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For some strange reason the lyrics of the 80's Bangles hit "Manic Monday" are going through my head, particularly the chorus "it's just another manic Monday, I wish it were Sunday, cos that's my fun day"!

Now I purposefully do not buy any papers on Sunday or watch the news.  Sunday in my house is wall to wall golf and footy on the telly and it is a pleasure to have one day away from the worries of the world.  However, this reverie ended when I woke up to the news this morning that the financial world is coming to an end as China's stock market continues to collapse and Greece is going to bring about the end of the western civilisation by holding a further election.

It would be easy to sit back and laugh at these events as being overly exaggerated in their impact and I see no reason not to do so.  Let's be honest you are going to see, hear and read plenty of people saying the opposite.  Starting with China, I am against racial stereotyping but in this case we cannot avoid it.  The Chinese are gamblers.  Anybody who has been to a Casino will agree with that, and is evidenced further by the fact that Macau now has 7 times the gambling revenue of Las Vegas.

In a bid to encourage individual ownership of shares and boost the market the Chinese government allowed brokers to extend credit terms to their clients allowing them to gear up their investments.  Gearing is great when markets rise but disastrous when they fall.  Now, do you think the typical Chinese "investor" will have viewed their money in the market as a long term matter or to make a quick yuan?

The BBC recently interviewed a distraught young Chinese couple who had gambled, sorry invested, their deposit for a new house on the Shanghai stock market and lost the lot. Maybe "the value of investments can fall as well as rise" and "past performance is no guarantee of future returns" does not translate into Mandarin.

As for Greece, their version of the Hokey Cokey is becoming tiresome.  Whether they are in, out or shaking it all about, I care not a jot, but please come to a decision.  The announcement of a snap election has led to a new party being formed which has promised to be more anti-austerity than the current mob.  It is starting to resemble the Monty Python sketch with the Yorkshire men trying to outdo each other in how hard their upbringing was.

The truth of the matter is the Greeks want it both ways, they want to stay in the Euro but they don't want to pay their debts.  As I have said repeatedly we all know that they will not be able to pay back the money owed, which with each bailout becomes more and more obvious, so why not just be done with it and default and leave the Euro?  The short term pain they will suffer will be worth it in the long run.  Who knows, maybe that is what they will vote for but I doubt it.

So what does this mean for you?  Well, no doubt the 24 hour news channels will be rummaging in their cupboards looking for their FTSE100 ticker as I write this, but these market falls are not entirely unexpected.  It is normal to see short term falls of up to 20% in rising markets and this one is probably overdue.  The underlying economic fundamentals remain positive and recession is not on the horizon.

So relax and try to enjoy the remainder of the summer.  If you have money available to invest for the longer term doing so now, while the actions of 1.2bn novice "investors" are having a greater impact on global stock markets than they deserve, could be a shrewd move.

 

Steve Forbes

Alan Steel Asset Management Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice

This letter is the personal view of Steve Forbes.  Please check the appropriateness to your individual position with your adviser before taking or refraining from any action.  

Steve
Author
Steve Forbes
Managing Director
Alan Steel Asset Management Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice

This letter is the personal view of Steve Forbes. Please check the appropriateness to your individual position with your adviser before taking or refraining from any action.