An official impeachment enquiry has been started against President Trump and there are concerns about what this news and the possible timeline of events, could do for stocks. Should investors be worried?
On the evening of Tuesday the 24th of September, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, made a formal announcement of an official impeachment enquiry, opened against U.S. President Donald Trump. If the proceedings are successful and Trump gets impeached, he’ll be the third president impeached after Bill Clinton who was impeached in 1998 and Andrew Johnson, impeached in 1868. However, away from the politics and inner workings of the government, what could this mean for the U.S. Stock Market?
In the last few months, the stock market has had considerable growth and still seems to be pushing upward in general. The recent impeachment proceedings, according to several quarters, might have little to no effect on the stock market, or could it?
A Little History
Back in 1974, impeachment actions began against the then President Richard Nixon who eventually resigned before the process was concluded. At the time, the S&P 500 lost 13% and from that, we might be able to conclude that impeachment could have a negative effect on the stock market.
However, the Clinton episode might thwart said conclusion. Throughout the period Clinton’s impeachment began in early 1998, to when he was acquitted in February 1999, reports have it that the S&P 500 jumped by at least 28%. Using Clinton alone, impeachment should not have any effect on the stock market.
Nevertheless, there could be one more point to consider. Co-Founder of Bespoke Investment Group, Paul Hickey, has suggested that the two periods were very different points in the general state of the U.S. economy and the levels at which certain events could affect public opinions also varied:
“While stocks made it through the Clinton impeachment pretty much unscathed, the experience during the Nixon…impeachment and resignation in the early 1970s was much worse, but the difference between those two periods was the economy, which was in two very different places in the 1970s and 1990s.”
A Different Vantage Point
The Head of Equity Strategy at Wells Fargo, Chris Harvey, has suggested that the impeachment alone, is not enough to affect the stock market. Speaking on CNBC’s Fast Money¸ Harvey explained that the position of the markets just before impeachment proceedings in the past were reasonably sustained throughout the process. Harvey said:
“We went back and we looked at Nixon, at Clinton, and what you had back when Nixon was, was a bear market. That bear market continued. What you had with Clinton was a bull market and that bull market continued. That’s what we expect. We expect a repricing, but that bull market to continue.”
What to Expect?
It’s not every year that impeachment proceedings are initiated against a sitting president and because of this, it might be difficult – for statistic’s sake – to make conclusions based solely on history. However, the general sentiment might just be that traders and investors have little to nothing to worry about.
Finally, many analysts still believe that the possibility of a successful impeachment against Trump is terribly low, probably because it has only happened twice in 44 presidents. However, another point to consider is the fact that impeachment proceedings have been raised thrice and may have been successful thrice as well if Nixon didn’t resign.
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