How will markets and economy fare in second half?

How will markets and economy fare in second half?

The global economy and financial markets stand at a crucial crossroad, and look set for further turbulence in the next six months.

The world economy is somewhat on the mend since the global financial crisis but recovery is still patchy and sluggish.

Meanwhile, financial markets are on tenterhooks over concerns that the huge amounts of easy money pumped in by central banks, which have fuelled the recent market rally, may be gradually withdrawn in the coming months.

How things will pan out in the near term will be determined by one event - the slowing down of the United States Federal Reserve's massive money-printing measures.

"All eyes will be centred on when the Fed will start to scale down its asset purchases, as this will have a major impact on how the markets move," said Mr Kelvin Tay, regional chief investment officer for Southern Asia Pacific at UBS wealth management.

Last week, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke hinted that the central bank will not rush to raise interest rates, triggering a market rally across the globe.

His comments were seen as a reversal of his position in late May when he said the Fed would soon cut back its massive stimulus - which sparked market mayhem.

The Sunday Times speaks to analysts and experts on how the financial and property markets as well as the economy will fare in the second half of the year.

1. Rocky road ahead for stocks

As an asset class, most wealth experts are still upbeat on equities relative to bonds or gold. Stock movements are expected to move in accordance with any Fed announcement or utterance by Mr Bernanke. Hence, stocks will remain volatile in the coming months.

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