THIS column starts with market volatility and ends up with me accompanying you on a free holiday. Bear with me.
Markets around the world have been incredibly volatile recently. Risk seems to come on and off on a whim, with markets reacting wildly to rumours of financial salvation and Armageddon.
Sovereign debt has dominated the headlines for months, but what’s going on in the real economies around Europe? Are people still setting up businesses? Are companies innovating? And where can investors make money?
“Long term people are ready to invest and expand,” Patrick Legland, Societe Generale’s Global Head of Research said last week. “Short term it’s all on hold.”
Some investors, at least, agree.
“There are value opportunities in tough markets” said Scott Lothian, head of multi-asset at BEA Union Investment Management. He’s underweight in Europe, but still keen to get into it once we have more visibility.
Specifically he’s waiting for the chance to jump into European insurers, large cap quality stocks and even peripheral debt at the right price.
The question is, what is the watershed? How can Lothian get his visibility and what transforms Legland’s short term to long term?
The jury is out on that one, but in the meantime some businesses are forging ahead with expansion nonetheless. Kingfisher, which owns B&Q, Castorama and Brico Depot, is adding 1,200 jobs in the UK, despite warning that the environment for retail will remain tough.
“Even in flat markets you can progress as a business,” Kingfisher’s CEO Ian Cheshire says.
Meanwhile other investors are battening down the hatches as proven by gold’s recent all-time record high of $1,920. Those investors seem to believe there is plenty of risk to come.
Think you know better? Here’s a way to prove it – why don’t you have a whizz at CNBC’s new trading competition? It opens today. It’s called the Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge. And, as you might expect, the first prize is $1m plus you can also win a luxury car and one of 10 holidays.
Trade currencies, stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) and see how you can grow your portfolio. You have to be a resident of the UK, US or Australia to play, and not be an employee of CNBC. So if you win the holiday and fancy taking me along, that would be fine.
Beccy Meehan is an anchor at CNBC. Follow her on Twitter @BeccyMeehan. Play the CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio challenge at http://milliondollar.cnbc.com