Week ending 25th October 2019.

Global equities ended the week higher thanks to better than expected corporate results which highlighted that companies are weathering the slowing economic growth and trade dispute.

In fact, of the 201 companies in the S&P 500 index that have reported results, 81% (163) have beaten expectations.

Adding to the optimistic tone in equity markets were hopes that the US/China trade dispute would be resolved after it was indicated that progress was being made in phase one negotiations, while Donald Trump said Chinese purchases of US agriculture products had started.

In the UK, it was Brexit déjà vu as our exit was again left in limbo after MPs rejected the government’s Brexit timetable.

The ball is now back in the EU’s court as they have to decide if there should be an extension, and if so, how long it will be for.  Although Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has indicated that he is opposed to a three month extension, it’s unlikely the EU will want to be responsible for pushing the UK into a no-deal Brexit.

A Brexit extension into 2020 is likely to help facilitate a general election, which will hopefully help fix our fractured Parliament, as at present, while the Tories may be in government, their minority means that they aren’t in power.  However, like Brexit, it unfortunately isn’t that simple, given the Fixed-term Parliaments Act requires the support of two-thirds of all MPs.  Additionally, getting a majority will be difficult for any party given the SNP is likely to win the majority of the Scottish seats.  So expect more plot twists to come!

Elsewhere, yesterday (24 October 2019) Mario Draghi presided over his last ECB meeting, before Christine Lagarde takes over next Friday (1 November 2019).  As expected, the ECB left Eurozone interest rates unchanged.

This coming week, in the US we have Q3 GDP; consumer confidence; a Fed monetary policy meeting; employment data (non-farm payrolls; unemployment rate; participation rate; and average earnings); and PCE (the Fed’s preferred inflation measure).  Elsewhere we have Eurozone Q3 GDP; Eurozone CPI; and presidential elections in Argentina.

Investment Management Team

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