Five things investors learned this week

7th April 2013

1) The Prudential’s  property investment arm Prupim, is buying a portfolio of 534 private rental units for £100m from ‘upmarket’ housebuilder Berkeley. The Pru says the investment has been made for at least five years. The Guardian says this is a return to the 1920s and 1930s before huge building of social housing and then the huge increase in private ownership when insurers had been portfolios of rental property.

2) Central banks can have a huge impact on currencies and stock markets in the short term as the Bank of Japan proved late last week as Mindful Money reported with the Nikkei soaring and the yen falling. But can it last?

3) The Cass Business School has issued a report questioning whether weighted indices are really the best basis for passive investing. At Mindful Money we think this could be the beginning of a fierce debate. We’ll keep the passive fans among you informed.

4) Is this a stalling US recovery or just a hiccough. Non-farm payroll in the US shows just 88,000 more jobs in March as the International Business Times reports. Will this really hit stocks? Maybe not as the US’s strangely jobless recovery continues.

5) We are going to be talking about the banking crisis for many more years to come with the report from MPs into HBoS’s decline and fall condemning four directors and with Barclays getting another drubbing this time from a report that the bank itself commissioned from Anthony Salz. Salz said Barclays wanted to win at all costs. The Guardian’s response was cynical about whether it could change culture or just talk about it. In going all out for the win, Barclays didn’t lose as much as HBoS however. Amid various calls for defrocking, deknighting and banning, Mindful Money suggested more pertinent questions like whether it was lax mortgage lending in the UK that really felled HBoS. When are the mainstream banks going to become investable again? Not for a few more years we suspect.

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