How seriously should people take Donald Trump’s claim that stocks would crash if he were kicked out of office? As you mull over an answer, consider what someone in the other party would say.
Maybe there’s a less subjective way to judge — with earnings estimates, perhaps, which have changed a lot during his presidency. Or maybe valuation. Neither is perfect, but nor is any quest for science in the stock market.
Before digging in, acknowledge that stocks have enjoyed unusually strong gains since Election Day, with the S&P 500 rising at an annualized rate of 20 percent, crushing the historical return of 9.4 percent since 1927. At the same time, note the Trump return is only about 1 percentage point higher than the yearly gain since March 2009, an era mostly overseen by Barack Obama.
Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda Corp. in London:
“The market isn’t hinging on anything substantial that hasn’t already been carried through. The markets have largely rallied on tax reform and we’ve seen that reflected in company earnings. But if there’s political instability and the U.S. economic growth slowed significantly, that would have global implications.”
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