The FTSE 100 ended the year strong, at 7142, and reopened even stronger. For 2016 overall the index gained 14 per cent, with multinational mining giants as top performers, while the pound lost 16.5 per cent against the dollar — those facts being closely related, since they mean London blue-chips are still cheaper in dollars than they were 12 months ago. Current optimism rests on the idea of a Trump spending spree on US infrastructure, but such is the perversity of markets that if common City wisdom decides that Brexit will actually boost the UK economy, stocks may fall as the pound resurges and foreign investors take profits.
Meanwhile bitcoin, the mysterious digital currency, also started the year with a surge to a three-year high — but that, I suspect, had more to do with quantities of weed smoked over the holiday.
This is an extract from Martin Vander Weyer’s ‘Any Other Business’, which first appeared in this week’s Spectator magazine