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Neil Woodford brushes off Allied Minds crash

Neil Woodford brushes off Allied Minds crash

His investment in an American tech firm may have gone spectacularly wrong, but star fund manager Neil Woodford is unconcerned. Lee Wild reports.

Key levels for Dow Jones to hit record high

Key levels for Dow Jones to hit record high

It'll take an almighty crash to derail Wall Street's journey to 22,000 and beyond, says chartist Alistair Strang. Here's how it can hit that target.

Three reasons why doing this can leave your ISA £4,000 better off

Three reasons why doing this can leave your ISA £4,000 better off
With the new tax year on the horizon, research has found that profit can be boosted by investing sooner rather than later. Josh Lee investigates.

With the new tax year underway, research has found that profit can be boosted by investing sooner rather than later. Josh Lee investigates.

How FTSE 100 investors could profit from 'bad Brexit'

How FTSE 100 investors could profit from 'bad Brexit'

Blue-chip investors could benefit if Brexit talks go wrong, argues Tom Elliott at deVere Group. Here, he names the sectors to own during Brexit talks and his preferred asset class.

10 top stocks hitting new highs as ISA deadline approaches

10 top stocks hitting new highs as ISA deadline approaches

Momentum is one of the most powerful drivers of investment returns, so Stockopedia's Ben Hobson has found 10 shares at a 52-week high and showing strong signs of quality.

Bovis Homes shares 'cheap' after CEO coup

Bovis Homes shares 'cheap' after CEO coup

A takeover deal may be firmly off the table, but it's a brave investor who bets against Bovis Homes after naming a 30-year industry veteran as CEO, writes David Brenchley.

Can Motif Bio really surge 400%?

Can Motif Bio really surge 400%?

Analysts can be an optimistic bunch, but this view on a high-risk £50m drug company is as bullish as you'll find. David Brenchley reports.

What this share needs to escape the danger zone and fly

What this share needs to escape the danger zone and fly
Closure above a certain level could see this stock take off. For now, though, chartist Alistair Strang notes it is in a ‘danger zone’.

Closure above a certain level could see this stock take off. For now, though, chartist Alistair Strang notes it is in a 'danger zone'.

Five ways to find sky-high investment income of 7%-plus

Five ways to find sky-high investment income of 7%-plus
High-yielding shares may forewarn of broken income promises to come. Kyle Caldwell assesses some other possibilities.

High-yielding shares may forewarn of broken income promises to come. Kyle Caldwell assesses some other possibilities.

Buy oil giants and this high-yielding blue chip

Buy oil giants and this high-yielding blue chip
Oil investors should know what drives the market…and it's not OPEC, argues Ken Fisher. The investing legend also tips one of the biggest UK companies around.
We're past peak OPEC
To fathom oil prices - and gauge energy firms' earnings and the North Sea's economic prospects - don't fuss over OPEC. Fathom America's shale industry instead. 
So many see this wrong. Every rumor about OPEC production cuts spurs hundreds of headlines, speculating over the price impact. Hard to know why, but I suspect it's an historical bias, a leftover legacy of the late 20th century. 
First there was the Arab oil embargo, which caused supply shortages and soaring prices. Then came  the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s' "peak oil" fears as US production dwindled and everyone feared we'd run out of crude. Saudi Arabia, then the world's swing producer, could effectively control global supply growth, pumping more or less depending on whether it wanted to nab market share or boost prices. 
Their price influence was often overrated, but now that's even truer. Last decade's high prices spurred a flood of technology investment into horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing as American firms sought to exploit massive shale oil reserves. The oil wasn't easy to access, and extraction costs were high, but record-high oil prices made it profitable. Oil rig count soared and US production skyrocketed, ultimately creating a global supply glut that whacked prices hard. Without US shale, Brent crude doesn't fall 75% from June 23, 2014 through February 11, 2016. 
America's new oil era created another multi-headed, multi-corporate swing producer, answering only to price signals - not cartel or government directives. OPEC? Neutered. Crude initially rose after the cartel's much-ballyhooed November 30th Russian deal to cut production, but the rally lasted just two months. Since February 2, Brent is down 6.3%. America's benchmark, WTI, is about even with its November 30 price. 
Many pinpoint OPEC. Wrong! Though members are tightening, progress on cuts isn't great. Initial reports suggested about 94% compliance with pledged cuts. More recent reports from Reuters peg it at 82%. Now headlines dwell on whether they'll extend the cuts into 2017's second half.
But OPEC isn't the reason global oil supply, which briefly dipped in 2016, is rising again. America is responsible! US inventories hit record highs for four straight weeks through early March. Active rig count has nearly doubled since 2016 lows. 
A funny thing happened over the last two and a half years: With oil prices low and firms desperate for profits, they got more efficient, devising cheaper ways to get more oil. For instance, firms figured out "dead" wells weren't really dead, and if you went away and came back, you could re-claim more oil - no new exploration or drilling required. Cheaper! Breakeven prices have fallen across America's major shale formations, reaching as low as $30 per barrel in Texas. WTI is $49.47 a barrel. Low by historical standards, but profitable. 
Prices are marvelous motivators. As they stabilized last year, producers locked in higher prices with futures contracts, added rigs and started pumping away. Some firms tapped the "fracklog" of wells drilled before oil's crash - but had never tapped. Others used new 3D seismic imaging technology to cheaply discover new reserves and started drilling. America's shalers are now nimble and quick, and slow-moving OPEC is no match.
For Britain, the upshot is probably a struggling North Sea. Sorry. Most projects there have breakeven prices near $60 per barrel, forcing producers to cut back and get lean even as America ramps up. Where US drilling activity and oilfield investment rose in Q4, they fell in Britain. Mining output (which includes oil) fell -7% quarter-on-quarter. Oil dragged UK business investment negative. 
This also radically changes the calculus for Nicola Sturgeon's quest for a second Scottish referendum. Last time, high oil was a boon for Scotland's finances and a rallying point for the independence campaign. This time, cheap oil makes independence extra-risky.  As for your portfolio, Britain's higher extraction costs probably make US refiners and vertically integrated giants a better buy than UK Energy firms. 
And globally? Since oil flipped from an economic headwind to a tailwind in America, growth is speeding up, giving the world a nice push. Bull markets don't end when the world is accelerating, as it is today. Keep owning stocks like these:
Cloud computing seems in clear skies, great for Salesforce.com. Don't expect it to show material earnings soon - or for that to stop its stock. Revenue growth will propel it. For stocks like this net earnings are less critical than growth plus fat operating margins plowed back into more growth - which are fully 70%. As it crosses $10 billion in revenue in its January 2018 fiscal year, it should emerge a halo stock like Amazon has been off and on for years.
Some big drug stocks didn't have a great 2016, but hang tough. Before America's Obamacare gasps its last they'll shine. Improving in that realm is Britain's own GlaxoSmithkline, as its new respiratory drugs breathe life into a stock selling at 14 times my 2017 earnings estimate with a 5% dividend yield.

Oil investors should know what drives the market…and it's not OPEC, argues Ken Fisher. The investing legend also tips one of the biggest UK companies around.

ASOS booming, but shares slump

ASOS booming, but shares slump

Fashion retailer ASOS reported double-digit revenue and profit growth, but investors were less than impressed. David Brenchley finds out why.

UK Oil & Gas ready for its 'most important well ever'

UK Oil & Gas ready for its 'most important well ever'

It's been quite a journey for UK Oil & Gas, but the Gatwick driller will shortly start what is described as the biggest well in its history, writes Lee Wild.

Why Lloyds Bank upgrade cycle is 'far from over'

Why Lloyds Bank upgrade cycle is 'far from over'

Given some 'pretty absurd' impairment forecasts for Lloyds Bank right now, one analyst predicts bigger things for the share price. Lee Wild reports.

Third time lucky? How this miner can double

Third time lucky? How this miner can double

Alarm bells aren't ringing just yet for this company, despite a plunge through its glass ceiling. Here's why chartist Alistair Strang is optimistic.

Stockwatch: 27% upside potential for patient buyers

Stockwatch: 27% upside potential for patient buyers

This small-cap trades on a 'cheap' valuation multiple for a business becoming a global leader, argues Edmond Jackson. There's a possible 4% yield, too.

Apple snub triggers most spectacular crash at Imagination Technologies

Apple snub triggers most spectacular crash at Imagination Technologies

Imagination Technologies found out the hard way what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket. David Brenchley has all the gory detail.

Key disposals boost BP, Reckitt and G4S

Key disposals boost BP, Reckitt and G4S

The large-cap trio of BP, Reckitt Benckiser and G4S are all selling or have sold non-core assets. David Brenchley reports all the details.

Government nears Lloyds Bank exit

Government nears Lloyds Bank exit

Another big share sale takes the government a step nearer a full exit from its stake in Lloyds Banking Group, reports Lee Wild.

Chart of the week: An upside surprise

Chart of the week: An upside surprise

With this share currently testing significant support, technical analyst John Burford assesses the likelihood of the rally picking up again.

FTSE 100: An 'amazing perspective'

 FTSE 100: An 'amazing perspective'

His charts have 8,000 as a potential target for the FTSE 100, but weekend political chatter has chartist Alistair Strang looking at the market’s drop potentials.