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One down, three to go: Trump’s first 365 days

7 November marked a year to the day that Donald Trump was handed the keys to the kingdom on the US. It’s safe to say it’s been a whirlwind ride since then. The equity markets however have enjoyed some much plainer sailing, but what lies ahead?

Break on through

Not for the first time this year, the S&P 500 has breached its all-time high – a fact that’s easy to overlook given the negative headlines that have plagued the US’s divisive Commander-in-Chief. Yet investors still seem content to price in many of his promises (tax cut, cash repatriation, deregulation, investment plan) and have benefited from a “Goldilocks” scenario: fairly strong growth with low bond yields and a weak dollar.  

Promises vs. prices

Clearly, fundamentals remain impressive and some risks have passed – for now at least it looks less likely the Trump presidency will fail despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth. The debt ceiling has been raised, at least until 8 December, and tax reform finally appears to be under way.

Tax cut fight

There will, undoubtedly, be some opposition to overcome – notably from small businesses – so changes are likely, but the GOP should still be able to pass a bill by the end of the year. This will be a huge relief to those investors who’ve been betting on deep tax cuts and driving the S&P 500 ever higher.

It will also be a huge relief to the President, whose policymaking apprenticeship has been troubled to say the least. After the healthcare debacle, he is in desperate need of a major legislative victory to conclude his first year in office. So far, the much-promised fiscal push has, rather ironically, met a bureaucratic brick wall. 

Jerome joins Janet’s dots

We do have the name of the new Fed Chair – the centrist, down-to-earth Jerome Powell will take office in February, once Janet Yellen’s term comes to an end. Whilst not the most ardent proponent of de-regulation on the shortlist, Powell has stated his desire to lighten the regulatory load, especially on smaller banks. 

He’s also likely to tread the familiar, gradual path of normalisation laid down by his predecessor. At least, that’s what the market – which received his nomination warmly - is hoping for. Continuity is king on Wall Street. Any deviation from that path could expose the true scale of the equity market’s vulnerability to Fed balance sheet reduction.

Still, decent growth and little in the way of wage pressure is translating into solid margins, which in turn fuels firmer earnings per share growth as has been amply demonstrated by the results of the current earnings season to date. Positive surprises have been plentiful. In truth then, it‘s all suggestive of a very conducive environment for equities. And many investors do seem to believe the run will continue, at least for another 12-18 months until the economy starts slowing, because they can’t see any more catalysts for change.

No more than neutral

Yet the S&P 500 is up by 20%+ over the last 12 months (at time of writing), which looks stretched to us.  We’re neutral overall on US equities and feel the need to be more selective than the headline figures suggest. Details on tax reform are sketchy, but the odds of an accord seem to have increased. Looming mid-terms add to the pressure for the Republicans. Sector calls are difficult at this stage, but we do expect domestic-focused areas to benefit most. We still favour large-caps over their smaller peers as well. We’re bullish on banks over the long term, given the prospects for de-regulation, but low inflation could prove a headwind for a while yet.

Lyxor’s USA ETF Range

As the longest-standing provider of American equity ETFs, our far-reaching range offers a dozen ways to explore developed American markets, many of these unique in Europe. Here’s three to remember:

For broad USA exposure, the Lyxor S&P 500 UCITS ETF (LSPU LN) has raised more than €1.6bn so far this year – making it Europe’s most popular US Equity fund. View the Lyxor S&P 500 ETF

For income seekers, the Lyxor FTSE US Quality Low Vol Dividend (DR) UCITS ETF (DOSH LN) invests in 144 high yielding companies, screened for quality to avoid the yield trap. Charging just 0.19%, this is Europe’s lowest cost Equity Income fund. View the Lyxor FTSE US Quality Low Vol Dividend (DR) UCITS ETF

If infrastructure spending does take off, the Lyxor FTSE USA Core Infrastructure Capped UCITS ETF (BUIL LN) focuses on US companies which derive at least 65% of their revenue from activities in core Transportation, Telecommunications and Energy infrastructure. View the FTSE USA Core Infrastructure Capped UCITS ETF

For more information and our full range of US Equity funds, visit LyxorETF.co.uk

For professional clients and qualified investors only. Past performance is of course no guide to future returns.

Sources: Market data from Lyxor Cross Asset Research Team, 9 November 2017. First American Equity ETF – launched by Lyxor in May 2001. Flows data source Bloomberg, correct as at 16th November 2017

Risk Warning

It is important for potential investors to evaluate the risks described below and in the fund prospectus which can be found on www.lyxoretf.com CAPITAL AT RISK: ETFs are tracking instruments: Their risk profile is similar to a direct investment in the Underlying Index. Investors’ capital is fully at risk and investors may not get back the amount originally invested. REPLICATION RISK: The fund objectives might not be reached due to unexpected events on the underlying markets which will impact the index calculation and the efficient fund replication. COUNTERPARTY RISK: Investors are exposed to risks resulting from the use of an OTC Swap with Societe Generale. In-line with UCITS guidelines, the exposure to Societe Generale cannot exceed 10% of the total fund assets. Physically replicated ETFs may have counterparty risk resulting from the use of a Securities Lending Programme. UNDERLYING RISK: The Underlying Index of a Lyxor ETF may be complex and volatile. When investing in commodities, the Underlying Index is calculated with reference to commodity futures contracts exposing the investor to a liquidity risk linked to costs such as cost of carry and transportation. ETFs exposed to Emerging Markets carry a greater risk of potential loss than investment in Developed Markets as they are exposed to a wide range of unpredictable Emerging Market risks. CURRENCY RISK: ETFs may be exposed to currency risk if the ETF is denominated in a currency different to that of the Underlying Index they are tracking. This means that exchange rate fluctuations could have a negative or positive effect on returns. LIQUIDITY RISK: Liquidity is provided by registered market-makers on the respective stock exchange where the ETF is listed, including Societe Generale. On exchange liquidity may be limited as a result of a suspension in the underlying market represented by the Underlying Index tracked by the ETF; a failure in the systems of one of the relevant stock exchanges, Societe Generale or other market-maker systems; or an abnormal trading situation or event.This document is for the exclusive use of investors acting on their own account and categorized either as “eligible counterparties” or “professional clients” within the meaning of Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2004/39/EC. It is not directed at retail clients. In Switzerland, it is directed exclusively at qualified investors.

Research Disclaimer

Lyxor International Asset Management (“LIAM”) or its employees may have or maintain business relationships with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that LIAM and its employees may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision.

 

 

This article was provided by LYXOR ETF and does not necessarily reflect the views of Citywire

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