The stock market’s Trump bump rally is still pumping.
On Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose nearly 300 points to half a point below 19,550. The S&P 500 rose 29 points to 2,241.
The 1.6% one-day rise in the market caps a remarkable month-long run, much of it since Trump won the presidential election. On Nov. 4th, the Dow closed at 17,888. A little more than a month later, the Dow is up just nearly 1,700 points, or about 9%. If it were to continue at that pace for the next year, stocks would be up another 18,000 points by Christmas 2017—roughly double where the market is right now.
That’s not going to happen. And some are skeptical the Trump bump rally can continue at all.
On Tuesday, Bill Gross, the so-called Bond King, said Trump’s trade policies were sure to short-circuit parts of the economy and the market, and that his spending and tax plans will create more debt that will hurt long-term growth for years to come. Last month, a top Goldman Sachs strategist, Charles Himmelberg, predicted that the S&P 500 will end next year at 2,200, 40 points below where it is now.
But while an 18,000-point rise is not likely, it is plausible to expect that Trump’s incoming presidency could continue to keep pumping the market, at least for now. Here are three reasons why:
A rising tide lifts all boats. But in the stock market, that can be a bad thing. When all stocks start rising for no reason, you have to wonder whether Mr. Market is getting a little giddy. That’s not the case right now.
The stocks that are rising the most seem to be ones that will benefit from Trump’s policies. The President-elect has talked about a number of economic measures, but they all convey the same thing: boosting the amount of money in consumers’ pockets, mostly through tax cuts.
Once again, you saw the market reacting to that on Wednesday. The major sector up the most: consumer stocks. Shares of Nike (NKE) rose more than 3% on Wednesday. Retailer Home Depot’s shares (HD) were up nearly as much.
Another example: High-profile technology stocks have actually mostly sputtered since Trump won the election, though there are some signs of a pickup in the sector. On Wednesday, for instance, shares of troubled social media network Twitter were up by nearly 7%. Of course, the prospect of a constantly tweeting president could be a reason to buy the stock.
Trump’s Inflation Bump
Trump’s economic policies, in particular his talk of spending on government projects like infrastructure, seem bound to cause inflation, one of the biggest economic boogeymen.
But despite investors’ long-held fears, inflation is a pretty good place to be. That’s not to say that it’s great for markets. Stocks are based on the long-term value of a company’s earnings, and higher inflation means those long-term earnings will be worth less down the road. But next to bonds, stocks are by far the winners of inflation—and if anything, one could argue the economy in recent years has suffered from too little inflation, not too much.
What’s more, interest rates are likely to rise with inflation. Bank stocks, which would benefit the most from higher lending rates, have been among the best performers in the Trump bump.
Black Swan Migration
One of the big things holding down the market for the past few years has been a combination of uncertainty and fear. The financial crisis has made investors constant black swan watchers, but now investors have put down their swan-watching glasses.
The big Brexit vote was supposed to usher in a wave of stock market uneasiness. And stocks did drop for a day, before recovering fully by the end of the following week. A Trump victory was supposed to do the same, but stocks rose on Nov. 9. The VIX, commonly called the stock market’s fear gauge, has fallen to 12, about half of where it was back in July.
Of course, the recent quick rise in stocks could seem like it was setting the market up for a Trump slump. But taken in context, it might not seem as much as it is. At least some of the recent run is making up for lost time, where in the past year, the market has been up and down. Even with the most recent gain, the stock market is up just 55% over the past decade, or a compounded annual return of 4.5%. That’s a high historic return for stocks.
What’s more, the current forward price-to-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 is around 17, according to FactSet. That’s higher than the 10-year average of around 14.5. And analysts expect double-digit earnings growth next year, after a period when earnings have been slumping. So you would expect slightly elevated stock valuations, with or without President-elect Donald Trump.