In terms of Brexit, one would expect the Conservative Party manifesto to reiterate the message outlined by the Prime Minister in her Lancaster House speech and Article 50 letter. Meanwhile, the markets will focus on whether more detail is forthcoming during the election campaign. This is a Clean Brexit with the focus, then, on a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU.
The one thing is this election - if won by the Conservatives - provides more scope for a transitional deal, as the next election will likely be 2022 and not 2020 as previously thought. Financial markets will like that.
The outlook for sterling
The fall in sterling since last summer appeared justified, given the large current account deficit and the uncertainty associated with leaving the EU added to this. That being said, a solid performance by exporters, plus many firms announcing new investment into the UK, helped convince the market had found an attractive level. More recently, a combination of upward revisions for UK growth - the latest being from the IMF this week for 2017 - has led to a change in sentiment towards sterling.
In some respects we anticipated this, increasing the weight of sterling versus the euro in our portfolios last month. We had seen the downside for sterling as limited. The question - and the risk - is that the market pushes sterling even stronger in the near term.
Could an increased Conservative majority mean a ‘softer Brexit’?
One reason behind this is this perception that an increased Conservative majority will not only strengthen the PM's hand but also point to a ‘softer Brexit’ by making her less beholden to Euro-sceptics in her party. That may be a premature conclusion, especially as one of the reasons suggested for why the PM called a snap election was to stop her Brexit negotiations and Great Repeal Act being blocked by those who wanted to remain. All this is a few months away before being realised. Until then, the current mindset of the market is that a solid Conservative lead is sterling friendly.
Indeed, a solid government victory would normally be seen as positive for sterling.
The likelihood is that victory will strengthen the PM's position as it means policy cannot be blocked at home and Brussels cannot try and feed into a domestic blocking agenda. It does not make the EU any more conciliatory and so we should still expect uncertainty.
Can we trust the polls?
Finally, pollsters have been hopelessly wrong recently, so there is something rather strange about everyone trusting the recent opinion polls as an accurate guide to voting intentions. Nonetheless, they do, and markets will likely follow the gyrations of the polls.
While it is the longer-term impact on growth and performance that we try and take into account for our portfolios, we are also mindful of any impact on monetary policy. The election itself should not directly impact UK monetary policy, but if the result led to a stronger pound and to a greater future commitment to reduce the budget deficit then rates would likely stay lower for longer.