3 Horrific Risks to the Stock Market in 2017


A number of events, analysts say, could quickly trip up the post-election surge in U.S. stocks.

“The market is wading through all the negatives of his campaign, and (economic growth) is what we are focused on,” she said. “But if history is any guide, the honeymoon always ends.”

Here are the possible events that could give investors pause:

1. Disappointment in Trump

The first test will likely come in January, when Trump is inaugurated as president and investors look for the government to follow through on promised tax cuts, infrastructure spending and deregulation. Hopes for those policies have spurred both the large-cap and small-cap indexes to record highs in the last few weeks.

“On some level, investors are flying a little blind … We are in many cases speculating about the details,” said Ron Temple, co-head of multi asset and head of U.S. equity at Lazard Asset Management.

It’s “reasonable to expect a bit of a pause as people realize we do not know the details of the tax plan,” Temple said, adding that he is generally optimistic on the backdrop for stocks.

Republicans will have control of both chambers of Congress as Trump begins his presidency, raising hopes that his proposals will be enacted.

2. A loss of momentum

As stocks have unrelentingly pushed higher since the election, traders have pointed to support from positive momentum in one of the best months of the year for stocks. A concern would be if an event triggers a turnaround in sentiment, especially as confidence has climbed to multi-month highs.

“Confidence is very, very short lived … If something occurs in the next couple months, we could see confidence wane quickly,” said Lance Roberts, chief investment strategist at advisory firm Clarity Financial.

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index leaped past expectations Friday to its highest since January 2015. Citi’s U.S. economic surprise index has also been on the rise since late October.

“I do believe President-elect Trump’s goal is to grow out the economy,” Temple said. “Unfortunately the approach of negotiating via Twitter is somewhat the opposite of that tactic … I do worry that governing by Twitter is problematic, a sub-optimal approach to governing and (inspiring) confidence.”

Since the election, Trump has used Twitter to attack companies such as Lockheed Martin and to take a tough line on U.S. relations with China.

3. A rising dollar

Following the election, the U.S. dollar index jumped to its highest in more than a decade, raising concerns for U.S. firms that sell products overseas.

Companies often blamed the strong greenback for poor earnings of the last few quarters. A stronger dollar also makes it more expensive for many emerging market countries to pay back dollar-denominated debt.

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