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Trump or Biden? Global equity markets to chart their own course: Analysts

As things stand, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump in five of the six battleground states
With Joe Biden picking India-born Kamala Harris as his running mate in the upcoming presidential elections in the US, most analysts say the outcome may not matter much in the long-term for most global equity markets, including India.

“I don’t think the consensus is that Trump will come back to power and that will be good for the market. In the US, there are very little policy levers that the government has for the stock markets apart from the interest rates. And that will continue irrespective of who will be the president," says Shankar Sharma, vice chairman & joint managing director at First Global.

The US markets, he believes, are built on the cocaine of low interest rates and this will continue going ahead as well. “US Government or President, unlike the emerging markets, including India, does not direct much business to companies. As long as interest rates are kept low, the bull market is a pretty well-oiled machine that keeps running, minor bumps notwithstanding,” Sharma said.

As things stand, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump in five of the six battleground states. Biden, according to a recent poll, is leading Trump nationally by six points – 50 per cent to 44 per cent – and by as much as 6 percentage points across five battleground states, reports suggest.

“President Trump may indeed be trailing Biden in domestic polls, but it is perhaps irrelevant who occupies the White House after November with both Republicans and Democrats eager to reduce their reliance on and engagement with China, just as many other Western countries are seeking to do the same,” says Jan Lambregts, managing director and global head of financial markets research at Rabobank International.

Liquidity rush

Given the impact Covid-19 pandemic had over global economy, analysts expect the global central banks, especially the US Federal Reserve (US Fed) to keep the liquidity tap open, which in turn is likely to keep equity markets buoyant. That said, the US – China strained relationship could see better days ahead, they say.

“As a practical businessman and self-pronounced deal maker, a re-elected Trump is more likely to focus on the practical reality of what China is – that is the second largest economy in the world. The Chinese leadership will understand the pre-election calculations of the Donald so they probably will be keeping an open mind on how a re-elected Trump would act,” wrote Christopher Wood, global head (equity strategy) at Jefferies in his recent weekly note to investors, GREED & fear.

Kamala Harris, the presumptive Democratic party's vice-presidential nominee, has already made her intentions clear with focus on job creation, climate change and building an affordable care act during her maiden speech after being named Biden’s running mate.

For U R Bhat, managing director at Dalton Capital, the fear of the unknown at a time when the world is grappling with Covid-19 pandemic in case Biden wins could unsettle the markets in the short-term. “We are yet to hear Biden on his views regarding foreign policy, likely trade relations with China and rest of the world, while Trump’s views are known. Though there may not be much deviation from the already chosen path in case Biden wins, a Trump win, on a relative basis, could be better for India and the global financial markets,” he says.

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