about what’s coming next, and I think that’s actually unusual. 

Merryn: It is. Yes, I’m just looking at the end of it where you asked them that question when you’ve got 6%, 4%, 3% and then you’ve got the wonderful Jim Mellon coming in with 10% in the US, which is pretty feisty. It is worth saying, there is another question you asked them all at the end, on which they entirely agree. 

John: Yes, that really, actually, surprised me. 

Merryn: A quickfire round before you go, you asked them, this time next year, will Boris Johnson still be prime minister, and basically, they go no, no, no, no, no. But it’s something they agree on. I think I’m with them on that too. 

John: I think I am too, except, I don't know enough about the mechanics of politics to know how all the triangulation and working out this one, working out that one… Do you think that Rishi would be the next? He’s the obvious candidate, isn’t he?

Merryn: He’s the obvious one, yes. 

John: But it’s often someone you’ve never heard of. 

Merryn: That’s the thing, you and I, we don’t really understand the mechanics of that kind of politics, so it’s impossible to say. So, let’s not get side-tracked on politics.

John: No, good idea. 

Merryn: We have absolutely nothing useful to add on that one. Well, I haven’t anyway. You might. 

John: It’ll be interesting to see what happens. 

Merryn: Oh, yes, can’t wait. 

John: No, I haven’t got anything useful. 

Merryn: Got nothing else to do, except for watch this stuff, especially now over Christmas. Hopefully, something exciting will happen in the next few days, because I’ve got nothing else to do. So, the main takeaways from the roundtable, what were they? Were people talking about the tech stocks for next year?

John: Well, this is it. It’s quite a broad mix. If there’s any theme that comes out of it at all in that, two of the participants, so both Jim and Steve Russell from Ruffer, who’s another regular, really think the UK is absolutely dirt cheap, so they agree with us on that. And Steve tips a nice range. I think there’s probably about ten FTSE 100 stocks in there this time round. 

Merryn: My God, there’s loads of… I’ve got it in front of me, listeners. Sorry, this must be irritating if you’re watching me read the page as we go, but nonetheless, there are some really interesting tips in here, things that I would not necessarily have expected from them, Currys, for example. But these stocks were all on eight times next year’s earnings, which seems phenomenally cheap. 

John: Well, it’s also, I think the other thing that came out of it is, there’s a lot of companies, and this is something we’ve touched on, but probably haven’t really thought particularly deeply about, but a lot of companies and a lot of sectors have taken the opportunity of Covid to really tidy themselves up. Marks & Spencer is probably a good example of this, and quite a relatable one, but there’s also things like the car rental sector that Steve was talking about. 

And actually, that was quite funny because he actually got caught up in one of those Reddit things. So, they’d bought Avis, I think it was, the big car rental place. And of course, that ended up being one of the Wall Street Bets stocks. And so, Steve had bought it beforehand, but then it went up something like three or four times in a single day, which is… So, we were saying, oh, you’re a meme stock guy now. But anyway, which he was obviously keen to deny.

Merryn: That’s very funny. 

John: But, yes, he still says Hertz is a good bet, and of course, Hertz was nearly bankrupt this time last year, so that’s quite an interesting point. And that’s, basically, all about the upheaval in the car market and fleets not being as depreciated as they were and car manufacturers not stuffing all their unsold cars into the rental market. 

So, there’s a lot of interesting stuff there about where Covid has actually had an impact and possibly something that I hadn’t really been thinking about much. 

Merryn: Yes, so, interesting. The other page that I think is going to get very well read in the magazine this week is, apart from our investment trust…

John: Obviously. 

Merryn: …portfolio review, obviously… And again, that still makes me so nervous. Nearly ten years we’ve been running that group of six investment trusts and the average annualised return is over 17%, which, really, this is not right. It’s not OK. 

John: Mm-hmm, it’s very high. 

Merryn: It is very high. It’s supposed to be a pleasantly diversified group of trusts that you could just buy to get slightly above average returns and not worry about too much. So, I’d be happy with eight or nine, right. I think that’s amazing; 17 is too much. A lot of it’s down, of course, to Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust. But apart from that, Max King has had a go at looking at the investment trusts that he thinks that everyone should hold long term.

And it’s got a lot of crossover there with the investment trust portfolio. There are three that are the same. But Max remains incredibly bullish, doesn’t he?

John: Yes.

Merryn: And he really thinks that a proper sustained bear market is incredibly unlikely. He feels it was good value all over the place, UK, Japan, Latin America, small caps still look fine, and that once you take out the top eight to ten companies in the S&P, which are the biggest, and which we were just talking just now about the lack of breadth in the bull market, it’s led by this small amount of companies at the top. And once you take that out, he says, the S&P is only trading at around 18 times earnings. 

Of course, you must be wary of taking things out because that’s how we’ve gone through years of pretending inflation is very low. But nonetheless, it’s an interesting point to take out the most expensive and really, the rest of the US is not quite as expensive as you’d think. So, he’s got a good list of trusts here, some of the very, very growthy ones, Monks, Scottish Mortgage, etc, but also some value. AVI Global, unexpected. 

I never expect Max to tip anything remotely value-ey, but AVI is very definitely a value-orientated trust to go specifically for value. So, that was an interesting one from him, I thought. 

John: Yes, Max is interesting because, obviously, Max is MoneyWeek’s token perma-bull, almost, in that he disagrees with the rest of us in almost everything. And of course, most of the time, he’s been right. But I think, what he actually echoed, the idea that the UK was cheap, the way that Max frames it, partly because I think he just doesn’t like the idea of investing in value, is that these are companies that have rediscovered their growth story. 

Merryn: Ah, so not real value. 

John: Yes, but I guess that ties in with the idea that the kind of post-Covid rebirth, they’ve come out the other side, shaken up, restructured, so, yes, that’s how he pitches it. 

Merryn: Well, then also, they become growth stocks, in modern language, if they properly digitalise, etc. And we still believe, I think, that there’s always this lag between new technologies and productivity boosts. We’ve seen it time and time again. You get something that should make everybody much more productive and, kind of, doesn’t, and then suddenly it does. And one of the things that people talk about a lot, and we’ve talked about a lot, is that this burst of digitalisation has been massively accelerated by Covid, and therefore we should, hopefully, going into next year, begin to see the huge productivity gains that we’ve been expecting for some time. 

John: Well, yes, you’d hope… 

Merryn: Yes, you would. 

John: Well, I suppose the other interesting thing about this new… And I think, yes, this is the other thing about last year, I must admit, I had hoped that, given that we’ve got vaccines and that there’s even some pills that will get you out of intensive care faster, as far as I can understand it, that by now, we’d be nearly over Covid. 

And at the moment, it certainly doesn’t feel like that. And we had a brief burst of returning to work, and now it’s back to working from home. So, I’ll be interested to see how that kind of hangover affects everything next year. And that’s probably the thing I’m slightly… or the thing I feel the most uncertainty about. What does this actually all mean for the longer run? What is it actually going to mean for interest rates and things?

Because obviously, the Bank of England just put interest rates up. Are they going to feel like doing that in January if people are still locked down? I don't know. I think that’s the…

Merryn: Yes, I guess all we can do on that is keep watching the data. But so far, we’re talking, by the way, everyone, on 21st, so, so far, their data on their new variant seems remarkably positive, in terms of ICU admissions and hospitalisations in general and deaths, so fingers crossed, John, that come January, there’ll be nothing to worry about and the Roaring 20s can really get going.

John: Yes. That’s what would be nice. 

Merryn: Says she hopefully. Nice. 

John: Yes, that would be nice. The risk, I think, was, the more of this stuff that happens, the more I think, actually, you do start to have an impact on people’s psychology. 

Merryn: Oh, God, yes. 

John: And I’m not a big one for… I was confident people would bounce back because people don’t want to be stuck in all the time. But if you keep on getting this thing where there’s a sort of partial lockdown and then loads of social pressure as well, then I think that does start to have an impact. 

Merryn: I agree. 

John: And, basically, if we don’t clear this one, if we get, I don't know, Omega or whatever the next Greek alphabet letter is, like, maybe in May or something like that, then that’s going to be a serious problem, I think, economically. 

Merryn: I think you’re right. I think there does come a point when the long-term impacts of all this become impossible to reverse. There is one interesting little bit in the magazine this week on the Blogs page about how capitalism operates on trust and how important… it’s not just about contracts, it’s about knowing people, it’s about trust, it’s about talking to people, it’s about chat, it’s about… 

There’s a reason why private equity people get on aeroplanes to go and visit the management of the places they intend to buy and ravage. And trust is a product of socialisation, well, not socialisation, but socialising, should I say. 

And without socialising, without talking, without teamwork, without group drinks, without all those things, you don’t have the socialising that creates a trust that makes capitalism so successful. And after going on two years, that has got to begin to have an impact. It eats away around the edge of our relationships with each other, and that really matters. 

John: Yes, and we’re not exactly at a high-trust moment in society generally as well, so that doesn’t help either. Yes, so I think that’s the scary thing. 

Merryn: OK, no, that is not what this podcast is about. We don’t do psychology. Actually, no, that’s all we do. We only do psychology.

John: That’s it, yes, exactly. 

Merryn: Markets are psychology. Right, let’s talk shocks, speaking of psychology. Matthew Lynn, of course, is always a little bit out there in his opinions, which is not to say, I don’t almost always agree with him. And he has written a piece called Five Shocks for 2022. And there’s a lot about changes of leaderships, and particularly, in fact, if you were to run through the theme of his column, I don't know if he meant it like this, but pretty much every single one of them is about changes in leadership at companies, at banks, etc. 

But the one I find interesting is this final one, a bust-up at the Fed. When Powell presses for far higher rates, US president Joe Biden will resist, and Powell will walk away. Of course, in the world of independent and central banks, there should be no room for Biden to resist in the first place, but we all know that’s not quite how it works. 

Now, if that happens, all hell really does break loose, right? Bond yields really will rise. 

John: Oh, yes, that would end up being a problem. 

Merryn: Mm-hmm, because that is the collapse of trust in central banks. 

John: Yes. I’m sceptical about that one happening, just because that’s so tightly managed.

Merryn: I guess, but still, we are moving into an environment, perhaps an environment where central bankers are no longer seen as, as uniquely powerful as they have been over the last couple of decades. 

John: I think that is true, definitely. 

Merryn: And we’ve talked about this before. Have central banks really controlled inflation, or has inflation just been low and it’s had nothing to do with them? And if, now, we see inflation rising and central banks sitting there, going, oh, there’s nothing we can do about this, it’s supply driven, and then they can’t even attempt to do anything about it by putting up interest rates because debt levels in the US and here and political pressure prevent them from doing it, trouble ahead. 

John: Yes, I agree. I just don’t think any of them will walk out. I think it’s more, it will be a bit more like Nixon and Burns in the 70s where… Because at the end of the day, even if Powell were to walk out, they would just put somebody like Brainard up there. You’re right, the risk is that we do get a sort of radical policy, or a panicky policy, to keep bond yields from rising. I think that is a risk because we are at the point where fighting deflation, or pretending to fight deflation, is easy because all you do is you keep making money looser and looser and people like that. 

Merryn: And nobody minds that, yes. 

John: Yes, nobody does mind. For the all the talk of asset price inflation and any quality, I don’t actually see anyone actually trying to take any steps to deal with the actual issue, which is money being pumped into all these things. 

Merryn: No, and in the end, household wealth in the UK is at a new high. Most people are pretty pleased. 

John: Yes, and there’s still not enough losers from that for it to be politically significant enough, which is a shame, because we could do with doing something about house prices. But anyway, that’s another bugbear. But, yes, I think that’s the problem. Now you’ve got inflation, it’s, well, what a central bank technically has to do to tackle inflation can’t be done because if you put interest rates up, then, yes, countries will go bust. 

So, if they don’t manage that in a… So I guess, the way they’re trying to manage it just now is… This, I suppose, is why Powell is talking quite an aggressive game at the moment. 

I think it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that… What was it? I was digging out these stats for Money Morning the other day. The last time inflation was this high in the UK was 1991, and the base rate went between 13% and 10% that year. 

Merryn: Bloody hell. 

John: Can you imagine if the base rate was even 10% now? No one in the country would have any money. We would all be living in the streets. 

Merryn: Well, you say that. What about the…?

John: Puffin savers...

Merryn: Well, the two in three households who own their property outright? That’s pensioners, by the way, not everybody. But the over-65s, two in three households own a house outright. They have savings in the bank. A lot of them have defined benefit pensions linked to inflation. If you want generational warfare, put rates up to 10%, because you’ll certainly get it then. 

John: Oh, yes. As I said, we’d all be in the streets. 

Merryn: Well, they wouldn’t. They’d be hiding in the basements. 

John: Wielding molotovs, exactly. 

Merryn: All right, before…

John: But it just shows you, doesn’t it?

Merryn: It does, shows you all sorts of things, but I’m going to stop you there because I’ve nearly had to cancel you five times in this podcast already. 

John: You can tell it’s near the end of a long year. 

Merryn: You really, really can. Okay, where are we? Thank you very much, everybody, for listening. Hugely appreciated, and thank you so much, all of you, for your support this year. This podcast really has gone from strength to strength this year. We’ve had some absolutely wonderful guests. We’ve had some great ideas, and we’ve had a mega uptick in the number of people who are listening, so we hugely appreciate that. So, do leave us a review if you enjoy the podcast, and as I always say, not if you don’t. 

Do follow us, if you would like, on Twitter @MoneyWeek, @John_Stepek and @MerrynSW, and do sign up for our newsletter, Money Morning. And finally, one of the things that we have talked about a lot on this podcast over the last year or so in various different ways is shareholder democracy, the importance of the retail investor, the rise of the retail investor and what it means for markets and for capitalism and indeed for democracy over the next couple of years. 

And you’ll never guess it, but I have written a book on this very subject. It’s called Share Power

It’ll be out at the beginning of January, and you can, who could have guessed, preorder it on Amazon. And I would hugely appreciate it if you did. There will be, come to think of it, a discount code coming for MoneyWeek readers in the magazine at some point in the next couple of weeks. And I think that is it from me. John, anything from you?

John: Oh, look, I just wanted to say, and I’m not just saying this…

Merryn: Yes, he is. 

John: Merryn’s book’s excellent. You should buy it. It really nails a lot of the issues that we have with capitalism at the moment, and also it’s short. 

Merryn: It’s very short. 

John: Aye, and that’s great because a lot of books, especially financial books these days…

Merryn: They’re too long. 

John: …there’s one idea, and they repeat it 100 times, whereas this is a good…

Merryn: Hey, John, just because it’s short, doesn’t mean I can’t repeat myself. I can repeat myself in a short book just as well as I could in a long book. 

John: Well, at least you don’t have to read too many repetitions. That’s the main thing. 

Merryn: That’s true. Thanks, John. Anyway, happy Christmas to all of you, and probably happy New Year as well, because I expect we’ll be back in the first week of the new year. Thank you very much for listening, and John, happy Christmas to you too. 

John: Happy Christmas.

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Beating inflation takes more luck than skill – but are we about to get lucky?
Inflation

Beating inflation takes more luck than skill – but are we about to get lucky?

The US Federal Reserve managed to beat inflation in the 1980s. But much of that was down to pure luck. Thankfully, says Merryn Somerset Webb, the Bank…
26 Sep 2022
Johann Rupert: the Warren Buffett of luxury goods
People

Johann Rupert: the Warren Buffett of luxury goods

Johann Rupert, the presiding boss of Swiss luxury group Richemont, has seen off a challenge to his authority by a hedge fund. But his trials are not o…
26 Sep 2022
The hidden cost of employee share schemes
Investment strategy

The hidden cost of employee share schemes

Paying employees in shares comes at a cost to investors – but it isn’t always easy to see how much, says Stephen Clapham.
26 Sep 2022

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Could gold be the basis for a new global currency?
Gold

Could gold be the basis for a new global currency?

Gold has always been the most reliable form of money. Now collaboration between China and Russia could lead to a new gold-backed means of exchange – g…
22 Sep 2022
Share tips of the week – 23 September
Share tips

Share tips of the week – 23 September

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
23 Sep 2022
Paypal, bitcoin, and the weaponisation of money
Bitcoin & crypto

Paypal, bitcoin, and the weaponisation of money

Recent events have shown how both business and governments can “weaponise” money and shut down dissent. What to do? Buy bitcoin, says Dominic Frisby.
22 Sep 2022