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MCF Weekly Capital Market Review - September 30th, 2019

Equity markets have been adrift for the past couple weeks. All major equity indices were slightly down last week and the only real winners have been high quality bonds. There isn’t a single event or social media posts by Trump causing this drift, but rather the lack of positive developments on multiple fronts, such as the US-China trade war and Brexit, which continue to mount uncertainties. In the meantime, the prospects of slowing global growth are still intact and weighing on economic outlook.

Trump is however grabbing headlines as House Democrats open an impeachment inquiry over whistleblower allegations seeking help from Ukrainian President Zelendsky to investigate a political rival, presidential contender Joe Biden, in exchange for foreign aid. An impeachment would create a huge shift in major policies, assuming a Pence presidency. The process is only an inquiry right now; Speaker Pelosi would still have to bring an impeachment vote to pass in the House, only to be sent to a Republican majority Senate where it would need a 2/3 majority. Politics aside, the odds of Trump leaving office before his first term expires now sit at ~20%. For comparison, this number was over 55% in August 2017 shortly after the Mueller investigation began and was below 10% in August 2019[1] before the whistleblower allegations.

Prorogation (suspension of parliament) by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was dealt a large blow last week. The Supreme Court ruled that the prorogation was unlawful and as a result, its effect is null and void.[2] Parliament was to be suspended from September 12 to October 14, but instead continued Wednesday. The current Brexit deadline is October 31 and the only Brexit issue that UK lawmakers have agreed upon is leaving the EU if and only if there is some sort of negotiated deal with the EU beforehand. A deal able to corral enough members into a majority has eluded parliament due to the wide spectrum of opinions, ranging from a complete break with the EU to a complete reversal of the referendum. Brexit continues to provide more and more uncertainty than closure as time passes.

The drone strikes on Saudi Aramco caused less damage than expected. Repairs back to full capacity are expected to be complete this week.[3] Saudi oil reserves were released in the meantime to allow oil exports to continue uninterrupted. Powers in the area continue to point fingers but there is no conclusive evidence of responsibility and Saudi Arabia has so far chosen diplomacy rather than war. The price of oil has since fallen steadily, close to its pre-attack levels.

Consumer confidence fell this month in contrast to the strength shown from July and August. Last week, the durable goods report reflects the US weakness in manufacturing for the past year. New home sales notched higher and reached its highest three-month average since 2007. GDP estimates for last quarter remained at 2%.

This week will see PMI and ISM manufacturing reports, construction spending, employment reports, and a barrage of Fed member speeches throughout the week.


[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/17/saudi-energy-minister-says-oil-supply-is-fully-back-online.html


Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by MCF), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from MCF.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.   MCF is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  A copy of the MCF’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. If you are an MCF client, please remember to contact MCF, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. Please click here to review our full disclosure.


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