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Gold Analysis

Demand for gold has gradually declined in the jewellery industry as prices have increased, with China and India by far the largest consumers and fabricators of gold for jewellery purposes. However the demand for investment in the precious metal has increased substantially in the last decade, particularly in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Summary of Results over the period ending 30th June 2016

Each quarter the Investment Team analyses the return, volatility and return/volatility (risk adjusted returns) statistics for the three COURTIERS Total Return funds. This note refers to the annual returns to 30th June 2016.

Child Trust Funds and Junior ISAs - Review of Foreign and Colonial Investment Trust

An update following the last research note of 11th May 2015 covering Child Trust Funds (CTF), Junior ISAs (JISA) and a review of the Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust.

Developing Countries Review

COURTIERS identified five countries showing the highest potential for growth in economic productivity. This research note documents our analysis.

Barclays Equity Gilt Study 2016

The Equity Gilt Study from Barclays is an annual publication containing extensive data on UK equity, bond and cash returns since 1900. In this research note, we look at how the returns in 2015 compare with previous years.

Britain and the European Union (EU) – In our Out – The Facts and Fiction

Comprehensive 19 Page research note on Britian and the European Union by COURTIERS CIO Gary Reynolds

Japan – The Land of the Rising Sum…of Debt!

Comprehensive 8 Page research note on the Japanese economy by COURTIERS CIO Gary Reynolds

Summary of Results Over The Period Ending 31 December 2015

Each quarter the Investment Team analyses the return, volatility and return/volatility (risk adjusted returns) statistics for the three COURTIERS funds. This note refers to the annual returns to 31 December 2015.

Summary of Results Over the Period Ending 30 June 2015

Each quarter the Investment Team analyses the return, volatility and return/volatility (risk adjusted returns) statistics for the three COURTIERS funds. This note refers to the annual returns to 30 June 2015.

Summary of Results Over the Period Ending 31 March 2015

Each quarter the Investment Team analyses the return, volatility and return/volatility (risk adjusted returns) statistics for the three COURTIERS funds. This note refers to the annual returns to 31 March 2015.

Summary of Results Over the Period Ending 31 December 2014

Each quarter the Investment Team analyses the return, volatility and return/volatility (risk adjusted returns) statistics for the three COURTIERS funds. This note refers to the annual returns to 31 December 2014.

Falling Oil Prices, Who Benefits?

In the summer of 2014, Brent Crude was selling at $115 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) at $107 per barrel. By the end of January 2015, both were selling at around $45 per barrel, a reduction of $70 per barrel from the June 2014 peak for Brent Crude, and $62 per barrel for WTI. Brent and WTI have recovered a little from their end of January lows (at close on 20th February 2015, Brent and WTI were trading at $59.79 per barrel and $50.34 per barrel respectively).

Is The US Equity Market Still Good Value?

In the summer of 2011, we built a model to stress test equity returns. On 5th August 2011, Standard & Poor's downgraded US government debt from AAA (outstanding) to AA+ (excellent). The downgrade caused significant volatility to both US share prices, and equity prices, around the world.

COURTIERS Comments on August 2014 Markets

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, issued his quarterly inflation report in August. He revealed that the Bank had halved its forecast for average wage growth in the UK to 1.25%. Official figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in April to June 2014, averages wages excluding bonuses grew by just 0.6% year-on-year. This is the lowest annual growth rate since records began thirteen years ago.

Summary of Results Over the Period Ending 30 June 2014

Each quarter the Investment Team analyses the return, volatility and return/volatility (risk adjusted returns) statistics for the three COURTIERS funds. This note refers to the annual returns to 30 June 2014.

Summary of Results Over the Period Ending 31 March 2014

Each quarter the Investment Team analyses the return, volatility and return/volatility (risk adjusted returns) statistics for the three COURTIERS funds. This note refers to the annual returns to 31 March 2014.

January 2014 Market Commentary

January was a bad period for equities, with the MSCI World Index returning -3.2% over the month. The major developed markets, including the FTSE 100 and the S&P 500, posted signficant declines, while global bond markets saw a boost in returns.

December 2013 Market Commentary

December proved to be a solid month for most developed markets - including the UK, US and Europe - as the run-up to Christmas saw daily increases in their respective indices.

Summary of Results Over the Period Ending 31 December 2013

Each quarter the Investment Team analyses the return, volatility and return/volatility (risk adjusted returns) statistics for the three COURTIERS funds. This note refers to the annual returns to 31 December 2013.

Outlook For Asset Returns

At the COURTIERS Client Investment Seminars earlier this month, and in a subsequent article, I made the point that forecast returns from major market equities are lower going into Christmas 2013 than they were a year ago.

November 2013 Market Commentary

This month the Bank of England amended the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) to focus it on business lending rather than household lending. The FLS for home loans will end in January 2014 – a year earlier than planned – and will only be available for business loans until January 2015.

Australian Dollar

Following my article on Australia last month this research note provides further analysis of the Australian dollar and comments on potential future trends and investment opportunities.

UK Residential Property

A lot has happened since the last COURTIERS update on UK Residential Property in 2007. Back then residential house prices in the UK were experiencing a strong appreciation, partly due to a shortfall in new housing starts. This report aims to provide an update on the UK residential property market by looking at house prices, supply and demand, affordability and the investment picture.

October 2013 Market Commentary

After a lengthy debate and a partial government shutdown that lasted sixteen days, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the US Senate struck a cross-party deal to raise the $16.7 trillion US debt limit.

Summary of Results Over the Period Ending 30 September 2013

I provided an update of annual results in my note of 9th April 2013, and I mentioned absolute, relative and risk adjusted returns at the last Investment Challenge meeting (ICM) on 21st October. As there seems to be increasing interest in having the latest absolute, relative and risk adjusted returns, I will issue this bulletin at the end of each quarter.

Invesco Perpetual UK Equity Home Review

on 15th October 2013, Invesco Perpetual announced that its Head of UK Equities, Neil Woodford, will be leaving on 29th April 2014.

Including Frontier Markets in COURTIERS Funds

My research note of 25th September 2013 noted the low correlation of Frontier Markets compared to Developed Markets. This research note discusses portfolio volatility (measured by standard deviation 1) and the behaviour of that volatility when an asset with a low correlation (2) is added.

Frontier Markets

In my July research note on Africa I concluded that "a frontier markets product may be an appropriate way to introduce exposure to African equities". Frontier markets are more than just Africa and this research note aims to provide more detail on the countries covered and the investment opportunities of this sector of the equity market.

September 2013 Market Commentary

The unemployment rate in the UK fell to 7.7% between May and July from 7.8% in the previous three months. UK inflation, measured by the consumer prices index (CPI) fell to 2.7% in the year to August, from 2.8% in July. The Monetary Policy Committee met for the first time after introducing forward guidance last month, and decided to leave their bond-buying program unchanged.

The States in a State

The United States has dominated the news this week as a result of the partial shutdown of the federal Government. This has not happened in the US since the mid-nineties, and back then the cause was very similar to the one which has arisen this time – money.

India - An Update

India has always featured well in our annual regression of the potential for global economies based on the WEF (World Economic Forum) Global Competitiveness Report. This year it was 6th in our study with potential GDP per capita of $19,235 compared with actual GDP per capita of $1,239 (both figures are in US dollars at PPP ).

August 2013 Market Commentary

Equity, bonds, commodities and currency markets remained volatile throughout August. Improving data from the US injected confidence in the economy, but investors remained wary of the support this provides for the Fed’s case for reducing stimulus. Confidence among U.S. homebuilders rose in August to the highest level since 2005. Claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly dropped during the month to the lowest level in almost six years. Manufacturing expanded at the fastest pace in more than two

Update on the Dollar

We became positive regarding the US dollar in the summer of 2012 and Caroline issued a note on 8th October 2012, at which time, the dollar was around $1.60 to the £1. It has strengthened since then (although it wobbled over the last couple of weeks), and at the time of writing, it is $1.5589, an appreciation of 2.7% since Caroline’s note.

July 2013 Market Commentary

July was yet another volatile month in the markets. Brazil led losses in emerging markets as the possibility of a tighter US monetary policy could result in lower capital flows to Latin America. Egyptian stocks were particularly volatile after the military took over and gave the president Mohamed Morsi 48 hours to find a solution to the country’s political impasse.

June 2013 Market Commentary

The effects of the statement last month from the US Federal Reserve, stating that the central bank would consider starting to reduce quantitative easing this year, continued to spook markets around the globe.

May 2013 Market Commentary

Equity markets throughout the world were volatile during the month after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank may cut its pace of quantitative easing, if officials see indications of sustained growth.

Burma (Myanmar)

The US and some countries in Europe have been invited to observe the upcoming by-elections on 1st April in Burma. These elections will feature Aung San Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner and campaigner for democracy. Economic and trade sanctions have been in place for more than 20 years between the US and Burma, Canada and Burma and the EU and Burma and these elections are seen by some as the first steps in a direction of greater democracy, freedom of movement and freedom of speech.

US Equity Fundamentals Update

In the summer of last year we introduced a new model for examining equity indices fundamentals with the facility to stress test future projected returns based on different macro economic scenarios. We applied this to the US market and on 1st September 2011 I issued a research note entitled ‘Stress Testing Equity Returns For A US Recession’. I thought it would be useful to issue an update.

Tax Tables 2012-2013

All the information you require in a snap shot on the tax year 2012/13

Oil

As most of us are car owners, we notice the price of oil at the pump. So drivers are acutely aware of the very high cost of filling a tank, and they generally have an opinion on the subject. But, so far, the UK’s motorists have not started camping outside St Paul’s, or heckling MPs in the House of Commons, or blocking roads and motorways. In fact, there is barely a whimper of protest and it appears that the world’s motorists are resigned to ever-increasing oil prices. But should they be?

Chinese Equities

Shares in Chinese companies have had a bad year. In the 12 months ending 17th February 2012 the Shenzhen Composite returned -28.42%, the Shanghai Composite returned -19.467% and the Hang Seng China Enterprise index, after showing a remarkable recovery from October onwards, returned -6.865% (between 17th February 2011 and 4th October 2011 it had lost -35.5%).

China and Its Banks

The Chinese Industrial Revolution of the last 30 years has been something of a miracle in the modern economic world. Sustaining annual growth at around 10% per annum is difficult enough (the Euro area managed just 0.88% per annum from 2005, and a pretty paltry 1.16% per annum since 2000), but is harder when you are the most populous country in the world (1.35 billion citizens, accounting for nearly 21% of people on the entire globe).

Small Cap v Large Cap: Is There a Small Cap Premium?

For many years an interesting debate has been taking place regarding the merits of investing in companies that have a lower market capitalisation (“small cap”) compared to companies that have a bigger market capitalisation (“large cap”). In this case “capitalisation” relates to the value of shares traded on the stock market.

Australia

It is notable that the recent boom in commodities has brought Australia into the spotlight, in particular, the Australian dollar. This research note looks at Australia, its economy, politics, currency and investment opportunities in more detail.

Water as a trade idea

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that around 1.1 billion people globally do not have access to improved water supply sources and 2.4 billion people do not have access to any type of improved sanitation facility. It reports that 2 million people die every year due to diarrhoeal diseases and most of these are children under 5 years of age. Most affected people are the populations of developing countries.

Emerging Market Equities Portfolio

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