Have you ever plotted the first factor from a principal component analysis of the relative performance of small cap, banks and infrastructure stocks against the S&P500 and the ratio of muni yields to Treasury yields?
Sure you have. Everybody tries to do at least one PCA a day, right?
No, but seriously, Barclays set out to update clients on the extent to which the “Trump trade” has been unwound and it’s worth taking a quick look at what they found.
It’s been obvious for months that the “Trump trade” is dead. The dollar is in a tailspin, yields are stuck, the curve has flattened, small cap outperformance has morphed into small cap underperformance, banks have managed to cling to post-election gains, but have struggled to extend the bump, etc. etc.
This lends the lie to Trump’s contention that record stock prices are a sign of investor confidence in his presidency. That simply isn’t true.
Aside from the noise, it seems that investors have now mostly pared back pro-growth expectations from the new administration. Figure 4 shows the performance of sectors that would have been affected by key policy initiatives. Specifically, we look at the relative performance of small cap, banks and infrastructure stocks against the S&P500 and the ratio of muni yields to Treasury yields. Small cap and infrastructure stocks have mostly unwound the post-election outperformance as tax reform and infrastructure policies remain elusive. For similar reasons, munis have significantly outperformed Treasuries in recent months as they would have been relatively negatively affected if the tax rates on taxable investments were lowered as part of a broader tax reform package. One area where investors remain relatively hopeful is the regulatory front. Figure 4 shows that banks have held on to most of the postelection outperformance. We believe this reflects the view that policies that do not require legislation to pass the Congress are more likely to be finally implemented.
And as for that PCA we mentioned here at the outset, well, have a look at this chart:
Now please, someone tell me again about how the market is a reflection of everyone’s confidence in Trump. If you ask me, record high equity prices look like a reflection of the market’s confidence in Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg.
Then again, not every Trump trade is underperforming Zuck and Bezos.
As it turns out, bombing Syria, threatening to invade Venezuela, dropping a mini-nuke on Afghanistan, and dragging the world screaming to the edge of nuclear war has done wonders for aerospace and defense…
So you know, he’s got that going for him…