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Weekend reading: Markets rise/fall on Biden/Trump victory/defeat (!)

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What caught my eye this week.

Leave aside the existential horror of watching the former leading nation of the free world look ever more like it’s LARP-ing its way through the decline and fall of the Roman Republic, and from a market-watcher’s perspective the US elections have been quite entertaining.

I’ve especially enjoyed the narratives used to explain the gyrations in share prices as the drama has unfolded.

As markets fell in October we were told investors were pricing in a Biden victory. Indeed, a ‘blue wave’ was about to seize the levers of power.

“All those juicy tax cuts will be reversed! Regulation will resume! Sell equities!”

Then as the market rose around election day we heard investors foresaw a huge spending spree by Democrat president Biden. Shares rose in anticipation, apparently.

“Mo’ stimulus, mo’ gains!”

But then Trump seemed to do be doing better than expected – and markets kept going up anyway. Oh, that was because supposedly investors love a gridlocked Washington.

“It all leaves politicians unable to do anything to upset the applecart / gravy train!”

But why were tech stocks rallying the most? Um, that was because the US Federal Reserve would have to keep rates lower for longer in an uncertain and undecided America.

“TINA 2.0: There is no alternative!”

At least when you go to a fortune teller you get a cup of tea.

Donald ducked

The reality is all this and more was being priced-in, every second. Not to mention the fact global markets had fallen 5-10% in previous weeks and to some extent were probably just retracing their losses as shares changed hands from weaker nervous investors to those happier to take their lumps.

My own pet theory is President Biden is far more likely than Trump was to try to get Covid by the throat in the US and strangle it. In the short-term that could mean a slower recovery and more government borrowing and money printing. All good for technology and growth stocks.

But who knows? The key point is narrative follows price action – at least by the time it reaches the masses. Not the other way around.

Have fun with the pundits if you must (I do) but be wary of taking any of it too seriously.

As my co-blogger said last week:

The market is the consensus of expectations on the future of a stock. Only unexpected events can shift the price. How can you predict the unexpected?

The short answer is: you can’t.

Have a great weekend.

From Monevator

Portfolio tracking: how to track your investments using a money-weighted return – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Using the rule of 300 to estimate how much money you need for financial freedom – Monevator


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!1

Rishi Sunak to extend furlough scheme to end of March – BBC

Covid help extended for self-employed people, but some miss out – Guardian

Pressure grows to support the excluded self-employed [Search result]FT

House prices rose 7.3% year-over-year in October, says Halifax – Moneyfacts

Interactive Investor:Well-off middle-aged workers have increased pension contributions by 35% in the Covid crisis – ThisIsMoney


A terrible, horrible year for quants: Is factor investing broken? [Search result]FT

Products and services

Where for art thou Bitcoin ETF? – ETF.com

We both get £50 to invest at Seedrs if you sign-up via my link and invest £500 – Seedrs

Covid payment holidays on credit cards and loans extended by six months – Which

The green case for replacing gas central heating with electric – ThisIsMoney

When designing ESG model portfolios, research teams must tackle due diligence and definition dilemmas – CityWire

Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200 – Freetrade

Battle of the £1,000 hampers (but it is much cheaper if you do it yourself) – ThisIsMoney

Homes for sale in historic buildings – Guardian

Comment and opinion

Missing: Career – Indeedably

Try not to slip – Humble Dollar

The case for spending on experience over stuff – Evidence-based Investor

Who cares? – The Irrelevant Investor

Stock markets are like babies – Axios

How one woman created a £1 million business on furlough in lockdown – ThisIsMoney

Half a life ahead – The Retirement Field Guide

When the siren song of market timing is loudest – A Wealth of Common Sense

The term ‘wellness’ is sweeping the US financial services industry – RIABiz [via Abnormal Returns]

Naughty corner: Active antics

Don’t give up on a small cap value factor tilt – Humble Dollar

Sold: Dunelm’s share price is too high for my liking – UK Value Investor

The dim glow of the UK stock market [Search result]FT

Secretly, insiders are likely promoting their companies on Seeking Alpha. But it barely moves markets – Institutional Investor

A final wrap-up of the Covid-19 market – Musings on Markets


Following reader feedback, could all Covid thoughts please go on this older thread. Today’s comments are for investing discussion. Covid mentions will probably be deleted. Thanks!

I didn’t expect a big second wave, so I have to eat humble pie. But I still believe the social, economic, and wider health consequences of lockdown are under-estimated. Certainly for me a national lockdown is a last resort, yet we seem to have been bounced into it by Johnson’s political woes in the North. Cases may already be plateauing – but any imminent decline will (again) be chalked up to national lockdown. Thoughts over here only. (Ta!)

Cases were falling in 19 out of 32 London boroughs before lockdown… – ES

…and infection levels may be ‘stabilising’ across the UK – BBC

Indeed one authority has the UK R value at 1.0… – Covid symptom Study

…or is it 1.6? [Slightly earlier period though]Imperial

T-cell response ‘lasts six months after Covid infection’ – BBC

SAGE model’s over-estimation of deaths – CEBM and Financial Times

Lockdown averse Sweden is tightening restrictions on rising cases – Fortune

Nearly half of Slovakia’s population took a Covid test on Saturday – Reuters

Czech Republic goes full Trump with Covid, gets crushed by second wave – Daily Beast

IFR c.1% in high-income countries but far lower in poorer, younger ones – Imperial

How the Coronavirus hacks the immune system – The New Yorker

Is a dangerous new Covid strain circulating in farmed mink? – New Scientist


Watchdog warns of ‘significant’ post-Brexit border disruption – BBC

Biden risks being a lame duck president [Search result]FT

Trump begins his campaign to turn the US into a dime store banana republic – Twitter

All the false claims in that one Trump speech catalogued – Guardian

Marina Hyde: What to do when your president has a temper tantrum – Guardian

Keep on keeping on in lockdown mini-special

How to stay creative when life feels monotonous – Harvard Business Review

Six energy-boosting tips to combat pandemic fatigue – Fast Company

How to make and eat a tuna melt – Guardian

Kindle book bargains

Don’t have a Kindle? Get one – they’re great and save a ton of space.

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone – £0.99 on Kindle

Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money by Ken Honda – £0.99 on Kindle

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker – £1.99 on Kindle

The Finance Book: Understand the numbers by Stuart Warner – £4.19 on Kindle

Off our beat

Cheap, clever, five-minute home improvements – Guardian

Escape rooms in the at-home era – New York Times

The problem with leaving London – The Spectator

The rise of platonic co-parenting – Guardian

And finally…

“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”
– Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

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  1. Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”. []
{ 53 comments… add one }
  • 1 Jonathan B November 6, 2020, 9:36 pm

    Great post @TI. Made me smile when life isn’t that smiley. Commentators can rationalise anything after the event. Actually, no one knows.

    (And I haven’t even got round to looking at the links yet).

  • 2 The Accumulator November 7, 2020, 10:55 am

    This week has been emotional. I felt physically sick when Trump stood at the podium like orange Mussolini and set in motion his attempt to steal the election on Wednesday morn.

    Thank god American institutions are still strong, that even Fox News have started to abandon him, and that voters tipped in favour of the guy who doesn’t think the country is his personal profit centre.

    Democracy needed this result.

  • 3 Far_wide November 7, 2020, 11:03 am

    Re: the NAO’s report on readiness for Brexit, it seems that despite the rather alarming contents of the report, from a body that’s not exactly renowned for hyperbole, the press has too much on its plate to deal with it by and large.
    It all now seems inevitable, yet how scandalous is it that this previously easily delayable disruption be allowed to occur. Labour are as a matter of policy avoiding the S-show entirely, and so we’re all just going to trundle to….what?
    I’m still not clear to be honest, A shortage of kiwis for a week or two? A combination of all of these systems/processes not being ready causing a genuine logistics disaster? Probably somewhere inbetween. Is there anyone out there trying to dispassionately quantify the impact, or is it just too difficult with the moving parts?

  • 4 happyjack November 7, 2020, 11:25 am

    ‘…Democracy needed this result …’

    Yes, of course, now the ‘liberals’ are back in power let’s get back to the long-accepted norm of the US military indiscriminately murdering tens thousands of foreigners every year.

    For the last four years, I’ve really missed those regular newsroom images of dead kids on the streets of countries that the average American couldn’t even locate on a map.

  • 5 Jon November 7, 2020, 12:42 pm

    What a staggeringly ignorant, prejudiced and inflammatory post..
    Politics really does bring out the crazy in people..

  • 6 xxd09 November 7, 2020, 1:01 pm

    Anger, grief and then a rational discussion on why disrupters like Trump,Brexit and Scottish Nationalism are constantly appearing in these troubled times and are attracting so many adherents is required and soon.
    Pot shots at each side from bunkers of “I know best” will only result in more of the same phenomenons arising
    What is going on?
    Investments/business seems to be ignoring the politics with apparently good results
    Luckily for this aged retiree!

  • 7 Chris November 7, 2020, 1:11 pm

    Something adrift with the link here:
    Cases were falling in 19 out of 32 London boroughs before lockdown… – ES

  • 8 Algernond November 7, 2020, 2:18 pm

    Hi. Sorry for a slightly off topic comment. But with extension of furlogh and other continuing QE / bailouts around the world due to lockdowns, there must be massive devaluation of fiat curreny comming? I’ve been reaidng about SDRs and their future link to gold prices, but am finding it quite heavy going (mainly from Jim Rickards). Does anyone know of reliable info. this subject area?

    I love disussing Trump things, but I feel best not to comment on this site (I won’t again).

  • 9 The Weasel November 7, 2020, 2:38 pm


    I’m surprised this very opportune piece didn’t make it to your links.


    He proves that despite the volatility, elections are much of a muchness when it comes to markets.

    Now, that’s normal elections. We do not know what could happen if the overgrown orange toddler takes his tantrum to the extreme and decides to go full Latin-American dictatorship and get the military involved.. At this rate I just don’t put anything past him or his followers.

    I remain invested in American stocks anyway, along with emerging markets which performed rather nicely during my investing time frame.

  • 10 The Investor November 7, 2020, 3:18 pm

    @The Weasel — I read it and as always Nick’s stuff is great, but it seemed a bit pre-electiony to me. Also have featured a few things on those lines in the past month.

    @Chris — Rats! Thanks. Fixed now.

    @happyjack — I don’t see it as a Liberal/Republican thing, personally. I’d have had zero problems with McCain, for instance. The problem with Trump is his trampling of social norms and conventions. As I allude in my piece, anyone who has studied history knows where that can lead. That aside your comment is factually incorrect, as @Jon says. Multiple wars were started by the George W Bush administration, rightly or wrongly, which later Democratic regimes inherited. And in fact Obama is widely criticised for not getting involved in North Africa (the famous ‘red line’ debate). So your point is bogus. But this isn’t the site to discuss that.

    @Far_Wide — I think it’s impossible to quantify the impact. Not meaning to imply it will be huge, though it might be, but just as a matter of fact. The best I can do is read various informed estimates on the matter. Given no major country has willingly made it’s trade position materially worse for little to no gain since maybe pre-industrial times (outside of war etc) there aren’t many parallels to go on. With all that said I do think four years of being a basket case has left UK equities potentially undervalued versus peers. And I actually think they’ll probably do an ‘Australian’ (/Mongolian etc) trade deal, which may cover off some of the worst disruption. Though never underestimate the ability of this crop of politicians to make a bad situation worse. Still, I’ve been leaning into the trend of the stronger pound, for example, FWIW.

    @Jonathan B — Cheers!

    @TA — Exactly, it’s not that the Democrats per se needed to win. (In itself this result will do nothing to fix American’s divisions, as @xxd09 says). It’s that the process needs to win.

  • 11 Boltt November 7, 2020, 3:41 pm


    I have similar fears of inflation, devaluation of currency etc.

    The recommended book a few weeks ago “ The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy by Stephanie Kelton” was worth the read.

    Thankfully we have our own currency rather than a share one! (Which link for Brexit and euro comments….)


  • 12 The Investor November 7, 2020, 3:43 pm

    @Boltt — We had our own currency without Brexit. It was part of the amazingly good arrangement we had that we torched.

  • 13 ZXSpectrum48k November 7, 2020, 3:49 pm

    @TI. “The market is the consensus of expectations on the future of a stock. Only unexpected events can shift the price.” Not really. It’s not only unexpected events that shift the price. The simple process of passing an event (measuring it), such as a Presidential election, will cause the probability density function to change. The probability of certain outcomes will collapse, others will rise. It doesn’t need to be an unexpected outcome.

    Moreover, you don’t even need a change in the projection curve (earning expectations say) for the asset prices to change. Once the event has been measured, the high volatility weight attached to it goes to zero. As this falls out of the implied volatility cone, the risky discount curve falls. Most asset prices react positively to that. The problem is that you’ll first need to survive the possible jump risk over the event to benefit from that uplift. That’s all we’ve seen. Next week people can go back to thinking macro.

    Anyway, good week professionally, good week personally and good week for the planet. Problem is the liar-in-chief (or one of his children) may well be back in 2024. Plus over 70 million voted for this nut job and his conspiracy theories. Wisdom of the masses? Yeah right!

  • 14 Learner November 7, 2020, 4:10 pm

    The world needs this result. It doesn’t bode especially well for American democracy though – the candidate with a 4m vote margin will be a lame duck, unable to get any significant legislation through the senate to his desk, his party will likely lose the house in 2 years and the presidency in 2024, replaced by a competent authoritarian this time, elected with fewer votes than his opponent (as usual). That’s how Americans like it.

  • 15 Learner November 7, 2020, 4:16 pm

    Democracy needed voters to utterly reject both this president AND the party that nominated and blindly supported him for 4 years. It didn’t happen.

  • 16 Matthew November 7, 2020, 5:04 pm

    I read one conspiracy theory that Trump snuck propaganda into Super Mario Oddysee – Trump’s red “make America great” caps look suspiciously similar to “cappy” who super Mario throws to capture goomas and other baddies – a reference to Trump converting people with a simple throw of the cap perhaps?

    Full details:

    We also of course know that any election that doesn’t result in a trump win is obviously fake, he has already told us that he won

  • 17 The Accumulator November 7, 2020, 5:44 pm

    Networks have called the election.

    @ Leaver – I don’t know how it will play out, but to contextualise the current moment, I compare how I feel now with how devastated I would have felt if the result had gone the other way. I’ll take it.

  • 18 Learner November 7, 2020, 5:58 pm

    But for Covid, it probably would have gone the other way. Enough doomcasting though, enjoy the moment 🙂

  • 19 Algernond November 7, 2020, 6:46 pm

    Thanks @Bollt. Can I ask you directly if the book has SDR-Gold discussion within it as one of the competing visions for future global currreny?

  • 20 Boltt November 7, 2020, 7:08 pm


    I don’t recall much about gold, but more about unemployment and inflation rates – and lots about shared currencies being a bad idea.


  • 21 Owl November 7, 2020, 7:20 pm

    Generally the presidency is won by the candidate who is less of a Washington/Federal Government-insider and/or member of the elite. Incumbents also tend to win second terms.

    So Trump’s ability to lose to an opponent who has been in Washington since before most Americans were born is quite something.

    (The last time an uber-Mr-Washington won was George H. W. Bush; his campaign succeeded in painting his opponent Michael Dukakis as dangerously-liberal New England elite type.)

  • 22 SemiPassive November 7, 2020, 9:41 pm

    Re: “And in fact Obama is widely criticised for not getting involved in North Africa”.
    Sorry, but he did get involved in North Africa. Libya was a complete cluster*&%$ that Obama initiated without congressional approval. The US had direct involvement under Obama’s watch (special forces, CIA, air support, missiles supplied and launched, etc), alongside the UK and France. And there is no way the UK and France would have got involved without US backing and active support. The level of which was significantly downplayed in UK media. The US spent $1.1 billion on the Libyan campaign.
    10 years on the refugee crisis in the Med is still ongoing as a direct result of what happened there.
    It terms of foreign policy failure by the USA and UK it is right up there with Iraq. And probably an even worse direct impact on Europe.

  • 23 Owen November 7, 2020, 10:43 pm

    Off topic but could be interesting to the readers that took up the bonus offer on Ratesetter. I requested a release on 16th March. When they first started showing the queue I was around 2200, now I’m at 600. Based on this info it looks like I may get access to the cash after all, plus they added the £100 bonus which I wouldn’t have received if the withdrawal went out back in March

  • 24 The Investor November 7, 2020, 10:43 pm

    @SemiPassive @all — Okay, let’s leave the US foreign policy discussion there please. I couldn’t let the initial statement stand, but believe it or not I am always reluctant to delete. But we needn’t go into the pros and cons of every US administration’s actions. @SemiPassive has given a retort to my comment; I could write more but it’s best for this blog to leave it here please.

  • 25 tom_grlla November 7, 2020, 11:03 pm

    Where art thou Bitcoin ETF? NO NO NO NO NO NO.

  • 26 IanT November 8, 2020, 11:39 am

    @ Owen. Yep, we’re still waiting for our ‘Access’ cash too, although we don’t need it in a hurry and it isn’t very much.
    Our bonuses were applied correctly, and we requested release on 23rd March. We were 6857th in the queue on 10th July and are now 5279th. The rate of release does appear to be speeding up though, over 500 in the last week or so.

  • 27 hosimpson November 8, 2020, 12:30 pm

    I had not seen the Grauniad’s article on the COVID help, but I am truly sick and tired of the Grauniad’s and BBC’s lamentations for the self-employed. Sorry, I know this is the wrong forum for this, but I just can’t help it. Please feel free to delete the comment, TI, if it offends.
    The self-employed are not getting the same bail-out from the taxpayer as employees. Because: they never paid the same income tax and NI as employees.
    I’d be very happy for the self-employed to receive the same bailout as employees did during the pandemic, with one condition. Once the pandemic is over, they are going to retrospectively change their self-employed / company director status, for tax purposes, to that equivalent of an employee and pay into Her Majesty’s coffers the difference between the income tax and the NI which they paid as self-employed, and that which they would have paid had they been employees. Plus interest, obviously. As for the dear Louise Tickle with her childcare voucher scalping scheme, she can go f*k herself.

    Here is my favourite take on some of the reasons behind the US election night share price movements:

  • 28 hosimpson November 8, 2020, 12:58 pm

    P.S. Like so many people working from home during the pandemic, I have been infinitely entertained by my colleagues’ home decor on display on Zoom calls – the good, the bad and the hideous.
    I think I should be forgiven for erroneously thinking that, at this point, nothing could surprise me. Yet surprised I was by Cambridge Sandy’s choice of wall art, as pictured in Grauniad’s article about cheap home improvements.
    A stoneware serving tray? Seriously? WTF, Jesus, honestly…
    Also, the plant on one of those tea & coffee shelves in the third photo looks like mint. It needs sun or it’ll grow pale and leggy and then die. Put it on the windowsill, Robyn from Swansea, do it now!

  • 29 ZXSpectrum48k November 8, 2020, 1:39 pm

    @hosimpson. Re: prediction markets. It’s utterly brilliant that a small illiquid market, often dominated by punters who don’t have a clue, can push around a liquid market that’s 1000x larger. Efficient markets? Give me a break. It just creates great opportunities. You start the week with no risk, you end the week with no risk, but in between you generate free cash. It’s why we all stay up for 48 hours straight. For anyone who actually bothered to listen to the experts and did some basic homework, fading the moves we saw in Asian hours on Wednesday was not a hard call. Scalping is so much easier than actually investing for a living.

  • 30 Factor November 8, 2020, 2:51 pm

    Drifting mildly O/T but following on from my recommendation here not too long ago, I have now got around to Amazoning the 2020 updated edition of John Baron’s book “Investment Trusts – Unlocking the City’s best kept secret”, to replace my 2013 version. At twice the size of its predecessor, it (dare I say) trumps the already superb contents of the earlier tome and I unhesitatingly draw it to Monevatorites’ attention, whether they are already IT investors as I am or whether not.

    As for the election furore, he was Biden his time but he got there in the end – Dieu merci!

  • 31 Mr Blue Shoes November 8, 2020, 5:03 pm


    I couldn’t agree more about the self employed. We all know it’s usually a way to pay less tax. I have a family member in this situation and I have to bite my tongue for family harmony’s sake. I do understand there are some on low pay that are forced by unscrupulous employers to declare themselves as self employed so they don’t have to provide holidays and other benefits. For these I do feel sorry.

  • 32 Vanguardfan November 8, 2020, 6:48 pm

    I suspect the self employed are a diverse bunch. Yes, well paid contractors with single director limited companies have got a good thing going – it seems a great way to pay minimal taxes in relation to earnings and stuff your pension too.
    But many (most?) are modestly paid freelancers and sole traders – think of the many people working in the arts and creative industries, for example, as well as those forced to be ‘self employed’ in the gig economy.
    And, there are some very arbitrary and unfair exclusions to the self employed support.

    @TI – I fear the ‘subscribe without commenting’ link has a glitch. The emailed activation link seems to expire immediately (I’ve tried it a couple of times).

  • 33 Kraggash November 8, 2020, 7:20 pm

    What a lot of Americans seem to have liked (and was a reason for a Trump vote) is the middle-class tax cuts he introduced in 2017. What seems to have been overlooked is that these tax cuts BY LAW will be more than reversed, starting in 2021, and every two years until 2027. And by the end, everybody on LESS than $75,000 will be paying more tax than before the cuts.
    Interesting timing; Trump gets the applause for the tax cuts, and (unneeded at that time) economy boost. But by 2021 he was either safe in a second term, or they can blame the democrats.


  • 34 The Investor November 8, 2020, 7:27 pm

    @Vanguardfan — Hmm, that’s frustrating, it worked for me in testing. Do you have cookies turned off or something like that? Anyone else been able to do it?

  • 35 The Investor November 8, 2020, 7:31 pm

    The tax advantages of being self-employed or running as a limited company were much reduced years ago by the dividend taxation changes. There’s still a benefit (especially re: NI) but there’s a load more hassle and less protection, too.

    I think the real reason support has been more restricted in this area is that there are gazillions of small limited companies around, and some people are directors of dozens. It’d probably be a nightmare to avoid fraud/waste in this situation.

    Personally I do feel a bit miffed at all these billions going hither and thither while I’m plodding along working from home throughout. Sure it’s nice to have the work, but I wouldn’t have minded several months off at 80% of my income if given the flat choice, all things being equal. So life’s not fair etc.

    Maybe everyone over 18 with an NI number or similar should have been given £1,500 a month or similar, regardless of their employment status, but it be taxable as income. The trouble with that strategy is the PAYE crowd would all have to go onto self-assessment I suppose.

    A bit ridiculous this isn’t all done easily by an app in 2020.

  • 36 SemiPassive November 9, 2020, 3:40 pm

    A great day in the markets so far but not for Hargreaves Lansdown. Started with trades not processing (despite appearing to initially confirm!), and now asset valuations not showing at all. They are going to get a real kicking.

  • 37 The Investor November 9, 2020, 4:02 pm

    @SemiPassive — Yes, I had problems with them around Noon and eventually gave up. Others are struggling (e.g. Halifax sharedealing). I’ve just managed to get into my third retail platform.

    Interestingly Freetrade sprang straight to life! (Affiliate link).

    Probably helps that it’s a modern stack, and probably can spin up extra servers on demand etc.

  • 38 The Investor November 9, 2020, 4:03 pm

    p.s. Hargreaves Lansdown is now up 9% incidentally. I wouldn’t expect a massive kicking. These platforms always struggle on big volume days. It’s not good (it’s a total PITA) but I don’t think it will have long-term consequences for the stock. (Disclosure: I own HL shares. Also an investor in Freetrade incidentally).

  • 39 ermine November 9, 2020, 4:03 pm


    You can actually kill mint? I waged war on that stuff in my last garden and never won the fight!

  • 40 SemiPassive November 9, 2020, 4:11 pm

    Hi TI, yes I meant a kicking in reputation/from customers rather than in their share price – which as you say is outperforming all major indices!
    I did get a successful buy in with them earlier this morning before the vaccine news hit – and was just intending to carry out a further tweak – otherwise I would be fuming even more 🙂

  • 41 The Investor November 9, 2020, 4:31 pm

    @SemiPassive — Yes, everything was business as usual until the vaccine hit. In my traditional, ironic, role for the owner of this website, I saw the markets lurch up and jumped in to look. My guess was Trump had conceded, which seemed a long shot, but I’m glad to say I thought “vaccine” second before confirming it. 🙂

    This is what ‘unexpected’ looks like. We all knew a vaccine was coming, sooner or later. But the market move shows us that something unexpected happened (this time it seems to be the efficacy of the vaccine, potentially.)

    I spoke to soon about Freetrade it seems. Shows the portfolio fine but fell over when I tried to buy some shares. 🙁

    Think I’ll write about these retail platform failures on Thursday, so if anyone else has any failures to report let’s have them here please. 🙂

  • 42 Seeking Fire November 9, 2020, 7:34 pm

    Occasionally I log into various accounts and for whatever reason the account is unavailable to access or not working correctly with today being Hargreaves Lansdowne turn as others have indicated. Each time it happens, it’s a reminder why (a) it’s sensible to spread your investments around a variety of accounts (b) I keep a significant portion of wealth in physical form whether it’s gold, property or some ready cash. Assets held electronically feel a step removed. Probably some [un]healthy paranoia.

    Today was definitely a day to illustrate why market timing doesn’t work for most people. I recall Monevator wrote in March, do not sell and for the vast majority of people, £ cost averaging will continue to be the best approach – fire and forget. I was surprised by the extent of the positive movement today but on the other hand with interest rates at rock bottom, QE ever expanding and treasury / gilt yields low (albeit climbing a little) equities at today’s valuations (even bombed out companies like the FTSE 100) don’t appear overly expensive on a relative level. It feels a reasonable probability that asset prices generally continue to climb the recovery given govt attempts to inflate & reduce the value of money. Whether that eventually feeds through to general prices is anyone’s guess.

    I was a bit non plussed by the election investment wise. Whilst no great fan of the orange blancmange I doubt the nearing Octogenarian with a narrow victory is going to have much impact on the geo-political forces that are driving much of America’s angst and so from an investment perspective it seemed a bit of a non-event. I appreciate there are other issues at play of course.

  • 43 Jonathan November 9, 2020, 9:19 pm

    I suppose we are really between a rock and a hard place on this one. Orange Man definitely had a few challenges to say the least and I am far from a fan boy! But to celebrate a Biden Presidency maybe a bit premature especially if you hold UK equity.
    I spent two years of my youth in the army, bog trotting in Ulster, trying to maintain a resemblance of normality. We often came across Americans who had come over the pond to cause division in their gap year. We now have one in the White House and we have not faced this before. JFK had other issues so was tempered in his approach to the UK as he needed our V Bomber force at the height of the Cold War. Biden can just play to his base and this is a new challenge.
    My other concern is the rise of the tech companies and what part they have played in US division. Whilst they have provided stellar share performance I am questioning whether we are able to provide a democratic system where hate is now the norm. Look around we see hatred and loathing in both the American and the British political systems. There is a level of polarisation we have never seen before as the Twitter echo chambers feeds animosity and strife.
    We are in for a very interesting decade where focus on share value in the short term is missing the big picture.

  • 44 Vanguardfan November 10, 2020, 8:37 am

    @TI, cookies are enabled. I thought I’d managed to sign up for alerts by posting, I even confirmed the alert status on the post, all looked good…but nothing has come through. I’ve tried again to subscribe without commenting and that doesn’t seem to be successful (though the instantly expiring link has stopped). Ah well.

    Btw I would put away the tiny violin about being deprived of being furloughed. If it makes you feel better, pretty much all the employees I know have been working as usual throughout (either at home, or in the workplace with the added bonus of covid exposure). The few who have been furloughed view it as a step towards redundancy, and the fear of possibly never getting back to work far outweighs the ‘luxury’ of paid leave (on a 20% pay cut). There has certainly been a huge divergence in economic outcomes. If you’ve been working normally throughout, you’re a winner.

  • 45 Vanguardfan November 10, 2020, 9:00 am

    Oh, that seems to have worked….

  • 46 The Investor November 10, 2020, 9:19 am

    On platforms that broke under the strain, it was a systemic issue across the landscape it seems. CityWire has a good story here:


    Good shout by @SemiPassive up the thread — the FT had a front (web) page splash singling out Hargreaves Lansdown’s failure. I guess being the biggest puts a target on your back. But anyway these outages whenever the market gets volatile are getting pretty old.

    @Vanguardfan — On subscriptions, you’re saying it works now? 🙂 Perhaps check your spam for the previous?

    On the tiny violin, I knew it was a bad look and I’m sure I’d get some toasty comments if I wrote a post about it. Nevertheless it’s how I *feel* (which isn’t always logical). I know we’ll be paying this back for decades, I’m not convinced the cost was necessary or the best approach (as you know I’m more a lockdown-lite kind of Covid-believer), and I’m sitting in the bracket that wouldn’t have gotten help anyway from Sunak despite paying plenty of corporation and dividend tax these past few years, contrary to what is still commonly believed as discussed earlier. (Having said that stamp duty is probably my biggest contribution to the state coffers nowadays! But that would horrify the passive faithful so let’s not go into it here. 🙂 )

  • 47 MrOptimistic November 10, 2020, 10:07 am

    Yes, I had problems for a short time around miday logging on to HL and Fidelity, in fact I couldn’t. To their credit II was fine.

  • 48 hosimpson November 10, 2020, 12:02 pm

    @Ermine – Can I kill mint? Of course, me old fruit, albeit I call it gardening 😉
    Mint, by the way, has nothing on my most recent casualty, cycas panzhihuaensis (aka dukou sago palm), a supposedly tough as nails living fossil, growing on limestone cliffs in next to no soil, surviving, for the past 200 million+ years, heat, frost, drought and torrential downpours, and whatever it was that killed the dinosaurs. Also, it’s fire resistant, apparently.
    Anyway, a year under my tender loving care, and it is looking rather dead 🙁

  • 49 SemiPassive November 10, 2020, 4:57 pm

    Some further info on the Hargreaves problems. The glitch allowed multiple sells of the same ETF/share holding for those of us who got impatient and attempted to sell more than once (due to the asset and cash balances not updating nearly instantly, or even after several minutes, as they usually do for ETF dealing on H-L).
    In any case the platform software should have prevented this from being possible, so they may need some additonal validation on available sell balances there if this isn’t to happen again under extreme high volumes.
    So some people are now displaying negative units held in the sold assets(!), and a surplus of cash that should never have been realised.

    Been told that affected accounts will have offsetting trades made to rectify so that cash and asset unit balances should be corrected back to what they should have been within a few days.
    So they are on top of the problem but it may take a while for everyone to be fixed.
    I suggest emailing them rather than ringing for anyone in this boat, as there are still very long queues on the phone.
    Given the rogue trades actually went out to market I’m not sure if H-L will be on the hook for any market movement in the meantime, e.g. if placing an offsetting trade for the same number of units and the price has changed the wrong way for them (gone up rather than down).

  • 50 David November 10, 2020, 10:06 pm

    I misread Ermine’s gardening comment at first – I thought he was talking about killing mink.

  • 51 Kel November 11, 2020, 1:36 pm

    Covid related, so apologies. But it’s re. the knock on effect of women taking time out to care for family during the pandemic.


  • 52 weenie November 11, 2020, 3:01 pm

    The only issue I had with Freetrade was that purchases made sat in in ‘pending confirmation’ for about 20-30 mins. No issue with sales I made.

    My sis couldn’t even log into her HL account whereas I read somewhere that someone’s ISA was down by -£150k after multiple trades were made in a glitch!

  • 53 Owen November 12, 2020, 6:28 pm

    Ratesetter has been churing through withdrawals. I was at 600 at the start of the week and now they have released the funds!

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