The technology sector will continue to be an important theme for UK investors during 2018 according to investment experts from Barclays.

Henk Potts, director of Global Investment Strategy at Barclays; Chris Bishun, head of investment management; Nick Carpentier, corporate investment specialist in Guernsey and Chris Grant, corporate investment specialist in Jersey discussed the outlook for the global economy and what this may mean for local investors at seminars in the islands this month.

As well as highlighting why investors should consider including technology stocks in their portfolios, the speakers looked at what could impact financial markets this year, including Brexit, the European economy and US Federal policy.

Mr Bishun discussed current stock market opportunities saying: “Technology continues to be a feature in our portfolios and we have seen some strong performances already from the FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) stocks.

“However, technology isn’t limited to just these names; we are also interested in disruptive technologies and looking further afield in emerging markets.

“Cryptocurrencies continue to dominate headlines with Bitcoin the fastest growing asset in 2017 up 1500%. From a portfolio management perspective we do not see cryptocurrencies as a viable investment option given there is no fundamental value, no stream of future income and no ultimate assurance of liquidity. The resulting fluctuations in price can also be difficult to stomach. However, Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology behind Bitcoin, does look interesting given the efficiencies that it can drive and we have seen a number of companies embracing this technology.”

Mr Potts noted during his economic outlook that the global economy is improving and this should continue throughout 2018, although Brexit will lead to a slowdown in growth for the UK.

“We are seeing synchronized growth for the first time in many years, with global growth getting back to 4%” he said.

“The US economy will benefit from strong domestic consumption, robust business investment and fiscal stimulus; we expect to see growth of 2.7% this year. The Federal Reserve will continue to normalise policy further this year and we anticipate four interest rate hikes.

“The European economic landscape is brightening and we expect the European Central Bank to ease back further from its emergency policy. However, the reality of Brexit is starting to shine through in the hard data and we anticipate growth to slow to 1.4% as household consumption growth slows down and businesses hold back from investing ahead of the second phase of the negotiations this year.”

Paul Savery, managing director for Barclays in the Channel Islands said: “Barclays is committed to delivering global expertise and insight that is tailored and relevant to our clients in the Channel Islands. It was great to welcome Henk back to the islands to present his economic outlook for 2018 alongside local experts Chris Bishun, Nick Carpentier and Chris Grant who discussed how this outlook could affect investors in Guernsey and Jersey. We hope attendees found their insight interesting and useful.”