The next 12 months will be an uncertain world, with a busy political period with the US Presidential Election, continuing Brexit, and Elections in France and Germany. We expect much market volatility due to these events.
In recent decades, political events have had a limited influence on financial markets. But this is could be changing, particularly as we approach the US presidential election on 8 November.
The Euro was the biggest loser this week giving up almost 2% against the pound and 1.5% against the US Dollar. The majority of this move followed the European Central Bank meeting press conference with President Draghi. After initially confirming the ECB governing council did not discuss extending the QE program leading to a jump in the Euro value, he quickly undid this work by confirming that they did not discuss tapering the program either.
In the three months since the European Union referendum in the UK, there has been little impact other than the change of Prime Minister and the weakness in Sterling.
The FTSE 100 recovered quickly and even the FTSE 250 has regained its pre-vote levels, confounding the warnings from a range of experts. However, performance has diverged between companies with substantial overseas earnings and those which are more domestically-exposed.
Brexit will take several years to come to fruition. During this time, economic growth may slow because of uncertainty, but we do not expect a recession. So far, leading economic indicators confirm this. However, this period could be difficult, with politically-driven volatility shaping the investment landscape.
For many expatriates, their pension income is the key to living the retirement lifestyle of their choice. Now that Brexit is imminent, should you have concerns about your pension security? Here we take a look at the key implications for the State Pension, defined contribution schemes and defined benefit or ‘final salary’ schemes.
Losses of two thirds of a yen, a quarter of a Swiss cent and nearly one US cent pushed the euro into the back end of the field: only the Northern Scandinavian crowns, the pound and the South African rand had a worse run. The euro did nothing particularly wrong: most of the economic data from Germany and pan-Euroland beat forecast. It was just that investors' attention was elsewhere. It was on the United States, where it continues to look likely that interest rates will go up in December. And it was on Britain, where the referendum result continues to cripple sterling.
In global terms it was a mediocre week for the euro. It lost half a Japanese yen and three quarters of a US cent. That was despite a half-cent jump on Tuesday after investors seized upon the almost certainly erroneous idea that the European Central Bank is about to begin winding down its asset purchase scheme. Uninvestable banks’ lending less money is not at all what ECB monetary policy aims to achieve. So investors put two and two together and, bingo! The ECB must be preparing the way for an early end to the QE scheme! The euro jumped a cent higher against the US dollar.
“Is it purely coincidence that there are no European equivalents of Apple, Microsoft, Google, eBay, Facebook, Netflix or Twitter?” Our latest investment report considers the relative merits of the US and Europe as places to do business and in which to invest. SAAC has been positive on US equities for over seven years. Over this time, this position has been challenged frequently, due to valuation and/or economic momentum.
The report considers a list of US companies that either do not have equivalents in Europe (Google, Amazon, Walt Disney Co. and Berkshire Hathaway) or are distinctly higher quality than their peers (Exxon, Coca-Cola, Visa and Nike) and concludes that, all other things being equal, the US is a more favourable environment for business. This is not simply about the market in which companies operate, but also about differences in management culture. Many factors could account for this, including the size of the US market, and its common language and legal infrastructure; access to capital and the approach of banks to lending; intellectual agglomeration around universities and Silicon Valley; and antitrust policies and political lobbying. It also considers microeconomic factors, such as capital allocation, remuneration and dividend policies.
As investors swung from nervousness to confidence and back again the safe-haven euro rallied and dipped and rallied again. The first swing related to the US presidential candidate's debate, which Donald Trump entered in the lead and came out of in second place.