The global financial markets are still buzzing after the surprise election of Donald Trump to the US presidency. The GOP candidate, who ran a decidedly anti-establishment campaign, easily swept to power on November 8 in an uncontested election that saw many former blue states turn red. Several weeks later, investors are still puzzling about what a Trump presidency will mean for the markets.
Trump campaigned successfully on the slogan “Make America Great Again.” These words had a clear economic message: rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, lower regulation and reduce taxes. The message wasn’t lost on investors, who became surprisingly upbeat after Trump’s election win, leading to a surge in global stock markets. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average set multiple record highs, while the other major stock indexes reversed post-Labour Day losses. Financials were by far the strongest performers, a clear sign that deregulation and lower taxes are expected to boost profitability for America’s largest banks.
The healthcare sector also outperformed, as Trump’s victory meant that a divisive Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have the opportunity to rein in prescription drug costs. A positive response from stock investors was somewhat surprising, given the market’s strong preference for Hillary Clinton- the so-called establishment candidate who was supposed to represent stability and a continuation of President Barack Obama’s economic policies. While investors could certainly change their opinion on Trump, there’s no question the first two weeks after his election played out much differently than what many had expected. For example, Citigroup predicted a 5% plunge in the S&P 500 if Trump prevailed. The large-cap index not only avoided a selloff, it closed within striking distance of its all-time high a week-and-a-half after the election.