JPMorgan just published highlights from its Global Markets Conference in Paris.
The results: big time investors are still bullish on equity markets but view the upcoming European elections and the unpredictable presidency of Donald Trump as major market risks. Together those two risks account for about 80% of responses.
The three major European elections are in The Netherlands (March 15), France (first round on April 23), and Germany (September 24). Much of the focus was on French election fears surrounding far right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen. While only 22% of investors think that Le Pen will win, it’s important to remember that investors also did not expect Donald Trump to win the US election or for the UK to vote to leave the European Union.
JPMorgan notes, Rising populism and nationalism has investors on edge (emphasis ours):
Recent electoral outcomes have centered around fears about the economic future, and voter demographics supporting the nationalist movements have been similar for the Brexit vote, U.S. and French elections, with noncollege-educated segments of the population favouring nationalist candidates. The classical divide between the right and left is now less relevant. The big divide is on globalization, between the winners and losers.
Additionally, investors “overwhelmingly” prefer stocks over bonds and in particular, developing market equities, followed by emerging market equities, which investors feel have more room to run than domestic stocks.
On global growth:
Expectations for higher growth remain muted with only 17% indicating that the global economy could grow by more than 3%, compared with 34% indicating 2.75% to 3.0% growth, 27% indicating 2.5% to 2.75% growth and 19% indicating 2.25 to 2.5% growth.
On the domestic front:
45% of those surveyed expect the S&P 500 to end the year at 2,500 or higher, while 38% expect the S&P 500 to end the year in the current 2,300 to 2,500 range. Only 17% expect a U.S. equity market correction and only 7% believe that the correction would be significantly below 2,100.