Sixteen. That’s the number of Republican presidential candidates who ended their campaigns since last summer, leaving only businessman Donald J. Trump as the presumptive GOP nominee. Love him or hate him, it’s time to come to terms with the reality that Trump’s name will likely be appearing on the ballot in November.
As a money manager, I’ve always said that it’s the policies and not the party that matter. So it is with Trump. Many of his proposed policies certainly bode well for the market, including lowering taxes and scrapping needless regulations that slow business growth. Like his former rival for the GOP nomination, Ted Cruz, he has expressed support for a return to the gold standard and reportedly owns between $100,000 and $200,000 in gold bullion. In 2011, he even accepted a 32-ounce bar of gold as a deposit from a Trump Tower tenant.
However, as I told Kitco last week, I believe investors’ fears of a socialist Bernie Sanders presidency, not to mention negative interest rates, have driven a lot of gold’s recent momentum, more so than the idea of a Trump presidency.
At the same time, Trump has taken positions that should concern investors. Besides exhibiting a volatile temperament and leadership style, he’s been a harsh critic of free trade agreements and has made clear his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which aims to eliminate up to 18,000 tariffs among 12 participating countries. Andy Laperriere, head of policy research at Cornerstone Macro, believes Trump’s trade agenda could even pose some risks to American multinationals, especially those dealing with Mexico and China, and the U.S. dollar.
Plus, there’s the troubling comment he made last week on CNBC, proclaiming himself “the king of debt,”before adding: “I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal. And if the economy was good, it was good. So therefore you can’t lose.”
So What Are The Odds, Really?
The cards are markedly stacked against Trump when it comes to winning in November. Most national polls show Hillary Clinton beating him in the general election, even though she is nearly as unfavorable to registered voters, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey. Renaissance Macro Research calls Trump’s “net negatives prohibitively high.” And as I shared with you way back in August of last year, Moody’s Analytic s forecasts a win for the Democratic nominee, whether that’s Clinton or someone else. Since 1980, Moody’s sophisticated election model has accurately predicted the outcome of every single contest, and in 2012 it even nailed the Electoral College vote.
Trump still has quite a lot of support in the financial industry. A Financial Advisor poll found that a little over 50 percent of respondents say Trump will win the White House, while nearly 37 percent say Clinton. Doubleline Capital founder Jeff Gundlach also believes Trump will be the victor, arguing that in the short term, this would be positive for the U.S. economy. The New York billionaire, Gundlach points out, has promised to build up the military and initiate an infrastructure program.
Whomever voters end up electing in November, there will be winners and losers. Again, what’s important to look at are the policies because they’re precursors to change. We’ll be watching the events as they unfold closely and adjusting our allocations accordingly.