02.16.2017
By John D'Antona

Traders Like Trump

The election of a non-establishment U.S. president and a healthier de-levered consumer are expected to push the economy and stock market higher this year.

That was the outlook presented to buy- and sell-side traders who attended this past weekend’s Security Traders Association of Florida’s annual conference in Miami. In prepared remarks, keynote speaker Yousef Abbasi, Global Market Strategist at Jones Trading said that the one-two combination of Trump’s anti-regulatory, pro-business leanings, a consumer who has much less debt than 10 years ago and savings can overcome higher interest rates and mediocre employment.

Yousef Abbasi, Jones Trading

“What’s next for the economy and the markets?” Abbasi asked. “We’ve priced in the potential for positive outcomes despite a few potential negative outcomes when it comes to public policy. We believe the U.S. consumer will turn a corner and surprise in 2017.”

And that surprise would be more spending, which Abbasi reminded constitutes 40% of GDP. In his analysis of demographics, he first looked at how the trend for younger members of work force could have the first significant positive economic impact in 2017.  As it stands now, workers in the 25 to 34 year old demographic – the household formation years –  can propel the markets higher.

“Existing home supply is at historically low levels – around 3.6 months,” Abbasi said. “Also, first-time home affordability is still good. All this points to household formation and spending to support the economy.”

Also, he noted that households have de-leveraged themselves more dramatically during this current recovery/expansion than any other post-recession period since WWI. In other words, debt is out of fashion.

“We have a significant savings rate here and that could jump start spending too,” Abbasi said. “Couple this with mild wage growth which won’t drive inflation higher. This looks like the proverbial ‘Goldilocks scenario’ where hourly wages are growing but not enough to cause the Fed to jump the gun.”

So where does Abbasi see consumer spending their savings and raises? On travel, accommodations and casual dining – all of which were sacrificed following the housing market crash.

And let’s not forget about ‘The Donald’. Abbasi said that following the November election and the “Trump Bump” bank stocks are up around 30% on calls for less regulation and an easing of capital requirements. President Trump has also called for more fiscal stimulus which has historically proven popular with both the market and population – think more infrastructure spending, tax cuts and tax code simplification. Remember Cash for Clunkers?

Also, with the Federal Reserve expected to raise rates three times this year, banks can expect improved returns on earnings and net interest margins. “When you look at this picture it leads us to see the potential for above trend GDP growth,” Abbasi said. ”There are consumer tailwinds which can push the economy forward.”

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