Week in Review: Trump Takes Oath of Office

For the week ending 20 January 2017

  • Trump sworn in as US president
  • China’s Xi: No one will win a trade war
  • IMF sees fast US growth
  • Draghi: ECB rates to stay low for an extended period

Global equities were little changed on the week as markets awaited clearer policy signals from the incoming US administration. Steady US 10-year-note yields of 2.42% greeted the new president, virtually the same yield that prevailed when Barack Obama was first sworn in eight years ago. West Texas Intermediate crude fell slightly from a week ago, to $52.60 per barrel from $53, while global Brent crude dropped to $55.40 from $56. Volatility, as measured by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), rose to 12.4 from 11.20 a week ago.

GLOBAL MACRO NEWS

Trump vows to restore America’s promise
In his inaugural address, President Donald Trump pledged to transfer power from Washington, D.C., back to the American people. He called for defending the US’s borders while rebuilding its infrastructure. Every decision, whether on trade, taxes or immigration, will be made to benefit American workers and families, he said. While he expects other nations to put their interests first as well, he said the United States will reinforce old alliances and build new ones.

China’s Xi warns on trade war risks
In the first appearance by a Chinese leader at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, President Xi Jinping defended globalization. He cautioned other countries against pursuing protectionist policies, adding that no one will emerge as a winner in a trade war. On the domestic front, Xi said that the economy has entered a new normal, driven by household consumption. He affirmed a 6.7% 2016 economic growth target, in the middle of the government’s 6.5%–7% range, but the slowest since 1990.

Draghi says rates to stay very low even after halting asset sales
Interest rates will stay low or head even lower for an extended period, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said on Thursday, after the Governing Council left its monetary policy unchanged. Draghi looked past a recent uptick in European inflation measures and said the ECB is ready to increase the size of its quantitative easing program, if needed. The Bank of Canada too held policy steady this week, though Governor Stephen Poloz maintained that a rate cut is an option if the Canadian economy takes a hit from more protectionist US policies. Poloz’s dovish tone sent the Canadian dollar lower. US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said Thursday that the Fed is close to its goals and that she expects to hike rates "a few times” this year. Futures markets have just over two 25-basis-point hikes priced in at present. Yellen added that allowing the economy to run persistently hot would be risky and unwise.

IMF ups US growth forecast
The US economy will grow 2.3% this year and 2.5% in 2018, according to freshly revised International Monetary Fund forecasts. The IMF raised its forecast by 0.1% for 2017 and 0.4% for 2018. The global growth outlook remained steady from October estimates of 3.4% this year and 3.6% in 2018. The fund estimates that the global economy expanded 3.1% in 2016.

Banks heading for the Brexit?
This week, several banks announced plans to move staff out of London in the wake of Brexit, including HSBC and UBS. Meanwhile, Germany’s Handelsblatt reported that Goldman Sachs may relocate half of its London staff of 6,500. Some jobs will move to New York, while approximately 1,000 could move to Frankfurt, the paper reported. UK prime minister Theresa May this week outlined her plan to put Brexit to a vote in Parliament before triggering Article 50. She said she expects the United Kingdom to leave both the European Union’s single market and its customs union.

THE WEEK AHEAD

  • Global flash purchasing managers’ indices are released on Tuesday, 24 January
  • US existing home sales data are reported on Tuesday, 24 January
  • The UK Q4 gross domestic product is released on Thursday, 26 January
  • The US Q4 GDP is released on Friday, 27 January

Stay focused and diversified
In any market environment, we strongly believe that investors should stay diversified across a variety of asset classes. By working closely with your financial advisor, you can help ensure that your portfolio is properly diversified and that your financial plan supports your long-term goals, time horizon and tolerance for risk. Diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss.

The information included above as well as individual companies and/or securities mentioned should not be construed as investment advice, a recommendation to buy or sell or an indication of trading intent on behalf of any MFS product.

Securities discussed may or may not be holdings in any of the MFS funds. For a complete list of holdings for any MFS portfolio, please see the most recent annual, semiannual or quarterly report. Full holdings are also available on the individual Fund Summary tab in the Products section of mfs.com.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Sources: MFS research; The Wall Street Journal; The Wall Street Journal Online; Bloomberg News; Financial Times; Forbes.com; CNNMoney.com; NBCNews.com.

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