Trump’s announcement is little more than a sham, intended to goose financial markets, with nothing yet committed to writing:
“Trump said the deal would take three to five weeks to write and could possibly be wrapped up and signed by the middle of November….”
…what could possibly go wrong?
The economy continues to tick along steadily, with unemployment and initial jobless claims near record lows.
But high levels of uncertainty are likely to create a drag on consumer spending and stock earnings.
At the outset of Donal Trump’s presidency, value investor Seth Klarman, who runs the $30 billion Baupost Group hedge fund, predicted the impact that Trump would have on financial markets:
“The erratic tendencies and overconfidence in his own wisdom and judgment that Donald Trump has demonstrated to date are inconsistent with strong leadership and sound decision-making…..
The big picture for investors is this: Trump is high volatility, and investors generally abhor volatility and shun uncertainty…. Not only is Trump shockingly unpredictable, he’s apparently deliberately so; he says it’s part of his plan.”
In his letter, Mr Klarman warned: “If things go wrong, we could find ourselves at the beginning of a lengthy decline in dollar hegemony, a rapid rise in interest rates and inflation, and global angst.”
While not entirely prescient — we have low interest rates and low inflation — Klarman was right about the decline in dollar hegemony and the rise in global angst.
Markets are clearly in risk-off mode.
US Equity ETFs recorded a net outflow of $824m this week, compared to a net inflow of $2,104m into US Fixed Income. Year-to-date flows present a similar picture, with a 3.3% inflow into US Equity compared to 13.9% into US Fixed Income (Source: ETF.com).
Long tails on the S&P 500 candles indicate buying support. Expect another test of our long-term target at 3000. Volatility remains above 1%, however, indicating elevated risk. Breach of 2800 is unlikely at present but would offer a target of 2400.
According to Factset, the S&P 500 is likely to report a third quarter this year with a year-on-year decline in earnings.
The Nasdaq 100 paints a similar picture, with another test of 8000 likely.
It is becoming impossible to justify current heady earnings multiples when reported earnings are declining.
If Johnson’s “free trade zone” for Northern Ireland can break the Brexit impasse, then there may be room for optimism over the future UK – EU relationship.
Europe seems to be stirring. Trailing a distant third, to North America and Asia in terms of investment performance, there are some early encouraging signs. A higher trough indicates buying pressure and breakout above 400 on DJ Stoxx Euro 600 would signal a primary advance.
The Footsie shows similar early signs of a potential recovery. A higher trough on the trend Index indicates buying pressure. Breakout above 7600 would signal a primary advance.
Let us hope that this is not a false dawn and the UK and EU are able to resolve their differences.
For the present, our outlook for the global economy remains bearish and equity exposure for International Growth is a low 34% of portfolio value.