Odds are you've seen the news, but if you're just getting up after watching the 2016 presidential election returns and didn't see the outcome, Candidate Donald Trump has become President elect Trump.
As the pundits analyzed and poured over election results, with Trump pulling ahead of Secretary Clinton, we quickly saw domestic futures fall, the Mexican peso drop and international markets crumble on the realization that Trump was poised to upset polls and other expectations to win the 2016 election. At one point in the wee early hours of the morning, when it was looking like Clinton would have to sweep all seven outstanding states to get to 270 electoral votes, Dow Jones Futures were down more than 800 points with the S&P 500 futures off more than 4.5%.
Over the last several hours as President-elect Trump gave an acceptance speech that included "We have a great economic plan. We will double our growth and have the strongest economy anywhere in the world. At the same time, we will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will be. We will have great relationships. We expect to have great, great relationships."
Those comments combined with his conciliatory tone towards Hillary Clinton, commenting on how the United States owes her a debt of gratitude, and his request that those who did not support him now offer him their advice, helped calm the market as Dow Futures "recovered", down 345 points around 7:30 AM with S&P futures down 2% and Nasdaq futures down 2.4%.
As Chris shared with Larry King on RT's election coverage, the market had expected Secretary Clinton to win the election and the selloff last night and still this morning reflects the uncertainty over exactly what a Trump White House will mean across a number of fronts. Pretty much, "Holy cow! Trump did it. Now what?"
Looking at the electoral map, one has to think that after 10 years of stagnant jobs wages and economic growth amid crushing debt, Americans decided to take a chance on the outsider, try something different. In all fairness, this is also a return to the norm we've seen in American elections, whereby a president who terms out is replaced by the opposing party's Candidate and that opposing Candidate often gets more House and Senate seats. Despite all the commentary to the contrary, America still appears to swing back and forth across the center.
As we all know, the stock market and the economy abhor uncertainty, and at least for now the Trump win is going to raise more questions than provide answers concerning policy, trade, healthcare reform, tax rates and the like. Like a deer in the headlights that is unsure if that approaching car will swerve or not, so too is the market looking to see just how much Candidate Trump and President Trump differ.
Whenever the market is faced with such an unknown, and this is a fairly big one that will chart the course over the next four years, it defaults to shoot first, and ask questions later. More often than not and with 20/20 hindsight, it tends to result in a buying opportunity, especially for patient investors. We saw this following the Brexit vote, which was also very much unexpected.
What this calls for is calmer heads. That's exactly what we aim to be this morning and over the coming weeks as more details emerge from President-elect Trump on what his policies will be, who will fill out his cabinet, and just what his relationship will be with the Federal Reserve given his attacks on Chairwoman Janet Yellen. As those details emerge, odds are the market will start to recover. This should give us some opportunity to scale into well positioned companies as well as add new ones at better prices than we've seen over the last several weeks.
Will it be smooth sailing? Not likely, until Trump spells out his policies and even then, there is bound to be some indigestion. That will require some patience. Markets are in tumult today because the degree of confidence in estimating the difference between Candidate Trump and President Trump is larger than for any other presidential Candidate in modern history.
The markets' reaction hasn't been because the consensus view is that Trump will be bad for the economy and for stocks, but rather because uncertainty mean companies postpone investments until they have a clearer view into the future. While Trump's promises for deregulation and lower taxes would stimulate America's weak economy, protectionist-induced trade wars and reduced investment due to rising uncertainty would have the opposite effect.
With that, let's take a look at the likely impact of Candidate Trump:
- Pharmaceutical stocks will breathe a sigh of relief after the shellacking they have taken under Candidate Clinton and Sanders. Overnight shares of Mylan (MYL) and Pfizer (PFE) , two of the largest drugmakers in the U.S. rose more than 6% in pre-market trading. Even overseas drug companies such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi (SNY) were up around 3% on the news of a Trump victory.
- Hospital stocks will likely get hit as the combination of a Trump presidency and a full republican sweep of Congress means the Affordable Care Act has little chance for survival. This will likely be bullish for pharma but bearish for hospitals.
- In pre-market trading gunmakers Sturm Ruger & Company (RGR) rose 5.6% and Smith and Wesson (SWHC) gained just under 7%.
- The Mexican Peso fell to record lows, dropping as much as 12% and suffering its worst fall since the Tequila Crisis of 1994. The peso has become one of the single most volatile currencies over the past month as traders weighed the probabilities of a Trump victory and his acting on pledges to renegotiate NAFTA, which has transformed Mexico's exports. The jury is still out on that wall.
- Non-American industrial/manufacturing companies are getting hit hard as are global transports such as shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk based on Candidate Trump's promise for protectionist policy-making. Auto manufacturers such as Daimler (DDAIY) , BMW (BMWYY) , Volkswagen (VLKAY) , Toyota (TM) and Mazda (MZDAF) were down between 3% and 9% earlier this morning.
- Global banking is taking a hit as well. Given the U.S. accounts for around one quarter of world GDP, a move towards protectionist policies could further dampen already weak global trade, which would further weaken a weak global economy, putting further strain on banks that are struggling to cope with the level of non-performing loans.
- Oil companies are likely to have a much friendlier White House and Congress, but with today's depressed prices, that isn't likely to have a major impact immediately as the price of oil isn't exactly supply-constrained at the moment.
- Green energy stocks like SunPower Corp. (SPWR) are likely to take some hits as a Trump presidency is not nearly as green-friendly as a Candidate
- Defense-sector companies, such as Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Northrop Grumman (NOC) , will likely see a serious boost as Candidate Trump campaigned for 90,000 new soldiers and 75 new ships.
- Infrastructure spending is likely to get a boost from fiscal stimulus, which is a tailwind for companies such as Caterpillar (CAT) , Terex Corp. (TEX) and Granite Construction (GVA) , but the impact on those companies' bottom line isn't exactly straightforward when we combine that impact with the potential for trade wars given Candidate Trump's protectionist promises.
- Emerging markets, which are all near recent highs, will likely take hits if Candidate Trump was representative of President Trump's protectionist policies.
- Gold and the safety trades are likely to do well as investors flee risk assets until the dust settles and we get a better grasp on just who President Trump will be. Finally, if President Trump is anything like Candidate Trump when it comes to speak first, clarify later, increased volatility is here for the duration.
One of the immediate questions that is bound to jump into the limelight is what does the Trump win mean for the likelihood the Fed raises interest rates come December?
While the Fed signaled in its October FOMC statement that it would likely raise rates come December, the October Employment Report missed the mark and raised some doubts. With Trump yet to provide line-by-line, point-by-point policies, we suspect the Fed will take a pass once again come December, pushing the potential rate hike timetable out to its March 14-15, 2017 meeting. That meeting is well after Inauguration Day (Jan. 20, 2017) and leaves a window for President Trump to share his plans. Up until last night, the market had been pricing in a December rate hike, and the rising probability that this will once again pushed back is likely to be welcomed with open arms from investors.
Now, to roll up our sleeves and get back to work.
-- Lenore Hawkins contributed to the writing of this article.