There is no denying that social, economic, fiscal and political change is afoot. With a new President in office and a single party majority Congress in place, areas that appear bound for change include:
- Federal budget spending, with likely increased emphasis on defense and infrastructure and decreased spending on social services, environmental and other “soft” categories, greater deficits and higher inflation;
- Health care reform, with the process beginning with the House of Representatives voting on May 4, 2017, to replace the Affordable Care Act with a new plan that is sure to change again as the Senate takes up the same issues;
- Tax and regulatory reform, simplifying and lowering individual and corporate tax rates and reducing burdens on businesses.
Change for all
These potential changes introduce a heightened level of political uncertainty into the markets, on which Klingenstein Fields Advisors is keeping a close eye. As we have stated previously, the markets are not fond of uncertainty and typically respond with increased volatility. To some extent, resolution of any sort at least gives the market clarity and something to which they can respond. The outcomes for each of these have the potential to affect investment strategy, asset allocation and specific asset class performance. Repercussions of different outcomes are complex and difficult to predict at this point. Our goal, as always, is to monitor the global landscape and help ensure that our clients are well-positioned to benefit from potential opportunities while managing their risk.
Areas that we believe may be affected by contemplated changes include (but are not limited to):
Focus on the Long Term
While we continually evaluate the impact of potential developments, we caution against overreacting to what can turn out to be short-term noise in the marketplace. In the past twelve months, we have witnessed the surprise results of Brexit and the U.S. election, both of which resulted in sharp short-term market downturns. However, both times, the markets recovered and stabilized. We maintain our focus on fundamentals, looking for opportunities to own quality stocks with strong prospects and reasonable prices. Shorter-term event driven market disruptions can often generate attractive buying opportunities.