Buffett Faults Trump Trade View, Says Markets Will Still Thrive

  • Stocks gain long-term no matter who is president, he says
  • ‘Instructor in chief’ is needed to tout trade benefits

Billionaire Warren Buffett, who supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, said he remains confident in the long-term prospects for equities after his candidate was defeated by Republican Donald Trump.

The stock market “will be higher in 10, 20, 30 years from now,” Buffett, 86, said in an interview broadcast Friday by CNN. “It would have been with Hillary, and it will be with Trump.”

Buffett became one of the richest people in the world by betting on U.S. businesses like insurers, utilities and a railroad, and said he expects them to thrive, even when politicians implement policies that he sees as counterproductive. He pointed to Trump’s plan to dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement as damaging to the economy in aggregate, even if increased imports did cost jobs in some U.S. regions.

“I think it’s a bad idea, a very bad idea, but I’m not going to say it will cause a recession,” said Buffett, the chairman of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. “Any time you start playing around with retaliatory-type trade things, it’s very likely that the other side is going to start playing too. That’s been the history.”

Buffett said that an “instructor-in-chief” is needed to sell the public on the benefits of increased international commerce. He also said that many Republicans in Congress support free trade deals, which could limit Trump’s chances of following through on his vows.

“This is not exclusive to Donald Trump,” Buffett said. “There are a lot of things in campaigns that don’t happen after an election."

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