Should investors brace themselves for a big stock market fall if Donald Trump wins the US election?
Adrian Ash, head of research at BullionVault, says Yes.
If a friend is now waking up after missing 2016 in a coma, bring them up to speed gently: start with Leicester winning the Premier League at 5000-to-one.
The UK’s vote to leave the EU was discounted even by its leading proponents right until the morning of 24 June. And Donald Trump’s bid for the White House looked “bizarre” and “quixotic” (to quote the mainstream press) right until he won the Republican candidacy in July.
But now, with less than one week to go and Hillary Clinton barely one point ahead according to some polls, the markets look more complacent about a shock than before the UK’s EU referendum.
Previously tied at the hip, volatility in both US equities and the Mexican peso have fallen as the presidential vote looms. Gold bullion prices have popped higher from October’s 4 per cent drop, but this key indicator of financial stress is trading back where it stood before its 7 per cent leap at the end of June. Insurance looks cheap at $1,285 per ounce.
Darius McDermott, managing director at Chelsea Financial Services, says No.
Unknown, unpredictable, and with few clear policies, there may be an initial sell-off in markets if Trump wins. But there is nothing to say that it would necessarily turn into a more sustained market correction.
Nothing about this election has been logical, and there is nothing to say stock markets will do what we expect either. The US equity market could rise again after the initial shock. Remember, the majority of Americans will presumably be happy about the outcome.
There are a number of sectors that could benefit from a Trump win: his planned spending on infrastructure is huge and likely to be funded through debt, not business (indeed, he plans to cut corporation tax, which would make companies across the board more profitable).
He wants US firms to repatriate cash held abroad, which could boost reinvestment, he is against some environmental regulations, which is bad for renewables but good for carbon energy, and wants to spend more on defence. There are some definite winners.