As well as highlighting why investors should consider including technology stocks in their portfolios, the speakers at a series of seminars looked at what could impact on financial markets this year, including Brexit, the European economy and US Federal policy.
Chris Bishun, head of investment management at Barclays, told the seminars that technology continued to be a feature in their portfolios.
‘We have seen some strong performances already from the FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) stocks,’ he said.
‘However, technology isn’t limited to just these names. We are also interested in disruptive technologies and looking further afield in emerging markets.
‘Cryptocurrencies continue to dominate headlines, with Bitcoin the fastest-growing asset in 2017, up 1,500%. From a portfolio management perspective we do not see cryptocurrencies as a viable investment option, given there is no fundamental value, no stream of future income and no ultimate assurance of liquidity. The resulting fluctuations in price can also be difficult to stomach.
However, Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology behind Bitcoin, does look interesting, given the efficiencies that it can drive, and we have seen a number of companies embracing this technology.’
Henk Potts, director of Global Investment Strategy at Barclays, noted during his economic outlook that the global economy was improving and that this should continue throughout 2018, although Brexit would lead to a slowdown in growth for the UK.
‘We are seeing synchronised growth for the first time in many years, with global growth getting back to 4%,’ he said.
‘The US economy will benefit from strong domestic consumption, robust business investment and fiscal stimulus. We expect to see growth of 2.7% this year.
‘The Federal Reserve will continue to normalise policy further this year and we anticipate four interest rate hikes.
‘The European economic landscape is brightening and we expect the European Central Bank to ease back further from its emergency policy.
‘However, the reality of Brexit is starting to shine through in the hard data and we anticipate growth to slow to 1.4% as household consumption growth slows down and businesses hold back from investing ahead of the second phase of the negotiations