Low returns

The 40th edition of BZW's equity-gilt study, which charts the annual returns from investments in the markets over more than three quarters of a century, found that the negative real returns from equities and gilts in 1994 put that year in the lowe st quartile of results over the last 76 years.

But BZW's rolling 10 year average of real returns - which is used to investigate underlying trends - show that recent 10-year returns from gilts,equities and cash have been exceptional, fanning once again the debate on whether we are about to see a fundamental change in the long-term trends.

Over the most recent 10-year period, equities have returned 9.6 per cent a year, gilts 5.8 per cent a year and cash 5.5 per cent.