Post-Election Markets: Temporary or Sustained Reaction?
November 11, 2016
As Donald Trump extended his lead against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton late Tuesday night, the markets responded negatively with the world’s stock markets declining by 2% to 5%. In the aftermath of a relatively soothing acceptance speech, however, with the president-elect noting his intention to be the president of all Americans, and furthermore to get along with all foreign allies, markets seemed to revert to a state of relative calm after the storm. Of course it will take time for global investors to digest exactly what a Trump presidency will mean for the U.S. economy and the global marketplace, rendering initial reactions unreliable; nevertheless, early indications suggest a more favorable result than initially expected. President-elect Trump has articulated more moderate goals of pro-business government policies, including reduced regulation, a reduced and simplified tax structure, as well as a large fiscal stimulus program centered on infrastructure investment.
Wrapping Up 2016
The market's second-round reaction appeared increasingly more favorable, or at least more reasonable, to the potential policies a Trump administration would represent. Coupled with a Republican-led Congress, however, the market, more importantly, appears increasingly optimistic that said policies may actually come to fruition, causing real and positive "change." It is important, nevertheless, to keep perspective amid the excitement of the election, as striking equilibrium in the market will take time. There are still many weeks of 2016 left with a number of data reports yet to be released. And, while businesses and investors are thinking of the longer-term gains, finding potential silver-linings of a Trump administration and buoying equity markets temporarily at the prospect of reduced costs and regulation, the underlying state of the economy will continue to reflect the lackluster fundamentals that have been well-established for years, including declining business investment and moderate consumer activity, which should remain the focus of the Fed.
Trump may have struck a chord with many Americans and corporate America in his call for change, but change will be slow to come and the effects will be slower still. In other words, don't expect the market's initial reaction of higher rates to stand the test of time. Furthermore, it is not justified to anticipate a sizable rebound in Q4 GDP, or even in the early stages of Trump's term, as a reflection of an anticipatory positive impact of "the largest tax cuts since Ronald Reagan," reduced regulation, and a full-press intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act.