The last quarter of 2016 brought political shocks to world markets which may potentially change the investment landscape. Come year end, stock markets are at all-time highs and pushing higher. However, despite the apparent positivity, 2017 is expected to present similar challenges to 2016, particularly in Europe, with elections in key nations including France, Germany and potentially Italy, as well as the expected triggering of Article 50 in March in the UK.
Furthermore, Donald Trump will be inaugurated this month, and the uncertainty around the direction of his policy also remains, along with the unpredictability of the man himself. Although the path of the US is somewhat muddied, corporate earnings are doing well and the new administration is expected to be supportive of growth, making the region an attractive prospect.
As ever, these events will create opportunity and through the political noise the economic backdrop looks positive. We expect returns to be harder to come by in what may also be a higher-volatility world, but suitably diversified portfolios should weather the possible storms efficiently while making good returns, relatively.