House investigations into the President will pick up in May and won't be deterred by this report, according to the Head of the UBS US Office of Public Policy. (ddp)

Market reaction

Markets did not noticeably react to the release of the report intraday Thursday. During the course of the almost two year investigation into the Trump administration, Mueller's appointment and news of the launch of the inquiry was the only time markets exhibited a strong reaction related to the investigation, with the S&P 500 falling 1.8% in May 2017. It was one of the largest single-session drops of the year, but the impact was short-lived and the index rallied again to an all-time high the following week.

Investment view

As discussed in the POTUS 45 report on the investigations , CIO recommends against making any major investment decisions based on political forecasts or beliefs alone. Research has shown that political biases can significantly hamper investors’ ability to make prudent investment decisions . This can be particularly damaging when investors allow political disappointment or exuberance to shape their investment decisions.

As the Political Flux Simulator shows, political and geopolitical events—even the ones that have shaped history—have rarely overridden the economic and financial drivers of market returns. “Even though the Mueller report is not the end of this chapter in US political history, and congressional investigations will continue, we recommend expressing your political view with a vote, and not a trade,” says Justin Waring, Chief Investment Office (CIO) investment strategist.

Select report excerpts

"Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in the election interference activities," the report said.

On the matter of obstruction of justice, Mueller said in the report that he lacked confidence to clear President Donald Trump of obstruction and suggested Congress could take action on at least 10 instances where the president sought to interfere with the probe.

Read the redacted report here.

Head of the UBS US of Office of Public Policy John Savercool's immediate takeaways:

  • Predictable political spinning – The President and Republicans will declare a victory, while the Democrats will question the Attorney General's objectivity and insist on seeing an unredacted report, which many of them will in the next few days (certain chairs of committees will have access to the report without redactions).

  • From a policy standpoint and apart from the politics of the report, a bipartisan group of lawmakers will surely prioritize new sanctions on Russia as a response to those sections of the report that confirm Russia-connected influence on the 2016 presidential campaign. This has received less attention than the domestic politics connected to the report's conclusions but will be widely discussed on Capitol Hill when lawmakers return to session in 11 days. This could certainly provoke a new round of US-Russia tensions.

  • As we have said over the past few weeks, momentum for impeachment has slowed significantly, though some congressional Democrats still favor this course.

  • House investigations into the President will pick up in May and won't be deterred by this report. Since the Mueller report likely will not provide the needed fodder to advance impeachment, these members instead will turn to a wide range of investigations into the President, his finances, his family, his former businesses and his administration to determine whether there are improprieties. Investigative hearings will be launched by several House committees over the next few weeks and months and will be an ongoing focus for many House Democrats throughout the year in pursuit of a “smoking gun.” Democrats have lots of other areas outside of Mueller's scope that they want to investigate.

Main contributor: Wendy Mock

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