Throughout the final quarter of 2018, the ever-changing US trade policy was the major event affecting stock market activity, but both US and Asian markets reacted very differently to each other. In addition to this, the US initiated a further interest rate rise in September, with a further rise forecasted for December.
The effect of these steadily rising rates shouldn’t cause too much harm to equity markets, as it looks like companies are well-placed to deal with less generous financial conditions, but those with high levels of debt may find it increasingly difficult to do so.
In the US, Europe and Emerging Markets, economic fundamentals remain strong, and we believe that these are likely to be the strong foundations on which to build success. The next earnings season starts again in October, and will provide us with a further indication of the health of the market. We anticipate that most companies will demonstrate further positive progress, though perhaps not at the rate we saw earlier in 2018, as the effects of tax cuts start to dissipate.
In the UK, we saw assets struggle to make progress as Theresa May failed to make any significant headway in her Brexit negotiations. As the March 29th 2019 deadline looms, it is essential that we see a resolution soon, and we are continuing with our low UK holdings to protect against the potential negative outcomes of this.
For further information, please read our full Investment Market Review & Outlook: