11 August 2017

North Korea: A problem not of Trump’s making.

Missile development program slowly shifts the political balance

North Korea’s recent successful test of a missile capable of reaching much of the US mainland is clearly a concern but it is not because such an attack is imminent or likely. The history of military rocket development suggests that it will still be some years before North Korea could be assured of a successful, let alone multiple, strike on the US or even Guam. However, in the event of any attack, the overwhelming superiority of US forces would undoubtedly ensure the destruction of North Korea. Therefore in many respects Trump’s most aggressive comments this week were a statement of the obvious and investors should accordingly not over-react, even as volatility has risen during thin trading over the holiday season.

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21/09/2017
Illumination: Equity strategy and market outlook September 2017

In this month’s strategy piece, Alastair George believes resilient forecasts for profits growth in 2017 keep the equity bears at bay in the short term. Though a modest degree of weakness in consensus earnings forecasts has appeared recently, earnings growth for developed markets is still forecast to be close to 10% in 2017. However, valuations across credit and equity markets highlight the need for caution for the medium term. Risk premia remain, in our view, compressed by central bank policy and are at levels that are unusually low on a historical basis. For the euro, it is perhaps a Goldilocks era as the strength of the currency taps the brakes on exporting nations, allowing other eurozone members, where there is less inflationary pressure, to remain beneficiaries of ultra-loose monetary policy for longer. We expect the ECB to aim to maintain the euro close to current levels. We continue to believe portfolios should be cautiously positioned.

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