With the Netherlands holding elections next week, followed by France, Germany and Italy soon after, Europe could be the next region in line post-election market shocks.
But political risks are probably overstated, says Richard Turnill, global chief investment strategist at BlackRock, in a weekly commentary. For instance, he points to polls suggesting a wide-margin loss for Marine Le Pen, the populist candidate in France.
He’s more worried about Italy’s shaky political outlook, where populist support is strong and majorities in parliament can be factious and fragile. It’s an outlook that should keep Italian bond spreads wider ahead of a late 2017 or early 2018 election.
For now, he sees upside for European stocks — but with volatility — as global reflation and stronger growth boost corporate earnings and ease some of the political jitters.
Turnill says he’s “neutral on European government bonds, as elections pose short-term downside risks, and we are growing more cautious on European credit. An easing of European political risk should result in higher yields globally, supporting our cautious stance on U.S. Treasuries.”
Current economic data reinforce evidence of a global reflationary trend, he says, with the U.S. ISM manufacturing PMI hitting a two-year high and China’s factory activity surveys beating expectations.
In addition to Europe, he likes Asia, emerging markets and Japan.
Financial sector reform and rising account surpluses are boons for China. “China’s economic transition is ongoing,” he says, “but we believe lower growth rates are priced in.” He adds: “We like India and selected Southeast Asian markets.”
For Japan, he cites a weaker yen, improving global growth and more shareholder-friendly corporate behaviour. For emerging markets, support includes improving corporate fundamentals and reasonable valuations.
Read the full commentary from BlackRock here.