Trump Win Set Off $2 Trillion Shock Rotation to Stocks From Debt

  • Median stock-market gain 2%, often overwhelmed by dollar rally
  • Anticipation of Trump reflation faces 2017 reality check

Lane: Tremendous Injection of Optimism in Markets

Donald Trump’s election win sent a $2 trillion shock wave through global markets over the past month.

That’s how much equities’ global market value has jumped. And that’s about the size of the loss in worth of the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index of bonds, over the worst month for global bonds in dollar terms on record. Other assets were roiled, too: the yen plunged the most in 21 years against the dollar. It all amounted to a complete reversal of the playbooks mapped out by a bevy of analysts and investors who had anticipated a Brexit-style rush for havens in the event of a surprise Republican presidential victory.

Those projections did pan out -- for about eight hours, when the yen and Treasuries advanced as the vote-count momentum favored Trump. Then the great reflationary rotation trade started, as Carl Icahn started snapping up S&P 500 futures and other investors decided that the likely new U.S. leader’s promises to cut taxes, boost spending and slash regulation would revive inflation and economic growth. Oh, and potentially force more aggressive interest-rate increases from the Federal Reserve.

How lasting a pattern the new market dynamics will be is an open question, with more than a month to go before Trump takes office and plenty of potential roadblocks to his fiscal and regulatory proposals in a fractious U.S. Congress. For now, eyes turn toward next week’s Fed meeting to set the tone for the outlook as far as monetary policy goes.

“It’s astounding how big the move has been,” said James Audiss, Sydney-based senior wealth manager at Shaw and Partners Ltd., which oversees about $7.5 billion. “It’s been incredible. Now it all hinges on the Fed and the pace of those rate hikes, but for now the markets are happy to be risk-on.”

The dollar has jumped to a decade high relative to major peers and three major U.S. stock indexes last month reached records on the same day for the first time in more than 20 years.

For stocks, most developed markets have surged while several emerging ones submerged, led by Ghana and Mexico. Russia and Venezuela soared, though that was more due to OPEC’s pact driving up oil prices. Of 94 primary stock indexes tracked by Bloomberg, more than two-thirds climbed in local currency terms, with a median gain of 2 percent.

The greenback’s strength -- and the U.S.’s size at $24.9 trillion out of a total $66.3 trillion -- makes for a slightly cloudier picture looking at equity values. Of the 20 largest markets, comprising 90 percent of world capitalization, seven declined in dollar value, but for five of them that was all down to currency shifts, measured through Dec. 6.

When it comes to bonds, only Bahrain and Russia eked out gains in the Bloomberg Barclays global benchmark, while the 20 largest national debt markets all recorded losses -- led by Japan and Mexico, each down more than 8 percent.

The question investors now face is: With so much change already priced in a month after Trump’s victory, how much more is there to come?

Icahn, once considered a potential for Trump’s cabinet, says he wouldn’t be a buyer right now, while acknowledging he thought the stock rally was looking stretched some time ago.

“The night that they knocked it down a thousand points I went and bought stock that night, I thought that was crazy,” he said Wednesday in an interview with Scarlet Fu and Oliver Renick on “Bloomberg Markets.” “I’m not going to say run out and buy stocks today, because I think it’s run a little ahead of where it should be.”

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