The Great Debate UK
from Global Investing:
Let's not beat about the bush: the winners in this year's investment stakes were those who cashed out early in the financial crisis, looked at hugely oversold stock markets in March and jumped back in. The losers were those who spent too much time thinking about it or, worse, thought it was a good idea to put all their money in Dubai stocks and Greek government debt.
For the winners, it all had to do with market timing. Buying MSCI's emerging market stock index at its March 3 low brought gains of close to 110 percent. It was "only" a bit above 72 percent for the full year. World stocks as a whole gained around 30 percent for the year and nearly 75 percent from the March low.
Gold bugs grabbed a bit of the spotlight because of the record nominal highs for the metal. But with a gain for spot gold of around 24 percent, you would have done much better buying oil, which gained more than 75 percent.
Now for the losers. Two types, really -- those who found themselves clobbered by a Black Swan (a surprise) such as the Dubai debacle and those who were too slow to recognise the market recovery. Entering the global stock market at the beginning of June, for example, would have meant gaining around 22 percent -- not bad, but a pittance of what was available by taking the risk earlier.
–Fay Goddard is chief executive of the Personal Finance Society. The opinions expressed are her own.–
As predicted, Budget 2009 was heavy on figures and forecasts and hard on the highest earners. Unsurprisingly it is the latter that the press has picked up on. We all knew that there would be a new top rate of income tax – though some were taken by surprise at the rate of 50 percent and the speed at which it will be introduced.