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Market Summary | March 2017

17th April 2017

The Author: David Cooper

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Financial strategist, investment adviser and Sales Director for United Advisers

Markets ended the first quarter of 2017 in a relatively steady manner with equity markets moving sideways and volatility remaining reasonably low.

Economically, there was nothing particularly out of the ordinary for investors to digest while political events continue to unfold around the world with the industry paying close attention.

The incumbent Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, won the Dutch election and is now in the process of forming a coalition.

All heads now turn to France, with the first round on the April 23rd. Markets anticipate a run-off between independent candidate Emmanuel Macron and National Front leader, Marine Le-Pen.

In the UK, Prime Minister, Theresa May, triggered Article 50 on March 29th, officially signalling the UK’s intention to leave the European Union. Negotiations will now begin, although EU leaders won’t meet until the end of April to start discussing the UK’s terms of departure. There is a two-year window for negotiations, and the market is likely to react as details of these negotiations emerge.

In the US, the equity market continued to be driven by the actions of President Trump with the main feature in March being the last-minute shelving of the American Healthcare Act; proposed to replace Obamacare. The markets had already displayed a loss of confidence in Trump’s ability to deliver on many of his promises, and the healthcare setback led to speculation about his ability to push through his flagship tax reforms.

In Emerging Markets, investors started to regain confidence in developing countries; the MSCI Emerging Market index was up over 2% in March, adding to what has been a stellar start to the year. Inflows in Emerging Market funds are increasing, with India being a particularly strong performer.

To read more about the markets outlined in this Market Summary, click here 2017-Mar-ua-commentary