US stock market posts gains in Trump’s first 100 days


For the first U.S. president with a business background, Donald Trump's first 100 days in the White House were full of hawkish comments but Wall Street still managed to post gains based on his utterances.

Amid unfulfilled campaign promises and an overly enthusiastic market response, it is fair to say investors see more in Trump's potential than his track record suggests.

Between Jan. 20 and April 28, the Dow Jones added 5.6 percent while the S&P 500 rose 4.9 percent and the NASDAQ soared 8.8 percent, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency.

This was mostly based on Trump's promises of spending $1 trillion on infrastructure, curbing regulation on finance and energy and lowering taxes on corporation and the middle class.

"[He's] a pro-growth president. He is a business president. We haven't had that forever," Steve Goldman, who heads the Goldman Management trading firm, told Anadolu Agency.

Trump's failures, on the other hand, such as failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and proposing to make sweeping reforms on visa regulations, caused losses for Wall Street.

The president's first major test was his speech given on March 28 to a joint session of Congress. He did not provide much details on his economic promises but his tone was generally regarded as positive.

The next day indexes in Wall Street broke records. The Dow rose to its all-time highest level of 21,115 points and the S&P reached its all-time record-high of 2,395. The Nasdaq also broke records by climbing above 5,904 but did not stop there.

- Failures cost investors

Trump's first significant obstacle came when he failed to repeal Obamacare.

Days before the Republicans' attempt to overturn former President Barack Obama's healthcare law on March 27, worries already began among investors whether Trump could deliver on his promises.

On March 21, Wall Street saw its worst performance since October 2016. The Dow fell 1.1 percent, the S&P lost 1.2 percent and the Nasdaq declined 1.8 percent.

Indexes continued their losses when House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan had to pull the bill that would have repealed Obamacare on March 24.

This was seen as a major defeat for the Republicans and increased anxiety whether Trump, who had no public office experience before his presidency, can pass legislation about the much-anticipated tax reform.

- Tax-cuts promises

When the White House announced on April 25 the Trump administration's tax plan would be revealed the next day, the Dow jumped 1.1 percent to 20,996 points and the S&P soared 0.6 percent to 2,388 points.

Both indexes reached their all-time highest levels. The Nasdaq also added 0.7 percent.

Gains in the stock market are "partly related to the expectations that taxes will be lowered for corporations ... that would help earnings improve. That's partly behind the rally," Goldman told Anadolu Agency.

Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin unveiled on April 26 that Trump's tax proposal plan would cut corporate tax to 15 percent from 35 percent and impose a one-time tax on U.S. companies' overseas profits.

Gary Cohn, Trump's chief economic advisor, said the number of total tax brackets would be lowered from seven to three -- 10, 25 and 35 percent brackets.

The plan, however, lacked details and was not perceived as promising enough by investors. As the Dow and the S&P posted losses, investors turned to stocks of technology companies and the Nasdaq. The index reached an all-time high last Thursday and climbed above the 6,100 points mark on Monday.

- Dollar losses; treasury yield declined

Trump previously said the dollar was too strong. He prefers it to be weaker so American firms can increase exports.

During Trump's first 100 days, the U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the value of the American dollar against the British pound, euro, Japanese yen, Canadian dollar, Swedish krona and Swiss franc, fell 1.8 percent, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency.

"Despite the [Federal Reserve] raising rates, the dollar is not so strong. We have been expecting stronger rates. That hasn't occurred. So, the dollar, subsequently, backed off," Goldman said.

The dollar lost 4.4 percent against the pound, 1.8 percent against the euro, 2.7 percent against the yen and 5.7 percent against the Turkish lira, between Jan. 20 and April 28.

Between those dates, the yield on 10-year treasury notes fell 7.2 percent. Gold, however, gained 5.3 percent.

- Oil prices fell

Although the dollar declined during Trump's first 100 days, one would assume that oil prices would increase with rising demand, since crude prices are indexed to the greenback.

Oil prices, however, decreased during that period, as analysts pointed to increasing oil production for 10 consecutive weeks in the U.S. and the oil-rig count rising for 15 weeks in a row.

Rising output in the U.S. worried investors that the glut of crude supply in the global oil market will not diminish even if OPEC and Russia decide to extend cutting their production levels into the second half of the year.

Between Jan. 20 and April 28, American benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell from $52.42 a barrel to $49.33 per barrel, posting a 5.9 percent loss. International Brent crude decreased from $55.49 per barrel to $51.73 a barrel -- a 6.8 percent decline.

Source: Anadolu Agency