Beware of market trolls, says investor

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The Independent Online

Perhaps she saw yesterday evening's shares sell-off coming. Speaking hours befoere global markets swung sharply down, Katherine Garrett-Cox, head of the giant Alliance Trust investment firm, told punters not to be folled by the recent stock market rally.

The FTSE 100 has risen by more than 800 points since October but she is cautious, putting it down to "little more than a temporary feelgood factor". Mounting geopolitical concerns should focus investors' minds, she added.

"The whole trick in this type of environment is you've got to stop the trolls knocking you off the bridge, because there are a number of big trolls out there, and they're getting a bit bigger and hairier," she said. As a result, Ms Garrett-Cox and her team are picking defensive stocks, including Unilever of the UK and Sanofi, the French pharmaceuticals business.

Alliance Trust raised its dividend 7.2 per cent for the 11 months to 31 December. It may be looking for safe havens, but retail punters prefer bigger risks, says the stockbroking firm The Share Centre, which named Thomas Cook as punters' favourite.