Taking a stab at the uncertainty caused by Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election is no easy task. News of his win feels very similar to the news on June 24 that the UK had voted to leave the EU. On both occasions, the people had spoken, but it still felt surprising. So what should we make of this?
For the UK stock market, the EU referendum result caused some short sharp volatility. It also triggered a sharp devaluation of sterling. In the months that followed, though, equities rose sharply, particularly those earning chunks of their revenues in foreign currencies.
By contrast, the immediate impact of Trump’s win has been fairly muted in the UK. That’s despite concerns that there could be sharp sell-off in the States when markets open. Even if there is, the consensus view seems to be that equities will bounce back. So for investors looking for bargains amid political uncertainty, the US may prove to be the best hunting ground right now (but there is no certainty about that). In the case of a sudden sell-off, take a look at our article on surviving bear market uncertainty.
Mining and pharma are the early winners
What the analysts are saying
In a note this morning, Hargreaves Lansdown said:
“With the operating landscape largely unchanged we believe the losses incurred today will in all probability be made up by many companies relatively quickly, as calm returns and more adventurous investors move in to pick up a bargain.
“Having said that, markets could remain volatile in the days ahead and there could be further falls. Markets can have a tendency to overreact to big political news, and, as we saw following Brexit, they can bounce back relatively quickly. However, there are no guarantees, so investors could get back less than they invest.”
Standard Life Investments:
“Trump’s election introduces significant uncertainty to the outlook for government policy, economic activity and the US Federal Reserve (Fed). Market volatility has spiked in reaction to the result and we expect this to continue over the coming weeks amid speculation about his likely policy agenda. However, we stress the importance of not overreacting and waiting for clear announcements of priorities.”
Michael Baxter, The Share Centre:
“The markets will probably see sharp falls today, gold will rise and yields on US bonds, and maybe UK bonds, will fall. Sterling will probably rise against the dollar. But being pragmatic about this, markets overreact too, I feel a buying opportunity, especially on temporary sterling strength.”
As expected, there are some cool, calm thoughts from the fund manager Neil Woodford over on his blog. He, too, see the election result as no reason to panic:
“Given the relatively muted response from markets thus far, perhaps investors have learnt that there is no need to panic – it was wrong to overreact to the Brexit vote, and in my opinion, it would be wrong to overreact today.”
Interestingly though, Woodford points to the coming 18 months where we’re going to see several significant elections looming in Europe [including France, Germany and Italy]. He notes that America doesn’t have a monopoly on disgruntled voters – and those political developments will need to be watched carefully by investors.