Wall Street continued upwards trend despite tax overhaul, budget deal uncertainty

Wall Street continued upwards trend despite tax overhaul, budget deal uncertainty

Despite the political turmoil surrounding the budget deal and tax overhaul issue, the Wall Street remained upbeat and continued to rally last week.

The risks of a government shutdown if a budget deal isn’t reached by December 8 loom, but investors have yet to react to that as the market trend indicates a lot of optimism. Investors believe that everything will work out, but there are a lot of different things and equations in play and anything could happen so market strategists are keeping a close eye on every little situation that emerges.

Alongside the back-and-forth on taxes, Wall Street will be watching a Dec. 8 expiration date for funding needed to keep the US government open alongside the deadline when the US Treasury hits its limit on borrowing; as well as a Dec. 12 Special US Senate election in Alabama.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump warned on Twitter that “I don’t see a deal” to keep the government open and work past Dec. 8, although the White House said Wednesday it did not see such an eventuality.

Typically, the threat of a government shutdown alone would prompt fund managers to move more of their assets into cash. The benchmark S&P 500 lost 2.6 per cent in the eight trading days before the last government shutdown in 2013, and has declined an average of 0.6 per cent during government shutdowns overall, according to LPL Financial. Debt limit concerns are likely to be put off until 2018 as the U.S. Treasury is expected to take steps to postpone any need for action by Congress.

Yet with the benchmark S&P 500 up nearly 18 per cent for the year to date, some portfolio managers see a greater risk in stepping to the sidelines. Throughout the year, the stock market has rallied in the face of standoffs ranging from increasing tensions in North Korea to former FBI director’s James Comey’s testimony to Congress that President Trump fired him to undermine the agency’s Russia investigation.

On Friday, stocks sold off on a report that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was prepared to tell investigators that before taking office Trump had directed him to make contact with Russians. However, shares quickly pared those losses.

Despite his skepticism, Orlando has yet to move more of his assets to cash, in large part because corporate earnings keep rising and should continue to do so even if a tax package is not signed, he said.

If the tax bill fails, Orlando said he expected the S&P 500 to fall by as much as 10 percent. He would be a buyer in that case, he said, because he expected the S&P 500 to reach 3000 within the next 18 months.



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