While rising geopolitical tensions centred on the US president and the rise of populism have dominated global news headlines recently, the world's equity markets have kept motoring ahead, reaching new highs despite the uncertainty. The local bourse is no exception, despite weak growth prospects in the South African economy and worrying political theatre ahead of the ANC's elective conference. With the amount of stimulus that has been pumped into global markets over the past decade and the low interest rate environment, the question for some years has been whether equity markets in particular are reflecting the fundamentals of the real economy. In the cases of the US, EU, Japan, China and a number of other emerging markets, Graham Bell, an analyst at Old Mutual, said that for the first time since 2008, these economies were "chugging along nicely" in a synchronised global upswing. Average growth in the world's biggest economy, the US, is expected to be 2.1% this year, and Japanese gro...

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