The first six months of 2018 were unpredictable times for investors as global stock markets suffered a sudden bout of volatility. The unpredictability came as a major surprise after the general stability of 2017. Once the dust had settled there was a mixture of good and bad news. The UK markets were inevitably led by Brexit, with negotiations mainly at the intra- rather than inter-government level. The other perennial British topic, the weather, produced the Beast from the East, depressing economic activity in the first quarter.