On Christmas Day 2018, roughly one year ago, President Trump provided the following market analysis:
“I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to buy. Really a great opportunity to buy.”
If you recall, the U.S. stock market was in freefall when Trump made these utterances. Between September 20, 2018 and Christmas Day 2018, the S&P 500 dropped 19.78 percent – within a hairline of an official bear market. What’s more, the S&P 500 was at a 20 month low.
The Donald, however, proved himself a “very stable genius.” For he pinpointed to the day, to the minute, the bottom of the late-2018 swoon. From Christmas Day 2018 to Christmas Day 2019, the S&P 500 rose over 36 percent.
Of course, hindsight’s always 2020. Buying the dip one year ago now seems so obvious. But, at the time, it required heavy conviction and intestinal fortitude.
Naturally, it’s easy to know the right thing to do after something has happened. Perhaps Trump deserves a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his prescient market call. More likely, he knew he had an ace up his sleeve…
After calling the CEOs of the six largest banks on December 23, 2018, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin convened a Christmas Eve call with the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets – i.e. the Plunge Protection Team (PPT). The purpose of the call was to discuss coordinated “efforts to assure normal market operations.”
Make of it what you will, 2019 was a fantastic year to buy the S&P 500. But what about 2020?