Simon English: Crisis, what crisis? Footsie stays unfazed
Thursday 15 December 2011
Outlook What's up with the stock market? Hasn't it been told there's a crisis on? It fell more than 100 points yesterday, but in general the FTSE 100 is acting as if there's no possible trouble ahead. It's more turbulent than usual (100-point moves used to be news in themselves) but at 5,367 it is signalling that everything is basically fine.
What's going on? One theory is that equities, theoretically the most risky asset class, are presently seen as the closest to a safe haven that exists. In other times of strife, investors abandon shares and pile into government bonds on the basis that, well, entire countries don't go bust very often.
Just now, big companies are seen as safer than countries. That's quite scary. Take heart, if you can, from the reams of evidence that investors aren't always right. Often not, in fact.
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