City Watch: Brian Tora reflects on a lacklustre recent performance by shares

Brian Tora of J M Finn & Co

Brian Tora of J M Finn & Co - Credit: Archant

Despite an initial lift for markets, pretty much immediately after my comments two weeks ago that Vodafone was having less of an effect than I expected, shares have become somewhat lacklustre of late.

The situation in the Ukraine is undoubtedly weighing on sentiment, but perhaps the recent gentle slide in markets owes more to an absence of any real stimulus.

We have not given up much ground, though the push through to a new high for the FTSE 100 index seems to have been put on hold. The news coming through has been positive, rather than negative, though. Expectations that the UK economy will have restored its fortunes to the levels that applied before the financial crisis of 2008 did bring a little comfort to our market yesterday, despite a soft start following some downbeat economic stats out of Asia.

Also published yesterday was research suggesting we Brits were more downbeat over our prospects for financial security in retirement than most other nations. It seems that most of us do not believe the state pension will be enough to maintain us in our old age and we expect to be less well off when we finally give up work than our parents’ generation. The consequences seem likely to be us all working longer, until we are 70 or even later.

In a way this seems only to be expected, given that we are all living longer, but it did appear strange that we are less optimistic than the other nations polled in this research. One of the principal areas of difference with other nations was our belief that the state pension would be insufficient for our needs, yet other countries are in much the same predicament as us, with an ageing population.

What we need is a resumption of the bull market to drive up the value of our pension pots. Whether we get it or not is anyone’s guess.

: : Brian Tora is an associate with investment managers JM Finn & Co.

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