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Dump Before Trump

By Nick Lanyi on October 31, 2016

The stock market didn’t like the latest October Surprise any more than Democrats did.

Last Friday there was a brief, but we think, unmistakable sign that investors overall prefer Hillary Clinton, who has pledged to maintain many of the policies of President Obama.  Or as Donald Trump once described them, “the job-killing, tax-raising, poverty-inducing” policies of President Obama.

On Friday the market sold off after the release of FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congressional leaders regarding emails related to Clinton’s private server.

The selloff was sharp, but hardly panicky. In fact, it was short-lived: the S&P 500 has climbed higher, fitfully, since Friday afternoon. As this is published on Monday afternoon, the market is flat.

Maybe the economic report released on Friday had something to do with the market comeback. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported real GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.9% in the third quarter—beating estimates of 2.5%. That showed the recovery may (these numbers often get revised) have moved from tepid to good. Before the Great Recession the average GDP was about 3%. 

And job growth and wage growth are also good, other fundamental signs investors take to heart.

Certainly we’re stomping the Eurozone, which is almost flat lined at 0.3%.

In any case, Friday’s quick-twitch reaction to bad news for Clinton indicates the fear many investors have of a Trump presidency. No matter what you think of him as a candidate, there’s no question that he is less predictable than past presidential nominees – and investors hate uncertainty.

That Wall Street has factored in a Clinton victory is confirmed by everyone from Citigroup predicting a Clinton victory with a 75% probability, to important prediction/betting markets, such as PredictIt, giving her a victory by a wide margin (though some have nudged down since the Comey letter).

And a September Wall Street Journal analysis of campaign donations showed that no Fortune 100 CEOs had donated to Trump’s campaign, while a third had supported Mitt Romney four years ago.

The market clearly has been treading water for weeks. It’s arguably overvalued and vulnerable to a selloff. Yet the better-than-expected economic growth and third-quarter earnings reports have kept stocks afloat.

So we think the smart money shouldn’t be shocked by a selloff on Wednesday, Nov. 9. In fact, we recommend raising some cash now for bargain-hunting in the days after the election.

And remember that stocks have risen during Democratic and Republican administrations, in all kinds of economic and political environments. There’s plenty of ways to make money even during corrections, bear markets and sideways markets. At Investing Daily we’re increasing our options recommendations to help our subscribers do just that. 

We think if there’s a post-election selloff next week, it likely won’t last long. Investors love to look at politics, but in the final analysis they look at individual opportunities and value them based on the underlying fundamentals.

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