NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.
The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.
2016 was a year full of unsettling headlines and subsequent market overreactions, in most cases soon reversed. This may be even more the case in 2017, where we will first have to cope with the implementation of key commitments made in 2016 (most obviously, Mr. Trump’s policy priorities and the triggering of Article 50 by the U.K. to commence the Brexit process). And there are a lot of other new possible disruptive factors too – ranging from elections in Europe, to the upcoming Chinese leadership reshuffle. An additional point to remember is that in the past monetary policy tightening cycles – as the US is now embarking on – have often led to periods of increased volatility. At the moment, market volatility also seems rather low for the level of global economic policy uncertainty. Investors will therefore need to distinguish between short-lived market overreactions (as happened, for example, after the Brexit referendum vote) and longer-term structural market shifts.
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The International Monetary Fund has warned that the deep uncertainty over Donald Trump’s economic policies exposes the global economy to big risks if US interest rates and the US dollar rise sharply, but it also offers potential growth benefits. The performance of the world economy and financial markets may hinge on whether the incoming US president embarks on a risky short-term spending spree that triggers negative global spill overs or implements sensible long-term reforms that deliver sustainable higher economic growth. Another source of potential volatility is the upcoming French, German and Dutch elections in 2017.
Continue reading below:Monthly-Notes-January-2017.pdf