How To Trade A Trump Win

The financial text books and academia will tell you that stock markets tend to reflect investor views 6 to 9 months ahead of events. In financial ‘jargon monoxide’ it is said that stock markets ‘discount’ future events or, in main street terms, it’s a bet. It should also be said that this is real investment money taking a view. Bluntly, opinions are cheap, even worthless. So, when I read the frequent headlines about poor polling numbers for President Biden and a likely November election win for ‘The Accused’, Donald J Trump, my instant reaction is to check the ‘money view’. Polling responses are ‘free’ and we are now entering into that critical stock market focus period of 6-9 months ahead of a significant macroeconomic event. Real money should be starting to show its teeth and the latest financial indicators might surprise.

The Trump policy manifesto, aside from staying out of jail, is focused on four key messages for the GOP cult.

  1. The US is the largest importer in the world – the US Office of Trade Representative puts the annual import figure at $3.2 trillion (in 2022).  Trump has proposed a 10% across-the-board tariff on all imported goods which would have a seismic impact on all parts of the US economy and instantly add to inflation pressures.
  2. Immigration: Trump plans the detention and deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants while the economy is in full employment. This is another potential inflationary stimulus.
  3. As an undisguised (but curiously skirted around by US media) fan-boy of Orban and Putin, the Trump policy line is to cut off Ukrainian funding support and force a settlement with Russia. The implications for front line European nations like Poland, Finland and Estonia are enormous.
  4. Fossil fuels: Trump has made clear that the climate change crisis and sustainability initiatives of the Biden administration will be reversed, keeping the oil and gas industry happy….and paying into Trump-related coffers.


That’s the plan. And, the polls say Trump will win. However, financial markets don’t seem to believe it, or follow that probability with the obvious trades. Allow me to illustrate the point with a few trading examples.

Firstly, the import and immigration shockers in Trump’s policy golf bag should not just impact inflation but should also really spook the most important and intimidating market in the world – the bond market. And frankly, it’s not looking too fussed. The bond market and the Fed are still thinking – and trading – inflation (with the odd wobble like last week’s report) is on a glide path to 2-3% and will be accompanied by 3-6 interest rate cuts by the Fed going into 2025. For context, the global bond and debt markets are three times the size of the headline grabbing stock markets which dominate the first 29 pages (of 32) in the Financial Times. As we always say, the cost of money(rates) drives the prices of all financial assets. But, let’s humour the stock market followers…

Agent Orange seems pretty keen to throw Ukraine and NATO under the bus. So, one would have thought Poland would be terrified of being abandoned by the US while it acts as temporary home to 3 million Ukrainian refugees. In fact, a macro commentator who I hold in high esteem has recently asked the question as to how long before Poland requests or sources its own nuclear weapons for location on its sovereign territory? Terrifying stuff, but again financial markets are more sanguine about the Trump threat. Poland’s stock market – tracked by the $EPOL exchange traded fund (ETF) – was the best performing major country-specific stock index in 2023 – up an almost tech-like 50.8%. Furthermore, Poland’s benchmark index is chugging along at chirpy 3% gain year-to-date in 2024. And, Warsaw is not the only place defying the US polling forecasts.

Germany is not without its challenges but it has surpassed Japan as the world’s 3rd largest economy. This economic feat has been powered by the most formidable export engine ever seen and, again, would be hugely threatened by a Trump across-the-board 10% tariff on any company exporting to the US. Guess what? Germany’s stock market is hitting all-time-highs. Note, this is not even a country specific phenomenon. The US tech sector might be grabbing all the AI headlines but Europe’s own exporting superstars, nicknamed the “GRANOLAS” by Goldman Sachs, are absolutely flying and don’t seem to be catching any of this Trump (head)wind either. Clearly, investors are not betting on exporting chaos for these companies. In fact, we recently highlighted financial market excitement and the tech-like performance of these 11 companies in our new Private Portfolio Newsletter:

More strikingly, the Granolas have matched the 63% gain achieved by the US-based Magnificent 7 since January 2021, and paid out much higher dividends. Whoodathunk!! For the curious, and those holding pharma and medtech startups, here are the 11 names: LVMH, ASML, SAP, Nestle, Novo Nordisk, L’Oreal, Sanofi,  GSK, Roche, Novartis and Astra Zeneca.

Finally, climate and science denial might be very good news for the US oil and gas industry. However, even an almost-broke Trump knows that money talks. So, check out the US Oil & Gas sector represented by the exchange-traded-fund (ETF) known by the ticker “$XOP”. Stunningly, in a Ukraine crisis dominated energy market the US oil and gas sector has inched upwards by barely 4% since the beginning of 2023. For context, one could have earned a higher return by buying a risk-free US Treasury bond over the same period. In fact, US oil production levels are ironically rocketing toward 14 million barrel per day levels under Biden, or as “Honest Don” – no seriously he suggested this name – would say “like never before seen in history”. Go figure, or quiz the GOP!

That’s real money, investing (or not) in real outcomes in 6 to 9 months’ time and offers certain investors the biggest trading opportunity of a lifetime. The financial instruments referenced above are clearly trading at the ‘wrong prices’ if Trump is set to win the 2024 US Presidency in November. The ‘MAGA Trump Trade’ involves buying inflation-protection bonds (TIPs), buying oil and gas stocks, selling German and Polish stocks and exiting any property funds sensitive to increased inflation and higher interest rates. However, there is one tiny catch. You have to believe the polls and Trump. And….. remember neither has any money.





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