With the embers of Donald Trump's bonfire night effigy no doubt still smoldering, the eyes of the world will be focused this week on the outcome of the US Presidential election. The result could have far reaching implications for the global economy, yet for most outsiders the election campaign has resembled a villain-filled pantomime, with both contenders seeking to discredit and embarrass the other in equal measure. Indeed, the candidates' policies (?) appear to have been entirely lost amidst the mud-slinging in an increasingly polarizing campaign. Yet for those of us who love a good conspiracy theory, The Donald has provided no end of bizarre entertainment. Trump has promoted conspiracy theories on everything from immigration to President Obama's birthplace. He derailed his Republican Presidential rival, Ted Cruz, by linking his father with the assassination of JFK and has even gone as far as implicating Hillary Clinton in a White House murder plot! His tactics have, in the understated words of a group of prominent US economists, "lowered the seriousness of the national dialogue". Trump claims it will be a conspiracy if he doesn't win. The world is holding its breath.
Amidst the continued uncertainty over the UK's Brexit path and a disputed High Court ruling that only Parliament has the authority to trigger Article 50, data released by the Investment Association has shown that September was the best month this year for retail property funds, as investors regained confidence following the referendum. Of the retail funds that remained closed in September, M&G's Property Portfolio Fund, Henderson's UK Property PAIF and Standard Life's UK Real Estate Fund have all since re-opened. How these funds will now choose to invest their new inflows will likely depend on how safely Theresa May manages to navigate the Brexit tightrope. For now she is "confidently" taking the legal battle to the Supreme Court on Article 50 and has roundly dismissed calls for a General Election. Nigel Farage on the other hand has smelt (you guessed it) "a conspiracy" and has warned of a "revolution" if Parliament blocks Brexit. All reassuring rhetoric for investors!
In another twist in the long running and sorry dispute between Southern Rail and the RMT Union, it was announced this week that its members will be on strike from December 22 until Christmas Day and again from New Year's Eve until January 03. So is this a plan to cause maximum Christmas and New Year misery for commuters and Christmas shoppers, or is it simply a convenient excuse for the strikers to extend their festive holiday and enjoy a good New Year's Eve knees-up? After all no driver, nor train guard wants to be stuck somewhere between East Croydon and Three Bridges as we welcome in 2017! So who is the real winner in all this? Amazon, of course, whose own drivers will be busy ferrying last minute Christmas parcels to everyone stranded at home and unable to get to the shops!