Saturday, 21 January 2017

Markets mixed as Trump inaugurated but face risk of “severe bear market”

Markets were mixed on Friday.

The S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent, the STOXX Europe 600 slipped 0.1 percent and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent.

While markets were mostly focused on Donald Trump's inauguration as President of the United States, David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial, noted that earnings “have been a mixed bag so far”.

“We’ll need to see some follow-through there in order to justify valuations,” Joy said. “But recent economic data has been encouraging, including here, in Europe, and in China.”

Indeed, Barbara Kollmeyer at MarketWatch writes that “this bull market will keep going, Trump angst or no.”

However, MarketWatch columnist Market Hulbert says that the “biggest danger facing stock investors now is a severe bear market”.

Invoking contrarian principles, he noted that at the World Economic Forum in Davos, “the possibility of a financial crisis doesn’t even make its list of top 10 global risks” whereas in early 2009, at the bottom of the 2007-2009 bear market and financial crisis, the Forum had identified “Asset Price Collapse” as the top global risk.

He concluded that “someday we will look back at the World Economic Forum’s current sanguine assessment of financial risks with the disdain that we today view its doom and gloom assessment from 2009”.

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