Stocktake: Trump unimpressed by market warnings

While David Tepper and Stanley Druckenmiller are cautious, the US president is still the stock market’s biggest cheerleader

Big-name investors are often quick to change their mind. Photograph:  Johannes Eisele / AFP

Big-name investors are often quick to change their mind. Photograph: Johannes Eisele / AFP

 

The warnings from David Tepper and Stanley Druckenmiller didn’t impress Donald Trump. “When the so-called ‘rich guys’ speak negatively about the market, you must always remember that some are betting big against it, and make a lot of money if it goes down,” he tweeted last Wednesday. “Then they go positive, get big publicity, and make it going up. They get you both ways.” Trump’s ire is not surprising. He is the stock market’s biggest cheerleader and is unlikely to be a fan of Tepper, who prior to the US presidential election in 2016 complained that one of the candidates had “questionable judgment” while the other “may be demented, narcissistic and a scumbag”.

Still, it’s true to say that big-name investors are sometimes quick to change their mind. Tepper reduced his holdings of financial stocks in the third quarter of 2010, a period in which he appeared on CNBC arguing stocks looked set to rise.

In mid-2016, Druckenmiller warned the bull market was “exhausted” and that it was time to buy gold and “get out” of stocks, only to sell all his gold and buy equities following Trump’s election victory in November 2016. Famously, Druckenmiller was buying stocks on the Friday prior to Black Monday in October 1987, before changing his mind over the weekend and profiting as stocks tanked the following week. He was similarly agile during the dotcom bubble and bust, changing his mind in response to market swings. Right now, Tepper and Druckenmiller are cautious, but that may change if circumstances change; many on Wall Street are nothing if not flexible.

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