Throughout October, all eyes were on the build-up to the US election. Markets broadly followed the ebbs and flows of each candidate’s campaign momentum. As such the announcement that the FBI was to re- open its investigation into then candidate Hillary Clinton’s email account led to a wave of risk adverseness and portfolio hedging throughout global markets. The S&P 500 index lost 1.9% over the month, whilst European stocks lost 1.0%.
The UK was an outlier, gaining 0.9% in sterling terms, although this was largely due to the pound depreciating by 5.6% versus the US dollar over the month. This happened after the UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement that Article 50 would be triggered before March next year, along with general mutterings of an inevitable ‘hard’ Brexit. Since then however, the UK High Court’s ruling that parliament must vote in favour of triggering Article 50, as well as the surprising result of the aforementioned US election, has helped sterling recover from early month lows of USD 1.21 to USD 1.26 as of time of writing.