Markets may temporarily wane if President Trump were impeached but would almost certainly recover, finance experts said Thursday, disputing the president’s assertion during a Fox News interview last month that stocks would crash and “everybody would be very poor.”
“Markets did not crash when President Clinton was impeached, so it’s not obvious they would crash if Trump is impeached,” said John H. Cochrane, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a right-leaning think tank. “Impeachment would mean that we just sit and yell at each other for a couple of years. Markets respond to economics. If the economy is going well, markets will do fine. If you are worried about crashes, worry about something financial or economic going wrong very suddenly.”
Trump has repeatedly touted the stock market’s rise as one of the cornerstones of his administration’s success. The S&P 500 is up 40 percent, including dividends, since Trump was elected Nov. 8, 2016, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst with S&P Dow Jones Indices. U.S. stock markets recently celebrated the longest bull market in history, by some measurements. They have accounted for 66.5 percent of the global stock gains since the election, even as they make up 54 percent of that world market.
“That speaks to where money managers are willing to put their money,” Silverblatt said. “Given the safety and projection of U.S. markets, the preference is the U.S.A.”
The rise during 2018 has been more dramatic, with the U.S. market up $2.01 trillion year to date while markets outside the United States have lost $2 trillion in value. Before the election, most market watchers did not predict that a Trump presidency would have such a positive effect on markets.
David Kass, a finance professor at the University of Maryland, said the market may take a temporary dip if Trump’s presidency is endangered, but he sees a swift rebound because the administration’s pro-business policies will probably continue.
“If the Trump presidency should be at risk, the market will initially drop because of uncertainty,” Kass said. “But current policies such as the corporate tax reform and deregulation will remain in place. Monetary policy would be unaffected. Corporate profits will continue to grow at their current pace. Confidence would return to the markets.”
The economy grew at an annual rate of 4.1 percent during the second quarter, and some estimates put the third quarter growth rate at a 4.3 percent annual clip.
The Trump administration has taken victory laps over the current positive economic news, citing the corporate tax cut, deregulation and a pro-business stance as drivers behind the strong economy.
Economists have credited the Federal Reserve’s decade-long easy-money policy and low energy prices as big fuel boosts to the bull market.
“We doubt that capital markets would collapse if President Trump’s administration was endangered, either electorally or indeed legally,” William Hobbs, head of investment strategy at Barclays Investment Solutions in London, said in a blog post published Thursday by Bloomberg News. “The forward momentum of the world economy, and therefore its capital markets, has little to do with the actions of the White House, past, present or future, in our opinion.”
Larry Kudlow, Trump’s chief White House economic adviser, said in an interview with CNBC last month: “The economy’s everything when it comes to markets and confidence, and I think that markets frankly look through all these various political issues. The markets have done a good job.”