Friday, 17 April 2009

Flat is the new growth

A month ago or so I took the plunge and started investing in shares after a long time playing safe. My reasoning was that apocolypse was then, not now, and people's gloom was overblown.

Sentiment around the first couple of months this year was like the dot-com boom inverted.

Back then, we knew there was huge change coming and lots of money would be made, somewhere. Like a modern-day gold-rush, investors poured in, putting money everywhere, anywhere, in the hope of another big strike.

The credit crunch has been the reverse. We knew there were black swans out there, ready to strike down investments, and lots of money would be lost, somewhere. And money was indeed lost, in structured finance and real estate in particular.

Now, the flow of black swans is easing. There hasn't been a massive shock for a few weeks now. Even retailers are doing alright. Flat is the new growth.

So a glance at share prices shows that confidence is trickling in, with bleeding-edge investors doubling their money on high-risk equities such as Taylor Wimpey. Even Lloyds TSB's share price has doubled in the last month.

Impossible (literally) to predict where this will end up, but at the moment it looks like an excess of negative sentiment is working its way out of the system. Real growth, however, still looks some way off.

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