ECB stimulus plan drives some investments into new territories


THE European Central Bank's (ECB) plan to begin a big monetary stimulus programme in March is already causing money to contort in new and sometimes strange ways.

German bonds maturing in seven years traded at a negative interest rate for the first time on Thursday, meaning investors are willing to temporarily lose money for the privilege of owning the bonds. And the German insurance giant Allianz, which traditionally invests mainly in bonds and other securities, announced on Thursday that it would invest billions of euros more in property, adding to a portfolio that includes a British military garrison and a French shopping mall.

Both developments reflected attempts by investors to cope...

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