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Political risks have risen, but remain contained

With fresh US tariffs on steel and aluminum and the possibility of broader curbs on Chinese imports, fears of a trade war have escalated. But country exemptions, limited retaliation thus far, and a new regional trade deal may help slow the pace of protectionism. Our base case is that a full scale trade war will be avoided, but escalation remains a threat and investors may want to consider measures to ensure they are adequately diversified against the risk case.

Entering choppier waters

Investors who kept calm, stayed invested, and rebalanced through the recent correction look set to be rewarded in a month that highlighted the difficulty, and potential costs, of trying to time the market. The worst week since 2016 was followed by the best week since 2015, and global equities are now just about 5% short of their all-time highs. Investors who sold out any more than three weeks too early and bought back any more than a week too late would still be worse off than a buy-and-hold investor.

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