We’re in an era of truly incredible uncertainty, and I say that as someone who tries to avoid the overused word “incredible.” It’s Latin for unbelievable, but the word is mostly applied by overwrought speakers and writers to things that are not in fact genuinely unbelievable. If you doubt that recent events have been literally incredible, though, ask yourself if you would have believed someone who told you, just a few weeks in advance…
-…that Donald Trump would be elected president. This example is obvious, but we need to remind ourselves that many of Trump’s most ardent supporters didn’t think he’d actually win. An unnamed senior adviser told CNN on election night, “It would take a miracle for us to win.” In other words, even Team Trump didn’t believe it just hours before it happened.
-…that U.S. stocks would rocket on the news. Virtually every mainstream economist agreed that exactly the opposite would happen, and with good reason. During the summer, with a Hillary Clinton victory looking certain, stock market averages roared ahead; the S&P gained 9% from late June to Labor Day. Bizarrely, even the market itself didn’t believe it until it did believe it.
…that Tiffany & Co. would suffer from a Trump victory. Surely the effect would be just the opposite, right? Expensive jewelry fits right into the sensibility the president-elect tries to create. This is a guy who named his younger daughter Tiffany. But Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store in Manhattan is Trump Tower’s next-door neighbor, and we learned yesterday from an SEC filing that all the security and demonstrations outside the soon-to-be Fifth Avenue White House are damping sales.
I don’t know if it’s sunspots or what, but 2016 could go down in history as a wonder-year like 1968, a time when Britain left Europe, Trump won the presidency, Apple’s revenues declined, Brad and Angelina broke up, and the world turned upside down. A literally incredible year. And if you don’t believe me, just ask the Chicago Cubs.
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