Turkish financial markets dismissed any long-term impact the Ankara terror attack would have, rallying on Monday. Investors are betting, if anything, the terror attack will only strengthen the resolve of Turkish authorities. Following the attack, there are signs that Western countries currently aiding terror groups in Syria in their fight against DAESH may begin to realize aiding terrorists is never a good option. While some NATO allies have publicly declared support for some PKK-aligned Kurdish-terror groups in Syria, aiding them with arms and cash, some may now appreciate that NATO member Turkey's civilians are being killed by the same groups and that a re-evaluation is necessary.
The BIST-100 benchmark equity index was in positive territory Monday afternoon, continuing a strong rally in which stocks are up nearly 15 percent in the last month. The Turkish lira, meanwhile, has also rallied nearly 5 percent in the last three weeks against the dollar on speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) will delay any rate increases for the foreseeable future. Coupled with decreasing inflation in Turkey, the abatement of Fed rate increases has spurred an inflow into Turkish debt and equity markets. Continued pressure in Europe and Asia has left Turkey one of a few lone countries with real growth and a harbor for foreign funds.
The European Central Bank's (ECB) decision to cut all policy rates while increasing its bond buyback program was also a major reason for flight from European markets and into Turkish markets. ECB Chairman Mario Draghi signaled a willingness by the ECB to do whatever it could to help the eurozone and broader EU return to pre-Great Recession levels. Unemployment in general and youth unemployment in particular have been continuing sources of apprehension for EU policymakers. While the northern states are insistent at keeping inflation in check, in this near deflationary state, the ECB is leaning more toward addressing the grievances of the southern states, who worry more about unemployment. To this end, the ECB will be pumping 20 billion more euros into debt markets per month, bringing the total package of ECB quantitative easing to 80 billion euros. Continued bond-buying will keep bond yields low and thus bond buyers may continue to look to Turkey as a destination for a real return on equity.
Today is perhaps the most important day in U.S. politics in decades as the two major parties may decide who their nominees for the U.S. presidency are. Although both Republican and Democratic races are close, a landslide win today would give any candidate the momentum to clinch the nomination. Even Senator Marco Rubio, who is currently in third place on the Republican side, may jump to second and more importantly may knock Ohio Governor John Kasich out of the race. A loss in Ohio for Kasich would most certainly end his nomination bid. A loss for Rubio in Florida would also most likely end his bid. A win for Rubio and a loss for Kasich is the recipe Rubio needs to keep going; however, at present, businessman Donald Trump looks like he may take Florida and come close to taking Ohio. In that scenario, Rubio and Kasich drop out and the Republican establishment is left between a rock and a hard place - the rock, Donald Trump and the hard place being Senator Ted Cruz, both the least two favorite candidates by "establishment candidates" and both slated to lose against Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
The rhetoric surrounding the presidential candidate's bids continues to be dominated by calls for protectionist economic policy. All candidates call for China to suspend its "manipulation" of its currency, the yuan, against the dollar. Nearly all call for increased tariffs on imports and tighter regulations for immigration into the U.S. Such anti-free market policies worry investors. If any of these candidates ultimately wins the U.S. presidency, American financial markets would suffer deeply. In this age of globalization, any bad news for the U.S. economy is largely bad news for the greater global economy.
By midnight Tuesday, less than 3 percent of the U.S. electorate will have decided where the country should be headed in the next four years. It appears the framers of the U.S. constitution predicted such potentially wild swings in policy and took steps to avoid any major changes. Only one-third of the U.S. Senate will change this year and thus a Trump, Sanders, Clinton or Cruz presidency will continue to answer to establishment representatives in the legislative branch. A new sun may rise Wednesday morning; we will have to wait and see.