• Steve Johnson

Technology and Investment

Technology is the future and Covid has forced many people who previously fought shy of this stuff to tolerate if not embrace it. I personally am not a big fan of the likes of Amazon but it is indisputable that they are fast and efficient and they are certainly amongst the winners in the current situation, as are Netflix et al.


Market Commentary

Inflation rate exceeds average bank return. UK Government debt hits £2 Trillion and our recession in ‘Premier League’. Covid boosts FAANGs. I am thinking of emigrating to Sweden.


Background

More than one third of people in the UK over the age of 65 pre-Covid had never gone on the internet. The numbers have now changed as people have been forced to use Skype, Zoom and the like to keep in touch with their families and Asda / Tesco online to order food.

Home working, internet meetings, increases in home entertainment and home shopping seem set to continue and are of course reliant on tech. There is a significant knock on effect on various sectors – the airline or train companies carrying less passengers, the hotels putting up less guests, companies seeking smaller offices. Demonstrating this city sandwich provider Pret has seen demand collapse.

We recently have been forced to use technology to carry out our client reviews - albeit mainly traditional technology - invented by Alexander Graham Bell.


Tech has teeth

FAANGs - is an acronym referring to the stocks of the five most popular and best-performing American technology companies: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google /Alphabet. The market capitalisation of Apple has recently hit $2 trillion, doubling in value in just over two years, and notably at the time of writing has surpassed the market capitalisation of the entire FTSE100.


Summary

Humans are social animals and I think (and hope) that we will miss personal contact driving us back towards human interaction; I myself am making strenuous efforts to socialise regularly with the barman at my local (see below). We are however also creatures of habit and this situation is forming new habits meaning that we will not revert entirely to pre-Covid behaviour. Covid has boosted technology and with the media continuing to profit from fear this is set to continue – our clients have always had some tech exposure and we are actively reviewing the level of tech in their portfolios.


p.s.

Many of you know that I helped out with our local Scout troop for many years. On camp we used 6-man tents (proper big, green, heavy canvas ones that wrapped around you and turned into shrouds when trying to put them up in the rain). We slept six cubs or scouts in these tents. These kids chose to TEXT rather than to speak to each other – they were texting their mates in the same tent! Technology – if you can’t beat em…


p.p.s.

‘Good’ bits: An article by the World Economic Forum reported that Covid could trigger the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions - bluer skies, smog free cities and pedestrians and (dangerous) cyclists have all contributed to this. Finally, son number one and I recently went on a pub crawl, we were in one of Birmingham’s best-known pubs with a menu of beer of over 1000 bottles; we and the barman were the only ones there. Good for us getting served but definitely not so good for the publican; this latter point from the perspective of a lot of small businesses is really worrying me.

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