With the threat of US President Donald Trump’s impeachment back this week investors are betting that the market could ultimately rally the way it did in the Clinton era.
The stock market ended trading in negative territory on Tuesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, concerning his recent interaction with Ukrainian President Voldomyr Zelensky.
Stocks shrugged off risks from the possible impeachment when a memo of Trump’s conversation with Zelensky did not show that Trump threatened to withhold aid from Ukraine.
Analysts say the House could impeach Trump, as it did with President Bill Clinton, but it is unlikely the Senate will go along with it.
“The Senate is just going to ignore it,” Jack Ablin, CIO at Cresset Wealth Advisors was cited as saying by CNBC. “It’s probably at worst a distraction. I really don’t think investors will take the risk of impeachment seriously at this point. If there’s really strong damning evidence, that’s a different matter.”
Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives, but immediately acquitted by the Senate in February 1999. The S&P 500 rallied 28 percent from January 1998, when the first reports of Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky emerged, through to the Senate acquittal, according to Bespoke.
“We look for markets to continue undergoing a mild risk-off episode as investors and traders digest the news that the impeachment investigation is underway. The 10-year Treasury has rallied very slightly – call it 1-2bps – since late Sep. 24, when the possibility of impeachment gathered steam,” said Michael Schumacher, rates strategy director at Wells Fargo.
“We guesstimate the ‘impeachment effect’ is good for another 5-10bps rally in 10s could happen,” he added. According to Schumacher, if Trump is cleared in an acquittal, the move could more than reverse.
“The 10-year Treasury yield rose about 50bps in less than two months from the date Mr. Clinton was impeached to the day the Senate acquitted him. A 50bps move seems too aggressive in the 2019 world of low yields, but we think a 20-25bps move could happen,” he said.
JPMorgan strategists said they would not change their overall investment recommendations (which are moderately cyclical) due to prior geopolitical and political impacts on business and profits.
They noted that further impacts on markets will be determined by what happens in three 2020 races, for the White House, Senate and House. The impeachment process could influence that depending on what happens.
“The range of scenarios won’t narrow until Democratic primaries in Q1/Q2 2020 make the Democratic nominee clearer. So, definitely an issue worth thinking about, but not an issue worth investing or hedging around yet,” the analysts said.
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