The Trump “Bump” reached a new apex on the final day of November when the Dow Jones Industrial Average spiked 1.6 percent and surpassed the 24,000 mark for the first time. The S&P 500 also rose 1 percent and the Nasdaq a little less than 1 percent.1 The spike was further evidence of the rally that’s been underway since Trump’s election. The rally is based mostly on hope and optimism around the GOP tax bill, whose approval looked more likely on November 30 after Senator John McCain pledged his support.
It was another month of record highs for the stock market, whose laser focus on economic optimism continued to allow it to shrug off bad news and ominous headlines almost daily. A month that opened with lingering worries over North Korea and ended with another horrific terrorist attack in New York City also saw an escalation in the Russia investigation and more rifts between Trump and some Republican lawmakers.
Gains in technology stocks drove the S&P 500 to another record high on the last day of trading in September, although the Dow fell slightly. While it was another relatively calm month for the markets, we did see signs of nervousness creep in over everything from escalating tensions with North Korea to another Federal Reserve meeting.
For the most part, Wall Street continued clinging to its optimism over Donald Trump’s economic policies in August despite another tumultuous month for his administration. At the same time, we did see signs of worry creep in that Trump’s entire domestic agenda—including his tax plan—could be jeopardized by all the turmoil and distractions. Following the North Korea crisis and the fallout over Charlottesville, the Dow had its biggest one-day fall in over three months.1 We saw a similar slide back in March when Trump’s healthcare plan hit a brick wall. These are signs Wall Street knows it ultimately needs real reform to sustain its optimism, not just hope and promises.
July saw a continuation of the stock market’s disconnection from economic realities, and that trend reached new heights of irrationality in early August when the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 22,000 for the first time ever.1 As Wall Street cheered, Donald Trump quickly claimed credit for the milestone—in truth, the market has been on an emotion-fueled upward trend for more than eight years. Though Trump’s election did add more fuel to the rally, the reality is that corporate earnings and other economic indicators continue to lag far behind the overinflated market.