Dec 19

Market Commentary- November 2016

by Robert Ryan

Markets in November

The campaign is finally over and Donald Trump won.  Markets respond to surprises and this result was one.  Tuesday night I, along with many others, anticipated a starkly negative response.  Yet, most, but not all, stocks went up and have generally stayed there.  Domestic small company stocks and value stocks responded big – up in the neighborhood of 15% for November.  On the other hand International stocks and especially stocks traded in Emerging Markets were off.  Bond yields shot up producing a drop in prices and negative bond returns for the month.  Surprising many, domestic markets seem to expect a Trump administration will be positive for stocks.

Expectations from a Trump Administration

Expectations about the future drive stock prices; surprises produce changes.  So, what’s the market expecting from the election of Donald Trump?  Here are some thoughts:

Expectations for increased government spending as well as tax cuts.  These changes could not only increase expected inflation, but also provide cover for the Fed to raise interest rates.  An increase in expected inflation explains the rise in bond yields producing a falloff in bond prices and negative returns.  Increases in domestic interest rates can drive up the value of the dollar, which helps to explain negative returns across international markets.

Expectations for an improved domestic manufacturing environment from a review of trade policy, immigration policy and globalization – “bringing back jobs”.  An expected improvement in basic industries would help to explain the sharp rise in stocks of smaller and value companies traded in U.S. Markets.  On the other hand, a more restrictive domestic trade policy is apt to hurt companies with stocks trading in Emerging Markets.

Expectations for a more benign regulatory environment, which is apt to have a positive impact on the stocks of most companies traded in domestic markets, especially those of large financial companies.  A portfolio of the largest U.S. banks was up 18% in November.

While these expectations produced positive environment for domestic stocks today, no doubt, there will be surprises along the way.  While the Republicans have both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, there are still Democrats.  Donald Trump has no clear mandate to implement given polices, except to upset the status quo.   No one knows what that means.  A more or less clean slate gives people the opportunity to make their own interpretation about how he will govern, which is apt to lead to disappointment as the future unfolds.  We’ll see.

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