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  • October 31, 2018
    Macroeconomics & Risk
    They Walk Among Us – The Extended Cycle Of Zombie Firms
    Eoin Murray
  • September 3, 2018
    Macroeconomics & Risk
    Hermes: Journeying through ongoing uncertainty
    Eoin Murray
    “There are as many worlds as there are kinds of days, and as an opal changes its colours and its fire to match the nature of a day, so do I.” In 1960, Nobel Prize-winning US author John Steinbeck set out on a road journey around his home country to see what he could see; to note any changes in the vast nation he hadn’t observed up close for decades. Aged 58 and in ill-health, Steinbeck was nonetheless willing to confront the reality of a rapidly-changing US from the driver’s seat of a jerry-built house truck and only a ‘middle-aged poodle’ called Charley for company. While his best-selling recount of the trip was tinged with nostalgia and tips for poodle maintenance, the writer didn’t let the past blot out a clear-eyed view of the present. “A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike,” Steinbeck wrote. Investors would do well to bear this advice in mind as they venture through the second half of 2018. In the latest Hermes Market Risk Insights report, Journeying through a changing risk environment, Eoin Murray, Head of Investment at Hermes Investment Management, explores the six key risks investors must navigate through during the latter part of the year.
  • August 20, 2018
    Macroeconomics & Risk
    Infographic: Market Risk Insights, Q3 2018
    Eoin Murray
    Risk is amorphous, creating investment opportunities and threats to capital at each stage of the cycle. In response, investors must watch for familiar patterns and new disruptions amid streams of financial indicators. Models based on statistical history can serve as useful, if inexact, guides to the future. But we need to use all the tools at hand, going beyond number crunching to consider geopolitical tensions and sustainability concerns, to separate meaningful signals from the noise. We recommend tracking the following six indicators to recognise risk in its current form – and identify where opportunities lie.
  • Infographic: Market Risk Insights, Q2 2018
    Eoin Murray
    Dickensian conditions Q2 2018 Risk is amorphous, creating investment opportunities and threats to capital at each stage of the cycle. In response, investors must watch for familiar patterns and new disruptions amid streams of financial indicators. Models based on statistical history can serve as useful, if inexact, guides. But we need to use all the tools at hand, going beyond number crunching to consider geopolitical tensions and sustainability concerns, to separate meaningful signals from the noise. We recommend tracking the following six indicators to recognise risk in its current form – and identify where opportunities lie.
  • Fixing Big Tech – saving the FANGs from themselves
    Eoin Murray
    Despite phenomenal long-term share price performance, Big Tech has been besieged from all sides – governments and regulators have been forced to increase scrutiny, investors are questioning the future economic consequences, while consumers question the FANGs’ social licence to operate. In response to the major issues faced by Big Tech, Sickly Tech, a report by Eoin Murray, Head of Investment at Hermes Investment Management, raises deep questions about Big Tech’s future, the risks for investors, and outlines the necessary steps to drive reform. Even the market ruckus earlier this year failed to derail the trajectory of the Big Tech leaders. Instead, the market witnessed dramatic outperformance by Big Tech and the FANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google), which benefit from the ongoing growth in internet commerce. Indeed, if the FANGs (plus Nvidia and Microsoft) are stripped out, the S&P 500 has fallen over the year to date - such is the influence of their phenomenal momentum. Even from a global perspective, the FANGs are a vital positive story, with global markets overall having fallen slightly in 2018.
  • Spring of hope, or winter of despair? Investors face Dickensian conditions
    Eoin Murray
    Charles Dickens’ famous lines set the scene for a world of latent volatility, where contradictory extremes loom as equally likely realities and the slightest change in the political winds could send events either way. This encapsulates the bipolar nature of investors in 2018 to date, as they seek meaning in conflicting signals: will it be a time of inflation or disinflation, liquidity or illiquidity, growth or slump? In this issue of Market Risk Insights, we analyse key investment metrics in order to help investors navigate these Dickensian conditions.
  • February 2, 2018
    Macroeconomics & Risk
    Market Risk Insights: Before the luck runs out
    Eoin Murray
    Polar exploration has been a recurrent theme for Market Risk Insights over the last year or so, perhaps inspired by the parallels investors now face as they trudge out into largely unmapped territory featuring extreme financial conditions. As we enter 2018, global stock indices continue to trek past record highs while investors – at least those with any sense of history – debate whether the outlandish ‘bull market in everything’ can rage on further. Aptly, forecasting has become a game of polar opposites with both meltdown and ‘melt-up’ touted as distinct possibilities for 2018 by market pundits. In the short term at least, most investors are expecting a temperate environment: not too hot, not too cold. Nonetheless, they must – taking a cue from the Norwegian explorer of the South Pole, Roald Amundsen – consider the likelihood of a number of future scenarios and plan accordingly. And while investment markets may be less predictable than the weather or the feed requirements of Pole-bound sled-dogs, we can reasonably plot some of the danger zones ahead.
  • December 22, 2017
    Stewardship
    Hermes Podcast: Why ESG Matters?
    Eoin Murray
    Dan Churchouse, Associate Director for UK Wholesale, sits down with Eoin Murray, Head of Investment to better understand why ESG matters when it comes to investing.
  • Should investors be scared of heights?
    Eoin Murray
    Equities are scaling new peaks, driven by what appears to be a market-friendly first-round result in the French presidential elections and Trump’s renewed talk of tax cuts, but Eoin Murray, Head of Investment at Hermes Investment Management, warns that investors should look through the near-universal positivity for signs of risk. In the US, for instance, the tech-toned Nasdaq breached 6,000 for the first time, while the Dow Jones retook the lofty 21,000 barrier it originally claimed this March. But can risk assets sustain a rapid ascent to greater heights?
  • November 17, 2016
    Macroeconomics & Risk
    Market Risk Insights Q4 2016
    Eoin Murray
    “He who goes gently, goes safely; he who goes safely, goes far.” Joseph Thomson – geologist and explorer In cinematic terms, the third quarter offered investors more tension-building moments than over-the-top action scenes. As our previous Market Risk Insights suggested was likely, the three-month period played out against a backdrop of apparent calm, disturbed only by brief spikes of volatility and risk aversion.