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Post-Election Stock Market Insights

By: Dennis Fulmer
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Our colleague Lynn Hamilton, after a few recent road trips through the rural parts of the Midwest, commented that he had seen a lot of yard signs for Trump and almost none for Clinton.  This comment now looks prescient as Trump’s victory appears to have been driven by a strong turnout by working middle-class voters in rural counties across America.

These voters seem to reflect the sentiment of an unidentified country song with lyrics I remember as “I don’t know where I’m going, but I know what I’m leaving behind.”  They want to leave behind an ever-growing government that seems to benefit everyone else except them. 

Investors have a lot of uncertainty about where Trump is going as his policy details haven’t gone much beyond “I’ll make things much better.”  We think nervous investors should remain calm and be thankful our founding fathers designed our government to prevent drastic lurches in either direction.

The structure of the Senate has six-year terms which are staggered, so only one-third is up for election every two years.  This should dampen fears that Trump will make radical changes that could shock the economy.  

One area that businesses say hinders growth is the expanding amount of regulation, much of which has been put in place by executive action.  This shift in power from the legislative branch to the executive branch exceeds anything our founding fathers intended.  The courts have rebuked the executive branch several times, but that process works slowly.  We believe that, if Trump removes many of these executive orders, it could have beneficial effects on economic growth in 2017.  

The biggest potential negative is if Trump would start a trade war that would stifle growth around the world.  It is naïve to think the rust-belt factories of yesteryear will ever reopen, but we are mindful that nearly 20% of the manufactured products made in our home state of Ohio are exported.  We don’t know which campaign promises will turn into reality, but we think the glass is at least halffull, and investors should maintain a positive long-term outlook.    

 

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