PA ANALYSIS: Does snap election signal time to cut UK equities?

Added 19th April 2017

The murky state of UK politics is cementing wealth manager and asset allocator aversion to domestic equity markets, as exposures continue to shrink.

PA ANALYSIS: Does snap election signal time to cut UK equities?

Prime minister Theresa May received overwhelming support on Wednesday for her snap UK general election decision, as MPs voted in the House of Commons by 522 to 13 in favour.

One might take from that indications of greater alignment of those influencing the electorate, offering some much-craved certainty attached to UK plc.

While such a strong result is reassuring, it also represents a volte-face for May, given her promises upon taking residence at 10 Downing Street that no general election would take place before 2020.

In her statement yesterday, May conceded this: “I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion.

"Since I became prime minister I've said there should be no election until 2020, but now I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and security for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions we must take.”

Demonstrating a sense of leadership a long-time lacking in UK politics, arguably it shows her resolve and confidence in her chance of winning on 8 June.

The extent to which these sentiments are misguided, of course, remains to be seen.

Yet for UK wealth managers, these latest announcements seemingly just compound their reservations over the stability of the UK as speculation and guesswork abound.

John Husselbee, head of multi-asset at Liontrust Asset Management says: “The knee-jerk reaction to the snap UK election announced by Theresa May yesterday was a stronger pound and a weaker UK stock market.”

The FTSE 100 fell 2.5% on Tuesday – its worst single-day decline since the Brexit vote was revealed last summer.

He adds: “The suggestion here is that Brexit may be softer than current expectations.

“Once again however, we are wandering into speculation territory and run the risk of exposing ourselves to the dangers of listening to short-term noise rather than seeking a long-term signal.”

 

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