The stock markets are still going President Trump’s way.

Despite a disastrous record on COVID-19, not to mention the ‘black lives matter’ movement and international diplomacy (total lack of), the markets are helping him. US stocks have led the way again over this past month though it may be that the leadership within the market is changing.

Most international markets followed a similar pattern to the UK, drifting steadily down through the end of July as ‘second waves’ began to appear and governments pushed-back on re-opening plans, prior to a rally in early August, which left the UK 1.5% lower over the period. Not so the American markets, which tracked sideways through the latter part of July prior to an early August rally almost back to the February highs.

Leadership in US stocks was more nuanced this month, both the S&P 500 and NASDAQ being up around 4%. There are again some signs that a shift into more cyclical ‘value’ plays might be getting going at the expense of the ‘COVID winners’. Apple roared ahead after strong quarterly figures while Facebook also jumped after its figures and their statement that they are less dependent on their biggest advertisers than expected. Amazon is investing heavily in warehouse expansion, their stock cruised on, but Alphabet was less inspiring and they drifted down along with Microsoft, while Netflix fell back. Intel fell sharply after reporting production delays, in stark contrast to rival Advanced Micro Devices whose stock leapt 50%.

On this side of the Atlantic, the luxury goods companies, LVMH, Moncler, Kering et al were all down, while Daimler rose and VW held steady. It was quite surprising that the FTSE 100 wasn’t down more over the period as so many of the biggest constituents slipped back again, notably HSBC down 10% after reporting a halving in profits and depressing statement, Diageo down 8% after their figures and AstraZeneca down 5%. Big oil saw Royal Dutch down a further 5% but BP flat having not cut their dividend quite as much as feared. Unilever was the only bright spot in the FTSE 100 top ten after reporting bumper sales of cleaning products and ice creams.

Expect lots more rhetoric from Trump about the markets telling the ‘real’ story and how wealthy Americans are becoming thanks to him…

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