The past financial year turned out far better for investors than had been feared a year ago. This was despite a lengthy list of things to worry about: starting with the Brexit vote and a messy election outcome in Australia both just before the financial year started; concerns about global growth, profits and deflation a year ago; Donald Trump being elected President in the US with some predicting a debilitating global trade war as a result; various elections across Europe feared to see populists gain power; the US Federal Reserve resuming interest rate hikes; North Korea stepping up its missile tests; China moving to put the brakes on its economy amidst ever present concern about its debt levels; and messy growth in Australia along with perennial fears of a property crash and banking crisis.
Predictions of some sort of global financial crisis in 2016 were all the rage. But the last financial year provided a classic reminder to investors to turn down the noise on all the events swirling around investment markets and associated predictions of disaster, and how, when the crowd is negative, things can surprise for the better. But will returns remain reasonable? After reviewing the returns of the last financial year, this note looks at the investment outlook for the 2017-18 financial year.