Market Overview

Trump Says He Doesn't Watch The Stock Market — Here's Why That's A Lie

Trump Says He Doesn't Watch The Stock Market — Here's Why That's A Lie

The Dow dropped 450 points on Tuesday and the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) was down 1.1% after President Donald Trump said he may choose to wait until after the 2020 election to strike a trade deal with China. At a NATO summit in London, Trump said Tuesday’s market drop is “peanuts,” and said he doesn’t even watch the stock market.

Tariff Deadline Imminent

Trump’s initial comments suggest the president is willing to move forward with a new round of trade war tariffs on China set to go into effect on Dec. 15 that could apply further pressure to U.S. corporate earnings.

“In some ways, I think it is better to wait until after the election if you want to know the truth,” Trump said.

When asked about the negative market reaction, Trump said he doesn’t watch daily market moves.

“If the stock market goes up or down: I don’t watch the stock market. I watch jobs. Jobs are what I watch,” Trump said.

Critics were quick to point out how often Trump has tweeted about the stock market within hours of large market moves.

Trump’s Market Performance

Despite Tuesday’s pullback, the stock market has performed very well overall since Trump was elected, and many of the big gains came following the 2017 Republican corporate tax cuts.

In the first three years since Trump was elected, the S&P 500 total return, adjusted for inflation, was 44.3%. That return is fourth best among the last 14 presidents, but it’s well short of the 77.1% market gain in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first three years. The market gained 25.1% in the three years following President Obama’s election.

If the starting point is moved from Election Day to Inauguration Day, the S&P 500 has gained 38.3% under Trump compared to a 43.9% gain under Obama at the same point in their respective first terms.

Benzinga’s Take

Trump may have been emboldened to rattle the markets with his comments after a new poll revealed his conservative base of voters appears as committed as ever. A new Economist/YouGov poll found that 53% of Republicans believe Trump has been a better president than Abraham Lincoln.

Do you agree with this take? Email with your thoughts.

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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore


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