Trump has won the US presidency; a surprise to many, but the polls were narrowing all the way to election day.
So often, we find the least expected outcome in life is the thing that actually happens. I notice it in the stock market, for instance. Many times the market moves to confound the majority. If most investors expect the market to rise, it falls; if investors expect falls, it rises, and so on.
Just like Brexit?
Look no further than the FTSE 100 after the Brexit referendum for evidence. Many feared financial Armageddon, as the London markets would surely collapse. In the event, many shares in the Footsie have done well this year, confounding the worriers.
What will happen in the markets now, though? I hope there’s a big sell-off, which will give long-term investors an opportunity to buy more shares in good-quality companies that have decent prospects for the years ahead.
The US under Trump will likely not be as bad as the world seems to fear, an outcome that could end up being another example of how events can confound the majority. He may even make a decent job of the role. His speeches are already beginning to sound more presidential and less hillbilly. I found his victory speech to be conciliatory and uplifting, and he delivered it in calm, even, matter-of-fact tones. To me, he had the air of a man who is intimately familiar with what it takes to get things done in the real world , and he probably has a deep knowledge of how his own abilities and weaknesses measure up to the task ahead.
In investing parlance, I reckon Donald Trump is poised to surprise on the upside. He is an experienced businessman and will probably run a tight ship. Arguably, the world needs a move away from career politicians towards leadership from people with real-world experience.
I had been worried for some time that politicians in the UK increasingly seemed to have no experience of working life other than being politicians. We could say that career politicians are “institutionalised”, moving from school to university, then from university to the houses of parliament.
We could also argue that the state-funded salaries MP’s receive are unrealistic when compared to the wages that many employees and small business owners get in the private sector. MP’s salaries are also protected from economic pressures, lending a level of financial security to the role of a career politician that could end up distorting their view of events in the country, its economy and the wider world.
Such factors are among the drivers of the historic Brexit and Trump movements, I reckon. However, ten years from now I bet it will be difficult to detect the effect of either event on the stock market charts. Business will carry on and there’s a good chance that many things will be better than they were before, especially if we get better politicians from now on. I expect markets to normalise over time and any weakness now is a buying opportunity for investors like me who focus on owning shares in firms with great businesses for the long term.