On the whole, European stock markets enjoyed a relatively strong week last week, as did the American stock market, and most indices across Asia. Still, while stock markets performed moderately well, there are numerous risks that could impact wealth managers and investors in the near future. From mixed economic indicators to the seemingly never ending terrorist attacks and political instability, wealth managers need to remain vigilant.
American President Donald Trump is back in the United States, wrapping up his first international tour. However, the after effect of his time in Europe lingers. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the time of Europe and the United States’ close alliance and shared future may be coming to an end. Trump himself lashed out at Germany and various other countries.
The so-called Paris Accords, drawn up to address global warming, was also pushed back into the spotlight. Trump has withdrawn the United States from the agreement. Some Americans allege that the Paris Accords are actually a European plot to slow the American economy.
It’s a surprise that stock markets were actually able to shake off the combative exchanges. Yet if Merkel’s dire words prove to be true, expect not just Europe’s economy, but the global economy, to falter. Of course, the future is uncertain. Alarmingly, however, several current indicators also hint at potential troubles.
Waning Business Confidence Could Hurt European Stock Markets
European business confidence took an unexpected blow in May, slipping from a decade high. While confidence remains high, overall, the unexpected stumble could cause European stock markets to cool in the days ahead. Worryingly, the European Commission’s index of executive and consumer sentiments slipped to 109.2, cooling off from a ten year high. Economists had expected it to climb to 110.
Yet it’s not all bad news. Greece was able to avoid recession. Long a trouble spot within the European Union, Greece’s GDP rose by .4% in the first quarter. No, this growth is not substantial, but it’s far better than recession. Expect stock markets to react warmly to this news.
Finland’s economy also recorded its sixth straight quarter of growth. Finland has struggled a bit these past few years, so growth there could hint at growth across the region.
Continued Terrorist Attacks Promise More Instability
Of course, there is the elephant in the room. The continued spree of terrorist attacks across Europe could result in tighter immigration, more government snooping, and various other measures. It could also shake investor confidence and depress stock markets.
This isn’t to say that such measures aren’t warranted. Regardless, for wealth managers and investors, increased oversight could increase headaches. Look for increased Internet snooping, and tighter watches over money flows in the future.