Did Xi, Macron & Merkel Make US Stocks Great Again?

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 9/26/2017 05:58:00 PM
It's probably not Trump, or Invader Zim for that matter, making the world economy great again.
There are any number of mysteries as to why US-listed stocks are reaching all-time highs early in the presidency of Donald Trump. As business media always explains, markets abhor uncertainty. With Trump you certainly have very little certainty. In trade, he's killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and threatens to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). For good measure, he's spoken about pulling out of the World Trade Organization (WTO) over his disdain for multilateralism. Nor has he delivered yet on massive tax cuts for corporations, so it makes you wonder what's buoying US stocks.

One argument is that Trump is simply coasting on favorable economic conditions his predecessor Barack Obama created Stateside. Another is that, actually, it was other global leaders responsible for creating such profitable conditions worldwide which attract investors. And, since S&P 500-listed companies derive about 43.2% of their revenues from outside the US, they are able to capitalize on improvements in the business climate elsewhere.

Sebastian Mallaby brings this argument forward by bluntly stating that it's other countries' leaders making American stocks great again and not Trump:
Last year, in the wake of President Trump’s election, financial markets took off on a wild sprint, apparently believing his promise to make America great again. Ten months later, the financiers are wiser: The president’s immigration clampdown alarms them; his divisive response to Charlottesville appalls them. Despite the heady expectations of this past winter, there has been no sign of an infrastructure plan; few expect serious tax reform given the bungling of health-care legislation, not to mention the sidelining of Gary Cohn, the tax plan’s chief Sherpa. And yet, as if by a miracle of levitation, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is still about a fifth above its level on the day of the election. What’s happening?

The short answer is that foreign leaders have done a surprisingly good job of making foreign countries great again. From Xi Jinping’s China to Emmanuel Macron’s France, politicians are delivering policies that businesses want. As a result, the world economy is growing faster than at any time since the post-crisis bump of 2010. The yuan and the euro have risen sharply against the dollar. A more competitive greenback and the prospect of strong exports have supported U.S. stock prices. A Chinese communist and a French technocrat have done more for American business than Trump has.
In the remainder of the op-ed, Mallaby goes into the specific actions the leaders of China, France, Germany and so on have taken to improve their countries' economic conditions--and the rest of the world economy as a result. I too am in the camp believing that US stocks are being buoyed by the rest of the world economy rather than by anything Trump has done. If anything else, American companies are doing well in spite of instead of because of his term. Ironically, his ineptitude is aiding corporations by pushing down the value of the dollar, making foreign earnings appear larger after converting them back to USD.