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Three 'hipster' investments you shouldn't touch with a barge pole

Cannabis plants
One expert said it was far too early to invest in cannabis-related stocks Credit: Marco Cervi /BBC 

Investing in exciting new areas is something many of us are tempted to do. Getting ahead of the herd and buying stocks before they are popular is, after all, a good way to make money.

However, it can be much tougher than they make it look in films and television series. Most new investments prove to be passing fads; few stand the test of time.

Being an early backer is not always a good idea. Those who saw the potential of the internet in 1999 suffered one of the worst stock market crashes before they were eventually proved right. 

And early companies in the social media sector such as Myspace and Bebo faded into insignificance while the second generation, typified by Facebook and Twitter, have gone from strength to strength.

Here Telegraph Money looks at three fashionable investment areas that, no matter how exciting they might appear, investors should steer clear of, at least for now.

Cannabis

Cannabis has become a hot topic in America, where it has been legalised in a number of states, and some wonder whether we could see the same in Britain.

But Ben Yearsley of Shore Capital, a financial advice firm, said it was far too early to invest in cannabis-related stocks in America or speculate about future regulation in Britain.

“As with any hot new idea, money floods into these things and often pushes share prices to astronomical levels. This feeds other investors' fear of missing out, pushing prices even higher,” he said.

No one knows whether cannabis firms will make profit over the long term or whether the current enthusiasm will prove short-lived.

The potential for the government to change the rules is also significant, while today's cannabis businesses must compete with illegal sales of the drug and any new entrants, as larger, more established companies have yet to enter the market in a meaningful way.

Mr Yearsley said there was no need to invest while question marks remained over the industry. “If it's a long-term winner there will be plenty of time to invest later,” he added.

Cryptocurrencies

Another new class of asset, albeit more developed than cannabis, is cryptocurrency. The most notable – Bitcoin – has already been through a bubble, peaking at £14,748 in 2017 before plummeting back down. It is currently valued at £7,896, having gained about 190pc since the start of the year.

The price rises this year coincided with the announcement by Facebook that it planned to launch its own cryptocurrency, Libra.

Martin Bamford of financial advice firm Informed Choice said cryptocurrency was “without doubt the worst thing an investor can buy right now”.

Now that Bitcoin is rising again, investors need to resist the temptation to speculate as "it has no real value other than what some other fool is prepared to pay for it”, Mr Bamford said.

Additionally, the trading of Bitcoin remains a largely unregulated market, often used for illegal activity. Billions of pounds' worth of cryptocurrency were stolen globally in the first half of the year, according to a recent report.

Space

Although space travel is currently only the fancy of some of the world’s richest entrepreneurs, some bold investors would like to be able to put money into it.

Vafa Ahmadi of CPR Asset Management,  said he had been asked several times about launching a space-themed tracker fund.

“My business is not to be carried away by the fashion and the fads,” he said. "It takes seven to 14 months to make a new fund. This is something we are very conscious of and we want to be focused on real trends."

Currently there are so few companies in the sector that constructing a fund could be problematic, although big names such as Tesla and Virgin may convince people that the theme has promise.

Mr Ahmadi said: “I might be missing something but I do not see it coming now. Maybe in 30 years or so but not now.”