Disruptive decade: Ten things the teen years brought world markets (Reuters U.S. – December 23, 2019)


LONDON (Reuters) – The 21st century’s teen years, bookended by a financial crisis at the start and the fintech revolution at the end, were a decade of disruption. From negative borrowing costs to bitcoin, here are ten trends that have upended traditional economic and investment models in the past decade:


If they were a country, they would be the fifth largest in terms of economic output, outgunning Britain and snapping at Germany’s heels. With a $3.9 trillion market value (versus around $100 billion in January 2010), tech giants Facebook, Amazon.com, Apple, Netflix and Google-owner Alphabet — collectively known as the FAANGs — are not only at the vanguard of history’s longest share bullrun but have transformed how humans work, shop, consume news and relax.

FAANGs comprise 7% of the MSCI global equity index today, up from around 1.6% in early 2010. The savvy investor who sank $25,000 in Netflix in 2009 would now be sitting on $1 million.

And in the slip stream of the five pioneers, other tech titans are rising, from China’s BAT grouping of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent to sector “disupters” Uber, Airbnb and Deliveroo. For better or worse, the world — and markets — have changed for ever.


A defining feature of the years following the 2008-2009 meltdown was the slide of interest rates and government borrowing costs below 0%, possibly for the first time in history. U.S. and German 10-year borrowing costs collapsed by 200 to 400 basis points this decade; the latter to as low as minus 0.7%. Roughly $12 trillion in debt carries negative yields, almost a quarter of all bonds outstanding.

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