Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Markets fall as protectionism risk rises

Markets mostly fell on Monday.

The S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent, as did the STOXX Europe 600.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.4 percent but stocks were mixed elsewhere in the region while the Japanese market was closed.

Over the weekend, finance ministers and central bankers at a G-20 meeting had dropped a pledge against protectionism in a policy statement, a move pushed by the US.

Citigroup economist Ebrahim Rahbari wrote in a research note. “Our base case is still cautiously benign, but we see a major rise in protectionism as one of the main risks to the global outlook.”

Analysts mostly appear to remain sanguine about market prospects though.

“At this stage, sideways or a move lower on the S&P 500 would make sense and perhaps that’s what we are seeing after gains in February,” said Michael Antonelli, equity sales trader at Robert W. Baird & Co.

“We have one of the most business-friendly administrations, which we expect to spur capital spending by companies, leading to better earnings growth,” said Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors.

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