Some Thoughts on The US Election

There was an unusual sense of de-ja-vu as I woke this morning. I would usually avoid the temptation to check my smartphone, at least until after breakfast, however today was slightly different…

It would seem at the time of writing all but certain that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. This is yet another one of those political events that would ‘never happen’ seemingly unfolding right before our eyes.

The pollsters seem to have gotten it wrong, yet again (I do wonder if we might now stop paying any attention at all to the polls).

No doubt, attention will soon turn to the markets and the impact that this decision will have. The media will jump on top of this story and I should imagine it will be a matter of seconds before the words ‘turmoil’ and ‘panic’ are rolled out.

Of course, we had very similar news, not so long ago, with the Brexit decision. This feels much the same (with the exception of the flooding the night before preventing me from getting home to hear the news!). While I have no doubt that what follows will be a few days of volatility and uncertainty, please do remember that what followed the two days of market falls following the Brexit decision, was arguably one of the strongest stock market rallies we have seen in recent years.

Despite the ‘doom and gloom’ predictions of almost every media outlet or so called ‘economic expert’, the recovery in the markets since the Brexit vote has taken almost everyone by surprise and only goes to highlight the lunacy in trying to predict the future direction of travel.

As I wrote after the Brexit decision, the uncertainty is often the worse part. Now that we know the outcome, the markets will quickly react and come to terms with the news, and they often realise that the panic of the first few days was ‘overdone’ and the market subsequently recovers.

While the past is of course no guide to the future, it is just a reminder that things are not always as bad as they first seem.

Added to which any well diversified portfolio should contain some of the ‘safer’ assets where money tends to flow to in these volatile times such as bonds and property, which may actually benefit from any falls in stock markets.

As I write this, my train into London has just been cancelled due to a line fault. At least it’s ‘business as usual’ on the railways!

Matthew Smith

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