The UK stock market has recovered from its spring snooze and despite worries over the effects of Brexit on UK growth the indices are but a stone’s throw from their all time highs. But this hides frenetic activity under the surface with different sectors taking the lead, while some others with a more domestic UK bias such as retailers have fallen sharply.
We should not confuse the UK’s FTSE 100 index of the largest quoted companies with an investment exposure to the UK economy. The leaders in the recent rise have included the resources sectors – base metals in particular – which have reacted to better than expected economic growth numbers out of China and Europe in particular. Companies such as BHP, RTZ, Anglo American and Glencore have few if any activities within the UK. So the dominance of ‘overseas earners’ within our leading index insulates investors from many of the risks associated with Brexit. Actually the index is so dominated by a small number of giant companies, an investment in HSBC and Shell alone would do a decent job of replicating the index and if you add BP, Vodafone and Glaxo you have over 35% of the FTSE 100 represented by five shares!