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Week in Review: Gloomy Fed outlook weighs on global stocks

21 August 2020

Categories: The week in review


The US Federal Reserve’s gloomy prediction of a slow economic recovery from coronavirus weighed heavily on global stocks on Thursday (20 August). The UK’s FTSE 100 ended the day down 1.61% at 6,013.34.

  • On Monday (24 August), the Office for National Statistics publishes figures showing the total turnover generated by the UK’s services industry.
  • The Confederation of British Industry releases its Distributive Trades Survey on Tuesday (25 August), focusing on conditions for retailers, wholesalers and motor traders.
  • The Financial Ombudsman Services reveals the most complained about companies in the past quarter on Wednesday (26 August).
  • On Thursday (27 August), Zoopla provides a glimpse into the health of the property market with its latest house price index.
  • Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey is due to give a speech on monetary policy in the decade ahead at an event hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City on Friday (28 August).


Shoppers are slowly making their way back to stores, with footfall across all retail destinations growing 0.8% in the week to 15 August, according to data provider Springboard.
Part of that increase is down to the state funded Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which offers 50% discounts in participating restaurants, Springboard said.
This will be welcome news to retailers, many of which have been unable to operate during lockdown.
While footfall was down 0.5% on the High Street, it was up 1.9% in retail parks and up 2.4% in shopping centres.
However, the recent spate of hot weather put off a lot of people from going shopping, Springboard added.


The price of goods and services ticked up 0.4 points to 1% in July as the lockdown restrictions were eased and households started to increase their spending. Rising petrol prices was one of the biggest contributors to rising inflation, which is perhaps little surprise given the increase in traffic in the past month.
Inflation is one of the key indicators tracked by the Bank of England (BoE) and can directly influence the central bank’s thinking when it comes to setting interest rates.
With inflation well below the BoE’s target of 2%, it is certainly not under pressure to increase interest rates. In fact, the BoE is actively considering introducing negative interest rates in order to aid economic recovery. However, that is still considered a long shot for the time being.
Either way, the BoE has some very big decisions to make in the coming weeks or months to ensure the economic recovery remains on track.


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27 August – Coronavirus has left Rolls-Royce Holding plc (RR.) in such a precarious financial position that even ministers are reportedly “starting to get worried” about the jet engine maker. The firm has admitted it may have to offer a rights issue to plug holes in its balance. Expect to hear more about this when it reports its interim results on Thursday (27 August).

27 August – Temporary cost saving measures helped Hays plc (HAS) report a profit in the year to June. However, the recruiter believes it will be “modestly” loss-making during summer as it begins to return to more normal working practices. It reports its full-year results on Thursday (27 August).

Author: Mouthy Money Categories: The week in review

Mouthy Money is a money blog with a beating heart and a big mouth. Made of real people talking simultaneously every single day about real dreams, successes and failures. No jargon allowed.