Private Investor: It's our duty to buy shares, it seems

Strange, so they say, that the stock markets are showing such vigour while everything else seems to be falling apart. Everything else, it has to be said, even including those economic indicators normally taken to be crucial to the market's ratings. And yet, with an American house price slump, European consumer confidence falling off a cliff, Japanese growth stumbling and British banks in their biggest pickle in decades, equities are doing nicely.

Everyone has their theories about this, and I've read quite a few of them. All very wise. My favourite is that it's simply down to the fact that the world's central bankers seem happy to look after us investors by cutting interest rates whenever it looks like we'll lose a few quid. Thus, in the pecking order, we now rank ahead of the unemployed, consumers – even bankers themselves. All we have to do is do the decent thing and carry on buying every time the market takes a dive and then recovers on the back of a Fed rate cut. Well, it's the least we can do, isn't it?

In fact, I haven't been doing much recently, but I have been keeping up my monthly investment in the JP Morgan Indian Investment Trust, and you'll also notice I've been writing about it with some regularity as well.

I've got a couple of points to make about that. The boring one first: the bouyancy of emerging market bourses has, I think, helped stabilise the world as a whole. Oddly they have provided a pool of stability in a world where the supposedly reliable Western markets have been gyrating – though as I say with a pronounced upward spin lately thanks to the Fed, the European Central Bank, and the banks of England, Japan, Canada and anywhere else you care to mention.

The second point is much more fun. My investment in the fund – long term, with a drop feed of a few pounds every month – is showing ever more handsome gains. We're all fond of those meaningless but seductive "psychological barriers" – round numbers in other words – and the Indian Investment Trust has crested triumphantly through one of those. The shares are worth over 400p a pop now; up from about 330p only a month ago, and 270p this time last year. A decade ago, I was buying into them at about 50p. So they're almost a 10 bagger. Not bad, eh? Who said investment trusts were dull?

Even if you don't fancy such a pure play on a single emerging market there are plenty of more broadly based emerging markets funds (and JP Morgan's trust in this area is another good performer). Alternatively you can buy into Tesco.

Tesco may have recorded their weakest UK results in seven years – the bad weather they say is at fault – but their overseas expansion is where the action is now, from new shopper s in Hungary to the more established and highly lucrative American consumer.

Of course this isn't the ideal time to be getting into the States, with loose talk about recession and that real-estate slump harming sentiment, but you have to take the long view sometimes. In any event,they have to do something to offset the likely damage the Competition Commission will do to them.

By the way, on the controversial issue of milk prices, I notice the supermarkets have been blamed for colluding on prices and pushing costs to consumers up; yet not so long ago they were being damned for pushing dairy prices down so much farmers couldn't make money. If the supermarkets are now paying farmers a living wage, then maybe paying a few pennies more for your bottle of milk isn't such a rip-off.

What was most intriguing about the Tesco results is how all the negative spin massaging the forthcoming results – and I thought this was all market-sensitive stuff and top secret – that appeared in the weekend press was followed by a resurgence in sentiment towards the stock. It isn't quite back to its peaks, but at 460p versus an all-time high of 478p, we may not have to wait long to glimpse the summit.

Once again, though, a word of apology about Northern Rock, which a few weeks ago I bought at 655p, offloading it a short time later for 470p. Even with the recent speculation about a buyer, the shares still look expensive to me. One analyst said they were worth perhaps as little as 6p a share. That is right; I was very wrong.

s.ogrady@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

    £30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

    Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

    £55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

    Day In a Page

    Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

    Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

    Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US