Donald Trump’s tax and spending policies should boost the US economy. He may not get his proposed package through the Senate in full – and boosting growth to 3 per cent plus may be wildly ambitious – but he should get at least some of his reforms past the Republican establishment.
The big threat is a strong US dollar. If the Fed implements the three mooted interest rate rises this year, the dollar could rise to a level that hurts exporters and diminishes the profits of multinationals once converted into local currency. However, it is not clear whether it will raise rates so sharply. The minutes of the last meeting were not as equivocal as many expected, and this should temper gains in the US currency, which would be positive for indices full of large-cap global names such as the Dow Jones and S&P 500. Companies that are primarily US-facing should not experience this issue, implying that smaller-cap indices such as the Russell 2000 will continue to rise, whatever happens to the dollar.
Darius McDermott, managing director at Chelsea Financial Services and FundCalibre, says No.
Stock markets have already reacted in the expectation of Donald Trump being good for US growth, so I’d argue his near-term impact as President is already priced in. If growth is better than expected, interest rate rises will be higher – and quicker – than expected too. If US 10-year treasuries get to 3 per cent, why would you then buy equities yielding 2 per cent? Once the “risk-free” asset pays more, investors will move towards it as the risk/reward benefits will be greater, and this could be the catalyst for a sell-off.
I’m pretty cautious in my outlook, as I always consider valuations. The US stock market is looking expensive, as is the UK stock market. So I won’t be piling my money in right now. Investing at the top of the market is never wise and I think we are nearing the peak. There are still a huge number of uncertainties in the world. If markets get spooked, people could regret getting carried away by a seemingly one-way ticket.