As 2017’s roaring bull market gives way to a markedly choppier 2018, the buzz among Wall Street stock touts is that the best of the Trump Trade has passed. Sure, more gains could be wrung out, and probably will be, but nothing like the 30% burst over the past 16 months.
Don’t try to tell that to the true believers in San Angelo, Texas. Or Covington, Louisiana. Or Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They’re sure this rally has just begun, and they’re sure they know why.
“I hear it every day,” said Jimmy Freeman, a financial advisor at Edward Jones in San Angelo, a city of some 100,000 that’s just east of the booming Permian Basin shale oil fields. “The market’s going up because of Trump. They all think it’s Trump.”
Across middle America, in the towns big and small that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, his most ardent, and financially comfortable, backers are opening stock-market accounts or beefing up existing ones, according to interviews with more than a dozen advisors and brokers.
They were spurred on by a stream of presidential tweets crowing about, and taking credit for, the gains throughout 2017 and they remain undaunted now as the rally sputters and the tweeting dissipates.
“It has really made a difference in attitudes,” said Jimmy Waggoner, an investment advisor with VisionPoint Advisory Group in Sioux Falls. So much so that in Covington, Rob Smith, an advisor at Edward Jones there, said he tries to tap down on the enthusiasm. “I dissuade people from thinking any specific politician or even event will have that much of a long-term positive or negative effect on markets.”
They’re not inclined to listen. To those who study market psychology, it’s no stretch that passionate belief in a president would translate into throwing money on the table. Particularly this president, with whom his admirers have a strong bond.
“There’s a feeling of identity with Trump,” said Nobel laureate Robert Shiller, an economics professor at Yale University. “The man they identify with is in power and that’s exhilarating.”