Market Update – 20 Oct 2020

Do you ever feel like your head is going to explode?

That’s how I felt this week writing the update, everywhere I turned it seemed like something out of a novel, no scratch that it seems too unrealistic to have been an act of fiction!

BREXIT

Forty months ago, 23 June 2016 to be precise the referendum took place, now 40 months; 3 Prime Ministers; countless new paper articles; question time events and news programmes later,  we are heading for a No Deal Brexit.  It’s long been said that it would go right down to the wire and it’s now a game of poker, who will blink first?

COVID-19

Is on the rise both at home and abroad, the country’s politicians are struggling to retain control and we have Mayor’s in large cities refusing to accept the government decisions and the devolved nations are either in full or partial lockdown.

US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

In the US we are 2 weeks away from electing a new president, and they are setting fire to voting mail boxes, one party,  has in California, set up mail boxes to collect postal ballots that are not legal and the leader of the free world called his opponent a criminal yesterday, at a rally where again it was stated that the pandemic shouldn’t control our lives

And the place where the pandemic started reported yesterday, that its economy had grown 4.9% in the third quarter from last year proving the country is back to its pre-pandemic trajectory with consumer spending and industrial production going back to normal levels.  Indeed the International Monetary Fund is projecting China’s economy to expand by 1.9 percent in 2020 which means it’ll be the only major world economy to grow this year.

The next few weeks are critical and the markets know it.

Global equities declined on Monday as record daily coronavirus infections in Europe sparked fears of more severe lockdown restrictions while U.S. investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of corporate earnings season.

Investors were waiting to see how large companies due to report later in the week, such as Netflix and Tesla, fared in the latest quarter before committing funds, said Dennis Dick, a trader at Bright Trad. “I think markets are going to lack direction for a couple of days until we get some clarity for how these earnings are going to look,” he said.

Investors are also waiting to see whether the final debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Oct. 22 will shift the trajectory of the election with the Democratic nominee currently well ahead.

At home the FTSE 100 edged higher on today, boosted by a clutch of upbeat quarterly corporate earnings, although gains were again capped by the concerns over tougher coronavirus lockdowns in parts of England and Brexit-related uncertainty.

New business restrictions due to the surging COVID-19 infections and a stalemate over Brexit have pressured UK markets this month, with analysts also warning of a further slowdown in domestic economic growth.

A junior business minister said earlier today that ‘Britain saw no point in talking with the European Union until the bloc starts to treat Britain as a sovereign state’, dashing earlier optimism that negotiations could carry on.

Asian markets were also subdued due to concerns over an impasse in a new U.S stimulus package ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election. However there are thoughts within the house that a package will be done and dusted before the election so grounds for optimism.

Like today’s Edinburgh weather,  the update seems a bit gloomy but sometimes when you’re in a dark place and you feel buried,  you realise you’ve actually been planted, so we look forward to the growth ahead.

Stay safe