The US election is unlikely to fuel a stock market boom

On tax, he favours big cuts for individuals but largely paid for by corporations. He is more protectionist than Clinton and even cooler on free trade deals. What is hard to know is the extent to which his intemperate rhetoric would be moderated if he gained power.

At the sector level, drug pricing, defence spending and financial services reform look like key themes. Pharmaceutical and biotech stocks have been hit hard by Hillary Clinton’s assault on what she saw as price-gouging.

Much will depend on the make-up of Congress, where the Republicans are likely to be unsupportive of reduced drug prices.

Defence spending is a hot potato given the US budget deficit but plans to quadruple the budget for European defence in the face of Russian “aggression” suggest a big squeeze is unlikely.

In financial services, while Clinton has been a major recipient of donations from Wall Street, banks remain the US public’s pantomime villain so the regulatory pendulum is likely to swing towards stricter curbs.

Whether it is Trump or Clinton who wins the election in November, they will be under pressure to meet the aspirations of an angry electorate that is worried about rising inequality, lower real living standards and a shift in power from labour to capital.

More regulation, less trade, higher corporate taxes and rising wages are unlikely to fuel a stock market boom. But, come the end of 2016, one thing will have moved in investors’ favour. Two unknowns hanging over the markets will have cleared. We will know where Britain stands on Europe and we will know who is the 45th US president.

Investors can then focus on what ultimately drives share prices in the long run – the trajectory of corporate earnings. And if you thought the election was uncertain…

Tom Stevenson is an investment director at Fidelity Worldwide Investment. The views expressed are his own. He tweets at @tomstevenson63.

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