The Short View

An investor appeared to make sensible decisions with her family’s savings – avoiding her home country of Greece, picking a safe haven and bonds rather than equities. But as FT Alphaville reporter Lisa Pollack explains, the Dutch bank that issued the bonds she chose was nationalised and all was lost – a consequence of new legislation on bank resolutions.

Uncertainty over the outcome of Italy’s election has strengthened sterling as its safe haven status appeals, in spite of Moody’s downgrade of the UK. James Mackintosh, investment editor, examines the prospects for more of a bounce in sterling.

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There are two things that matter in investing: what the fundamentals, such as earnings and the economy, are doing, and where they are expected to go. Investment editor James Mackintosh says when sentiment is extreme, investors will react much more strongly to any sign of bad news.

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The pound fell after it emerged that governor Sir Mervyn King voted for more quantitative easing a fortnight ago. James Mackintosh, investment editor, explains how investors are viewing the prospect of further easing and a weaker pound, after the FTSE 100 rose above 5,400 for the first time in five years.

Germany’s ZEW survey was credited for a good day in the markets after showing investors were more positive about the economy than expected. James Mackintosh, investment editor, wonders about the circularity of the argument, and examines if the ZEW is a reliable indicator.

Michael MacKenzie, the FT’s US markets editor, talks about the recent decline in gold prices and the revival of the carry trade and whether the momentum behind these trades can last

After Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway agreed, with a partner, to buy Heinz for $28bn, the hunt is on for the Sage of Omaha’s next target. James Mackintosh, investment editor, says Buffett prefers safety to a bargain, but notes that Berkshire has underperformed the market – and Heinz – over the past decade.

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James Mackintosh

If you want to invest like Warren Buffett, there are quite literally hundreds of authors out there ready to help. In the past year alone, two dozen books have been published on the Sage of Omaha, covering everything from his travels to the women he employs.

After Thursday’s acquisition of HJ Heinz for $28bn, I thought it was worth pulling up a list of similar stocks for those who missed Heinz (and its 20% share price pop). Read more

James Mackintosh

Brits wanting a holiday in the sun have to stump up a lot more since the pound’s crash during the financial crisis. Even after a partial recovery, the pound remains down almost a fifth in real terms against its trading partners.

On the plus side, exports should be booming. Sadly, they aren’t. There are plenty of excuses explanations, but one stands out: British exporters have too much focus on slow-growing European economies and not enough on the whizzy emerging markets. The killer statistic is that the UK exports more to tiny troubled Ireland than to all the Brics put together. Read more

The G7 by committing to not doing something has of course got folk worried about that very thing, in this case targeting exchange rates and in particular the falling yen. James Mackintosh, investment editor, says some serious disappointment will be needed to halt the weakening yen.