The Wall Street Journal headline says a lot by saying little: “U.S. Businesses Brace for Uncertainty” — even with the promise of reduced corporate income taxes in the offing under a Republican administration and Congress.
“Without real policy positions from [President-elect Donald J.] Trump, it’s very hard to understand what he’s going to do and if he has a plan in place,” Hal Sirkin, managing director at the Boston Consulting Group in Chicago, told Theo Francis and Andrew Tangel. “It could be a very big hassle to unwind all the treaties we have.”
Worldwide markets, meanwhile, responded with more alacrity — in both directions — but are trending back upwards early this morning.
“As the realization worked its way around the planet that Donald J. Trump would become next president of the United States, global investors reacted as if the world had caught fire,” wrote Peter S. Goodman for the New York Times. “They yanked their money from the marketplace in an unrestrained bout of selling reminiscent of the outbreak of war or a major terrorist attack.”
But the key word for the day may prove to be “volatile.”
“Conciliatory comments” from Trump “helped global stock markets erase a large chunk of their earlier losses,” report the Associated Press’ Pan Pylas and Kelvin Chan. “Investors appeared somewhat soothed by his victory speech, in which he praised [Hillary] Clinton and urged Americans to ‘come together as one united people’ after a deeply divisive campaign.”
“I love this country. America will no longer settle for anything less than the best ... We have a great economic plan, we will double our growth and have the strongest economy in the world,” Trump asserted in his speech around 3 a.m. ET, reports Marc Jones for Reuters.
“Vows by Trump that he would also forge strong relations with other big nations helped ease concerns of heavy tariffs being slapped on selling to the United States and starkly more aggressive geopolitical stance,” Jones continues.
Similarly, oil futures “were little changed in New York, reversing an earlier decline of 4.3%,” reportBloomberg’s Ben Sharple and Grant Smith. “Turbulence in financial markets calmed and a knee-jerk sell-off of risky assets abated as Trump, 70, promised to try to unite America’s divided political factions … .”
“The election’s outcome had traders around the globe scrambling for cover, said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group,” writes Victoria Craig for FOXBusiness after a lede also reporting that traders were paring losses in the wee hours of Wednesday morning after the results became official.
“His potential presidency brings with it many variables not yet priced into the economic narrative from trade, to trade pacts, to multi-national economic agreements, and mutual defense agreements,” according to Kenny.
“The market moves tell us that traders are worried, but don’t tell us much about how investors will fare under a President Trump. Market moves between Election Day and inauguration have had no obvious link to performance during presidential terms in the past, as data compiled by Birinyi Associates shows,” reports the WSJ’s James Macintosh, after reminding us that markets “have a tendency toward hyperbole.”
Then again, the market has been riding a seven-year uptick under President Obama, he points out, concluding: “For the longer run, high valuations and still-high profit margins mean stocks are likely to deliver pretty low returns, even in a good scenario,” putting a damper on the plans of a Boomer or two counting on their 401Ks for retirement.
The Mexican peso plunged to an all-time low against the dollar last night but was also rebounding this morning, the U.K.’s Telegraph reports.
“Companies with deep ties to Mexico — from Corona beer importer Constellation Brands Inc. to Ford Motor Co. and homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. — are bracing for fallout,” Bloomberg’s Matthew Townsend reports. Trump has, you’ll recall, promised “to build a wall along the southern border, deport millions of Hispanic immigrants, dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement and ignite a trade war with Mexico,” Townsend writes.
All that said, “much will still depend on how much of Trump’s incendiary rhetoric is reflected in the reality of his presidency,” comments James Moore in the U.K.’s The Independent. “The appointment of sensible advisors (so not Sarah Palin) and the president showing a willingness to listen to them would further calm nerves that still remain frayed.”
So there you have it. #Trumpocalypse may come and go, at least in the markets. But “volatile” and “hyperbolic” are probably going to be around for a while. Brace yourself.