The Week In Hindsight, 28 February 2014

The FTSE 100 continued to threaten a new all time high this week on rising hopes that the Federal Reserve’s asset purchase program may eventually be extended due to an ongoing surge in softer economic numbers that have been emerging from the US since the beginning of January.

In another positive move for UK investors, mortgage lending was revealed to have reached a six year peak early this week while Q4 GDP was confirmed at 0.7%. This helped to compensate for a minor downward revision to the overall growth figure for 2013 which saw GDP for the year corrected to 2.7% as opposed to the 2.8% figure that was announced in January.

Next week sees another round of services, manufacturing and construction data emerge from the UK economy. After a number of disappointing prints which previously suggested a slowdown in the pace of expansion, many investors will no doubt be keen to see whether or not the slowdown extended into February.

For the time being however, developed market stocks continue to enjoy a win win situation. This is as softer data in the US and the threat of a further rate cut to come on the continent continue to help propel indices higher, even in times when investors have had genuine cause to question the growth outlook.