For Americans worried about their investments, U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a message at a rally in New Hampshire on Thursday: “Love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me.”
That’s a common refrain from a president who often pointed to Americans’ retirement savings plans as a metric for his success in the Oval Office.
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There do, however, remain questions about just how much Trump has affected the markets.
Trump was speaking at a rally at SNHU Arena in Manchester, N.H., when he started talking about stocks.
“The markets have gone through the roof since Nov. 9,” he told the crowd. Trump won the election on Nov. 8.
“I won the election, the markets went up thousands of points, things started happening. You started doing things that you would have never, even though I didn’t get sworn in until Jan. 20.”
Trump went on to say that if he hadn’t won the election, then “these markets would have crashed, and that’ll happen even more so in 2020,” he said.
“See, the bottom line is I know you like me, and this room is a lovefest, I know this, but you have no choice but to vote for me because your 401(k)s, down the tubes, everything’s going to be down the tubes.”
There’s plenty of debate as to how much influence the president himself has on the markets.
In early 2017, amid a surge in market activity, BMO chief economist David Porter said that “to some extent, you have to draw a line” connecting those trends to Trump.
However, he noted that “it’s not just President Trump but that Republicans swept all three layers of government.”
CNN has produced a graphic looking at how stocks have performed under every president, from Ronald Reagan through to Trump.
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The Trump presidency has indeed seen gains in the S&P 500, which has grown by 25 per cent since he took his place in the White House.
That’s good enough for fourth-best out of the six presidents since Reagan.
Of them, the stock markets performed best under Barack Obama up to this point in his presidency, gaining 46 per cent — but that was after a steep drop in the markets that coincided with the Great Recession while George W. Bush was president.
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Second best was the performance of stock under George H.W. Bush, when it grew by 35 per cent.
CNN noted that stock performance under Trump is roughly comparable to what it was under Bill Clinton up to this point — when he was president for 647 days, the S&P 500 had grown by 29 per cent.
Writing for NBC News, former AT&T Broadband CEO Leo Hindery Jr. said the U.S. is actually experiencing “stock market chaos” — he noted that stocks posted their worst performance of the year amid a U.S.-China row over tariffs.
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Hindery said this is apparent in the “inverted yield curve,” a trend that has seen the yield on 10-year bonds fall below the rate on two-year U.S. Treasury bonds.
He also noted U.S. unemployment, saying that U.S. Labor Bureau data suggests 6.1 million people are unemployed, the actual number is closer to 11.5 million when you consider people who are considered “marginally attached” or “discouraged” workers.
Trump is telling supporters that everything could go “down the tubes” if they don’t re-elect him.
If you ask another prominent voice, it appears the economy could be on the edge of doing that very thing.