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Fed's sober assessment should not surprise investors

Investing in quality businesses is still the least worst option
Fed's sober assessment should not surprise investors

Stock markets have been highly volatile again this week, all apparently because the chairman of the US Federal Reserve gave a very frank and downbeat outlook for the US economy and said that a second wave of the coronavirus would not be a good thing.

Surely we all knew this. We have read about the millions of Americans losing their jobs and the millions of UK workers that are being kept solvent by generous government handouts. We also know that consumers in the west were buying too much stuff with too much borrowed money and that there had to be something that brought this to a halt. And we now have it.

The issues that investors face are no different to what they have been for the last decade - where do they put their money in a world of non-existent and now negative interest rates on cash and government bonds?

Some may turn to precious metals such as gold as they fear that the value of money is being destroyed in front of their very eyes. This is no guarantee of prosperity or even wealth preservation if the freshly created money doesn’t end up in the pockets of the masses and create inflation.

As I said last week, the least worst option is the shares of high quality productive businesses. As I have argued in the Investors Chronicle this week, even though valuations of quality growth stocks are very high and free cash flow yields are low, they are still investors' best chance of growing the buying power of their money over the long haul.

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