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President Trump Signs Executive Order Promoting Agriculture And Rural Prosperity In America
President Trump signs an Executive Order in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on April 25, 2017 in Washington, DC.  Olivier Douliery—Pool/Getty Images

Jim Chanos on Donald Trump: Markets Are Already Pricing in President Pence

May 18, 2017

The rally following Donald Trump's election assumed that the new president would be able to enact pro-business policies.

But now that his presidency is being overcast by investigations and some calls for impeachment, investors may be wondering: why aren't stock markets reacting more strongly? After a 1% drop the day after former FBI Director James Comey controversy-inducing memo about the Michael Flynn investigation, the S&P 500 even rose back into the green Thursday.

Based on one popular theory, markets aren't reacting because investors don't see a high chance of impeachment — at least not yet. But according to another posited by famed short seller Jim Chanos over at Kynikos Associates on Thursday, markets are actually factoring in a potential impeachment. It's just that they're also factoring in the next step: a potentially more predictable replacement.

"I think they're beginning to factor [Pence] in, that's for sure," Chanos told Axios at the SALT Conference in Las Vegas. "The markets are hoping for Vice President Pence to become President... a more stable person being able to enact a Republican agenda."

It might however be worth noting that Chanos has generally contributed to Democratic candidates in at least the past five years. Though ahead of the most recent presidential elections, Chanos said he'd write in his own candidate instead of voting for Hillary Clinton.

At any rate, any impeachment proceedings are likely to be lengthy, and difficult to initiate.

"Categorical proof of an intent to obstruct justice is not easily proven, in particular in the political arena," noted a team of Evercore ISI analysts in a Wednesday note. "There is a very high bar for initiating proceedings against a president whose popularity among the Republican base has only eroded slightly to date."

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