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In the first of our monthly reviews, we look at the performance of the financial markets and how our picks have performed over that time.

January has proved to be an interesting month for the markets. Bullish at the turn of the year on expectations of a trade deal agreement between the world’s two biggest economies, investors saw global equities driven up with the S&P hitting an all-time high earlier in the month.

However, the end of January has seen investors head for the hills and equities tumble as the Coronavirus has taken hold and fear return to the markets.

A Safe Haven

The virus scare is set to remain the driving force for the markets until those fears subside in relation to a containment and it is against this backdrop that we visit our Silver pick.

Already economists are wringing their hands as they consider the overall impact of the virus on the Chinese economy. More hysterical headlines are emerging and this will start causing investors to look more seriously at safe haven assets. Silver is one of those safe haven assets.

UK equities and the Pound

Brexit proved to be a positive driver for UK equities at the start of year and against this positive backdrop, we have highlighted a few stocks that we feel have room for growth. Ascential shares caught our eye as the share price broke free from its trading range while Kitchen and Bathrooms manufacturer Norcros has enjoyed some positive gains over the last six months.

Georgia-based oil firm Block Energy is an AIM listed firm that has caught our eye of late and despite early gains in January, the share price is trading marginally lower.

We’ve seen mixed success on these picks as markets have fallen on news of the Coronavirus while the Pounds’ strengthening on news of Brexit progress has had an adverse affect on the FTSE. Timing, as the saying goes, is everything.

Finally, construction firm SIG featured as our short of the week on 21st January with Editor Stuart Fieldhouse suggesting there is more bad news to come for the business. We will keep monitoring the situation.

International Stocks

Our ever growing coverage has seen us cover a range of stocks from the US and Finland where new correspondent Raine Lahtinen will be providing regular coverage.

Beyond Meat was a pick we made as the Australian bushfires held the headlines and the US stock delivered a 39% rise over 2 days following our note before profit taking pushed the price lower. It remains an interesting pick as we move towards more sustainable solutions to meet the challenges posed by climate change.

Continuing with the environmental theme, Canadian battery materials specialist Nano One saw a 40% jump in it’s share price following a note suggesting increased interest in their patented battery technology and Banking App, Mogo launched its carbon offset debit card.

We highlighted General Electric’s recent slump and subsequent rally on the 23rd January and we’ve seen the US conglomerate’s share price bounce up, down and back up again as we near the end of the month. If the turnaround within the business proves to be a success, this stock could be one to watch.

Finally, we are delighted to welcome Raine Lahtinen to The Armchair Trader team as our Nordic correspondent. Raine’s experience of the Nordic markets and the value tied up in many of the business on the Helsinki Stock Exchange will no doubt provide our readers with a number of great investment ideas.

Starting off this month, Raine has focused on some interesting tech stocks with Digia announcing their results on 7th February, cyber-security business F-Secure founded by famous Finnish entrepreneur Risto Siilasmaa and award-winning gaming stock, Remedy Entertainment.

On top of that, Raine has found time to pick a short trade with Finnish tyre maker Nokian Tyres warning on profits following an unseasonally mild start to 2020 for the Nordic region.

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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Michael Morton

Michael Morton

Michael has worked within the Financial Industry for more than 20 years. Starting out as a financial analyst, he has extensive experience working with fund management groups and brokerages.

With an interest in Stocks and Shares, Funds, ETFs and Commodities, his investment focus is medium to long term gains, with the objective of financial security on retirement, and building wealth for his young children for their adult life. His broker of choice is Hargreaves Lansdown.

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